MDS Nordion Provides Update on AECL's Medical Isotope Supply Disruption

    OTTAWA, May 19 /CNW/ - MDS Nordion, a leading provider of medical
isotopes and radiopharmaceuticals, has received information from its primary
supplier, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), regarding an interruption in
the supply of medical isotopes, primarily molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) used in the
manufacturing of technetium-99m generators.
    AECL has advised MDS Nordion that they anticipate the National Research
Universal reactor (NRU) will remain out of service for more than one month.
According to a press release issued by AECL on May 18, 2009, the shutdown is a
result of a heavy water leak that has been identified at the base of the
reactor vessel. AECL has indicated that repair options are currently under
    MDS Nordion expects the impact of this shutdown to begin to be felt this
week. The NRU produces approximately 30%-40% of the world's medical isotopes
and approximately 50% of those used in North America, and is one of only four
reactors in the world with the capacity to produce significant commercial
quantities. While MDS Nordion is working closely with its supply network to
source additional isotopes, based on AECL's information and global supply
capability, the Company expects that the medical community and their patients
will experience a significant shortage of isotopes worldwide.
    MDS Nordion recognizes the important role medical isotopes play in the
diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening conditions such as heart disease
and cancer. The Company continues to work to secure a reliable, long-term
supply of medical isotopes. In 1996, MDS Nordion contracted for AECL to
complete and commission the MAPLE reactors, which were meant to replace the
NRU. This project was unilaterally discontinued in May 2008 by the federal
government and AECL. MDS Inc.'s investment in the MAPLE project was
approximately US$350 million. MDS believes that the completion of the MAPLE
project is the best alternative to provide long-term global isotope supply.
    In addition to MAPLE, MDS Nordion is examining longer-term supply
alternatives. One such program is MDS Nordion's recently announced
collaboration with TRIUMF, Canada's national laboratory for particle and
nuclear physics, to study the feasibility of producing a viable and reliable
supply of photo fission-based Mo-99.
    Based on this latest update from AECL, MDS Inc. expects the financial
impact of this extended interruption to reduce MDS Nordion's adjusted EBITDA
by approximately US$4 million per month.

    More Information

    Additional background pertaining to today's announcement can be found on
MDS Inc.'s Website at

    About MDS Nordion

    MDS Nordion, a business unit of MDS Inc., is a global leader in providing
medical isotopes for molecular and diagnostic imaging, radiotherapeutics and
sterilization technologies for medical products that benefit the lives of
millions of people in more than 50 countries around the world. MDS Nordion
products and services are used on a daily basis by pharmaceutical and
biotechnology companies, medical-device manufacturers, hospitals, clinics and
research laboratories. Find out more at

    About MDS

    MDS Inc. (TSX: MDS; NYSE:   MDZ) is a global life sciences company that
provides market-leading products and services that our customers need for the
development of drugs, and the diagnosis and treatment of disease. We are a
leading global provider of pharmaceutical contract research, medical isotopes
for molecular imaging, radiotherapeutics, and analytical instruments. MDS has
more than 5,000 highly skilled people in 29 countries. Find out more at or by calling 1-888-MDS-7222, 24 hours a day.

    Forward-Looking Statements

    This document contains forward-looking statements. Some forward-looking
statements may be identified by words like "expects", "anticipates", "plans",
"intends", "indicates", "targeted" or similar expressions. The statements are
not a guarantee of future impact or performance and are inherently subject to
risks and uncertainties. The actual impact to the Company of the maintenance
shutdown could differ materially from that currently anticipated due to a
number of factors, including, the actual timing of a return to full production
and other risk factors identified in other documents filed by the Company with
Canadian and U.S. securities regulatory authorities from time to time.

For further information:

For further information: MEDIA: Shelley Maclean, (613) 592-3400, ext.
2414,; INVESTORS: Kim Lee, (416) 213-4721,

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