Bruce Power has completed another harvest of Cobalt-60, a vital resource in supporting the global fight against the omicron variant, by sterilizing billions of pieces of medical equipment used by frontline health care workers.
“I would like to thank Bruce Power for providing this vital resource to the global medical community, which will be used in the fight against COVID-19 and in cancer treatments,” said Ontario premier Doug Ford. “Canada, and specifically Ontario, is a world leader in the production and supply of medical isotopes, and ‘Made in Ontario’ life-saving medical isotopes will continue to be a strategic priority for the province.”
The medical isotopes were harvested during the ongoing Unit 7 outage and sent to Ottawa-based Nordion for processing. From there, Bruce Power’s Cobalt-60 will be shipped around the world to sterilize up to 10 billion pairs of surgical gloves and single-use medical devices, as well as in the treatment of breast cancer and brain tumours.
“For more than 35 years, Bruce Power has played a critical role in supporting the international health care community with this indispensable medical resource,” said Chad MacLean, department manager, Bruce Power operations. “Bruce Power’s medical isotopes are vital in both tried-and-true sterilization technologies and in novel, groundbreaking nuclear medicine applications in the fight against cancer. Bruce Power and our employees are proud of the role we play in Canada’s robust isotope supply chain, providing a stable supply of Cobalt-60 to the world’s medical community.”
Cobalt-60 sterilizes 40 per cent of the world’s single-use medical equipment. It sterilizes medical supplies faster and in larger volumes than other forms of sterilization, ensuring supplies are efficiently prepared for frontline health care workers and hospitals. Throughout the pandemic, as demand for personal protective equipment increased, Bruce Power’s Cobalt-60 supported the supply of these crucial items.
More recently, Cobalt-60 has been used in Gamma Knife treatments in the fight against breast cancer and brain tumours.
“We all know someone who has been affected by cancer, and as doctors and researchers continue to search for new ways to fight cancer, Cobalt-60 has been turned to as a way to treat patients in a non-invasive way, without surgery,” said Brad Jones, nuclear operator at Bruce Power. “Gamma Knife technology using Cobalt-60 is used in more than 600 hospitals around the world, including five units in Canada, and the applications and use of this technology grows every year, which is exciting to see.”
The Unit 7 outage is part of the ongoing Life-Extension Program at Bruce Power, supporting reliable, carbon-free electricity and the production of life-saving medical isotopes through 2064.
For more information about how Bruce Power is helping to keep hospitals safe, and also diagnosing and treating cancer visit www.brucepower.com/isotopes.