Archive for the ‘isotopes’ Category

Another need for nuclear energy

December 15, 2007

This is what happens when there is inertia towards construction of reactors for peaceful purposes:

“Hospitals across North America have been forced to cancel tests for cancer and heart disease because the unexpected closure of a Canadian nuclear reactor has led to a sudden shortage of medical isotopes. The 50-year-old National Research Universal (NRU) reactor located in Chalk River, Ontario, was shut down on 18 November for scheduled maintenance and was due back online by mid-December. But Atomic Energy Canada, which owns and operates the facility, extended the outage to install safety-related equipment, including upgrades to the reactor cooling pumps. The reactor supplies about 60% of the molybdenum isotopes used in medical applications globally, including molybdenum-99, which decays into technetium-99m and is used in about 16 million nuclear medicine procedures annually in the United States…The shortage has reignited a discussion over securing the US supply of medical isotopes by building a reactor in the United States.”

Again, there’s no sense if the debate about nuclear weapons and terrorist attacks is regularly conflated with peaceful and necessary uses of nuclear energy.