CANM Applauds Decision of the Federal Government to Extend Operations of the NRU Reactor

OTTAWA, Feb. 10, 2015 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine (CANM) applauds the decision of Hon. Greg Rickford, Minister of Natural Resources to extend operations at the National Research Universal Reactor (NRU) until March 31st, 2018. Originally scheduled to shut down October 31st, 2016, the decision to continue production of medical isotopes at this facility is critical to ensuring the global supply of medical isotopes in the near term future. It has been the ongoing position of CANM to advocate to governments in support of this decision.

"We are encouraged by the decision to extend operations at the NRU Reactor" said Dr. Andrew Ross, President of CANM. "While this is an important first step to securing the supply of medical isotopes and ensuring access to nuclear medicine diagnostics for patients, we hope to continue working with federal and provincial governments to guarantee an affordable supply of medical isotopes in Canada past 2018."  

Canada is currently a global leader in the production and supply of medical isotopes. While the decision to postpone the closure of the NRU Reactor buys some time for international suppliers to come online, it unfortunately does not address the domestic issues of increased cost, loss of jobs, expertise and economic and medical sovereignty associated with the closure of the NRU Reactor.

"There are many implications to the eventual closing of the NRU Reactor for Canadians," said Dr. Ross. "We will continue advocating to governments to consider the impact of this decision on all Canadian patients."

CANM strongly supports the ongoing Canadian research into alternative production methods of medical isotopes. These efforts are critical to addressing the domestic concerns associated with the closing of the NRU Reactor. However, at this time there is no indication that the projects underway will be commercially viable by 2018, let alone capable of replacing the significant production levels currently being met at the NRU Reactor.

"We are pleased to have an additional two years to consider the impact of the eventual closing of the NRU reactor on Canadians," said Dr. Ross. "We strongly recommend that the federal and provincial governments come together now to plan for the need of more dedicated investment in medical isotopes as a largely domestic supply transitions to an international one."

SOURCE Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine (CANM)

For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: Hélène Samson, hsamson.ottawa@gmail.com, www.canm-acmn.ca, 613-882-5097

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Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine (CANM)

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