STORY: Canada is getting out of medical isotope production, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday as the world struggles with the shutdown of an aging Canadian reactor that makes a big chunk of the global supply. The prime minister's comments confirmed speculation the federal government's decision to split up and sell off Crown-owned Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. was a prelude to a pull out. The government plans to spin off AECL's profitable nuclear reactor business as part of a major restructuring that will also mean private-sector management for the company's research facility in Chalk River, Ont. AECL shut down the Chalk River reactor May 15 after discovering a heavy-water leak. Officials estimate it will be at least three months — and likely longer — before it's up and running again. The shutdown has sparked a worldwide shortage of isotopes, which are used in scans to diagnose cancer and heart ailments.
EXPERT: Prof. Dominic Ryan, Dept. of Physics, and President of the Canadian Institute for Neutron Scattering. Professor Ryan will be presenting at the Standing Committee on Natural Resources next Tuesday
Afternoon on this issue.
Dominic Ryan’s op-ed – Ottawa Citizen/June 6, 2009