Nordion, Bruce Power and Cameco work together to provide reliable supply of Cobalt-60

Nov 23, 2017 — Successful collaboration between leading players in Canada’s nuclear industry assures a stable and reliable supply of Cobalt-60 for use in healthcare and other applications that benefit millions of people around the world.

For the past six decades, High Specific Activity (HSA) Cobalt-60, used in the treatment of cancer, has been produced in Canada at the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor at Chalk River, Ontario. The NRU reactor will reach its end-of-life by March 31, 2018. Under agreements between Nordion, Bruce Power and Cameco, the production of HSA Cobalt-60 has been successfully migrated to CANDU nuclear power reactors.

Cameco Fuel Manufacturing Inc., in Cobourg plays a major part in the production process by providing specialized carriers and loading them with Cobalt-59 for insertion into the CANDU power reactors at Bruce Power’s generating station. After 24-30 months inside the reactor, the adjuster sets are removed and safely transported to a Nordion facility where the Cobalt-60 is removed and manufactured into finished product for delivery to customers around the world.

“We are proud to be part of this venture that makes Canada the world’s leading supplier of Cobalt-60 for medical applications and other gamma technologies,” said Dale Clark, Cameco’s vice-president, fuel services. “The successful collaboration between our companies demonstrates the tremendous benefits the nuclear industry delivers to Canadians and others around the world while securing important reactor components work here in Cobourg.”

“This partnership between Cameco, Nordion and Bruce Power to produce medical isotopes makes perfect sense, and builds on Canada’s contributions to nuclear medicine,” said Kim Rudd Parliamentary Secretary to Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. “It will ensure a stable and reliable supply of Cobalt-60 for use in healthcare and other applications that benefit people around the world.”

The Province of Ontario provides 50% of the world’s supply of Cobalt-60, all of it through Nordion. These isotopes are used for specialized cancer treatment and to sterilize 40% of the world’s single-use medical devices, including sutures, syringes, surgical gowns and masks. They’re also used to sterilize pharmaceutical wares and cosmetics, and irradiate spices and other consumer products that include fruit, seafood, poultry and red meat.

Nordion and Bruce Power have entered into an agreement to secure the long-term supply of Cobalt-60 for medical and other applications through the life of the four Bruce B reactors, which will operate up to 2064 once life-extension maintenance programs are completed over the next two decades.

“Bruce Power is proud to be part of an all-Canadian partnership that uses nuclear power to provide medical device sterilization, which creates safe hospitals for patients in Ontario and around the world, while also being part of the supply chain for life-saving radiation therapy for brain cancer treatment,” said James Scongack, Bruce Power’s Vice-President of Corporate Affairs & Environment. “Our company has always placed enormous value on the production of Cobalt-60 and patients can breathe easy knowing they will have a secure, reliable source for decades to come.”

Securing a Cobalt-60 supply so far into the future was made possible through the long-term electricity supply agreement signed in December 2015 with the Province of Ontario. This agreement provides for life-extension and Major Component Replacement programs to be conducted on Bruce Power reactor Units 3-8. The life-extension programs got underway on Jan. 1, 2016, and the program is currently on time and on budget. Bruce Power previously refurbished Units 1 and 2 and will use that experience to extend the life of the eight-unit site up to 2064.

“Cobalt-60 is critical to the safety of the healthcare industry,” said Kevin Brooks, President, Nordion (Canada) Inc. “We are proud to be part of this all-Canadian partnership that is committed to ensuring healthcare providers around the world will have a reliable and secure Cobalt-60 supply.”

Please join us at the Carpenter’s Union Hall (459 Croft St., Port Hope) to learn more about the work Nordion, Bruce Power and Cameco are doing to assure a reliable supply of Cobalt-60 isotope for medical and other uses at a community forum tonight at 6:30 p.m.

About Nordion

Nordion, a Sotera Health company, is a leading provider of medical isotopes and gamma technologies used for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease and infection. Nordion’s products are used daily by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, medical-device manufacturers, hospitals, clinics and research laboratories. Nordion supplies products to more than 40 countries around the world, and is committed to their mission, Safeguarding Global Health™ with every critical isotope they supply. Learn more about Nordion at

About Bruce Power

Formed in 2001, Bruce Power is an electricity company based in Bruce County, Ontario. We are powered by our people. Our 4,200 employees are the foundation of our accomplishments and are proud of the role they play in safely delivering clean, reliable, low-cost nuclear power to families and businesses across the province. Bruce Power has worked hard to build strong roots in Ontario and is committed to protecting the environment and supporting the communities in which we live. Learn more at and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.

About Cameco

Cameco is one of the world’s largest uranium producers, a significant supplier of conversion services and one of two CANDU fuel manufacturers in Canada. Our competitive position is based on our controlling ownership of the world’s largest high-grade reserves and low-cost operations. Our uranium products are used to generate clean electricity in nuclear power plants around the world. Our shares trade on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges. Our head office is in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Learn more at

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Gord Struthers
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