Thursday, 29 November 2012

History of crystallography

History of crystallography, a great listen from BBC radio: "Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of crystallography, the study of crystals and their structure. The discovery in the early 20th century that X-rays could be diffracted by a crystal revolutionised our knowledge of materials. This crystal technology has touched most people's lives, thanks to the vital role it plays in diverse scientific disciplines - from physics and chemistry, to molecular biology and mineralogy. To date, 28 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to scientists working with X-ray crystallography, an indication of its crucial importance.
The history of crystallography began with the work of Johannes Kepler in the 17th century, but perhaps the most crucial leap in understanding came with the work of the father-and-son team the Braggs in 1912. They built on the work of the German physicist Max von Laue who had proved that X-rays are a form of light waves and that it was possible to scatter these rays using a crystal. The Braggs undertook seminal experiments which transformed our perception of crystals and their atomic arrangements, and led to some of the most significant scientific findings of the last century - such as revealing the structure of DNA. "

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Understanding Nuclear Power Plants

A great short video from CNSC: Understanding Nuclear Power Plants "The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has recently created a video showing the progression of an accident scenario involving a total station blackout at a nuclear power plant.
This video was designed to help the public better understand the multiple layers of safety systems at Canadian nuclear power plants. It highlights that even during an extremely severe accident, nuclear reactors in this country will safely shut down and contain radioactivity."

New York City's greenhouse gas emissions as one-ton spheres of carbon dioxide gas

Nuclear energy can help cut down the greenhouse gas emissions!
New York City's greenhouse gas emissions as one-ton spheres of carbon dioxide gas: "In 2010 New York City added 54 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (equivalent) to the atmosphere, but that number means little to most people because few of us have a sense of scale for atmospheric pollution.
Carbon Visuals ( and Environmental Defense Fund ( wanted to make those emissions feel a bit more real - the total emissions and the rate of emission. Designed to engage the 'person on the street', this version is exploratory and still work in progress. Mayor Bloomberg's office has not been involved in the creation or dissemination of this video."

Small Reactor for Deep Space Exploration

Neat! Small Reactor for Deep Space Exploration: "This is the first demonstration of a space nuclear reactor system to produce electricity in the United States since 1965, and an experiment demonstrated the first use of a heat pipe to cool a small nuclear reactor and then harvest the heat to power a Stirling engine at the Nevada National Security Site's Device Assembly Facility confirms basic nuclear reactor physics and heat transfer for a simple, reliable space power system."

Stop the War on Science

Stop the War on Science: "It's time to stop the war on science. Since Prime Minister Harper came into power, Canada has been subjected to a ruthless assault on its science capacity. This attack has been systemic and strategic, targeting science that seeks to understand the impacts of industry on the environment -- information the Harper Government considers inconvenient to their economic agenda. These actions will result in the significant and widespread degradation of our country's environment and natural resources.
The crippling of Canada's public science capacity under the guise of austerity measures, coupled with the weakening of federal environmental laws in the absence of open debate, is a blatant desecration of science, nature, and democracy. We need to stop this war on science, and let's start by saving the ELA.
Help spread this video in the name of ending the Harper Government's war on science. Go to for more information on how YOU can take action!"

Monday, 26 November 2012

UK grants first nuclear site licence for 25 years

UK grants first nuclear site licence for 25 years: "The UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation today granted the first new site licence for a nuclear power station in Britain for 25 years.
The licence has been granted to NNB Generation Company, a subsidiary of EDF (Euronext: EDF), which wants to build a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset."

France to build world's largest tokamak nuclear fusion reactor

The French state has authorised full construction of the world's largest tokamak nuclear fusion reactor with a formal decree to allow creation of a 'basic nuclear installation':

Friday, 23 November 2012

Gas industry joins anti-nuke movement

Why this is not surprising!??? Gas industry joins anti-nuke movement: "A new nuclear debate is starting to percolate in Ontario.
At industry conferences and in the corridors of Queen's Park, energy activists are questioning whether Ontario should invest billions in new nuclear energy units.
But these activists aren't the longtime foes of the nuclear industry, who based their arguments on moral and environmental grounds.
They're working for corporate clients and asking hard questions about the economics of nuclear power, given the alternatives, like plentiful natural gas.
They're suggesting that producing electricity with gas may be cheaper, faster and less risky than building new nuclear units.
"In our view it's going to be extremely challenging for any government in the future in this province to do new nuclear," Jason Chee-Aloy of consulting firm Power Advisory LLC said in a recent presentation. "From a pure dollars and cents cost point of view, there are real issues with it," he told the Association of Power Producers of Ontario (APPrO).
Chee-Aloy is not a fringe player. He's an economist and former senior energy bureaucrat with the Ontario Power Authority.
The skepticism is a direct challenge to Ontario Power Generation's proposal to build two new reactors, each capable of producing 1,000 megawatts, at its Darlington nuclear station.
Bruce Boland, senior vice-president of OPG, makes the case for building new nuclear units.
"Same reason we've done nuclear in the past," he said in an interview. "Reliable, relative low cost power, and very clean."

Why Communicate Science?

A good read: Why Communicate Science? People Need What Scientists Have; Scientists Need People to Have it... "By “communicate science,” I mean professional scientists explaining something about science to non-scientists. My question is, “Why?” But many scientists are still debating whether we should; many see why they should not.
Communicating science takes time away from research, from teaching, from being home; from something else we need to be doing. The time is not adequately compensated. Doing interviews with reporters, or visiting legislators, has no assigned “impact factor” that boosts vitae-value. Appearing on the radio or TV or in the news, giving talks to civic groups, writing op-eds or articles geared to “popular” audiences, or even a translational book for the general public; all count little, sometimes nothing, towards tenure. Sometimes they actually hurt. Communicating science can be seen as unprofessional. Peers may think less of you. It may seem absurd that many scientists would think it unprofessional to explain science, but that thinking is a fact in academia. And anyway, communicating is the job of communicators such as professional science writers.
All the above reasons not to communicate science are valid. Next question: Are those reasons sufficient? Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein apparently didn’t think so. Granted, we’re not them. We all juggle priorities and make compromises on how we can and must spend our time. But it’s my conviction that scientists should elevate communicating science as something important and worthwhile. That brings us to “Why.”
Some scientists believe we should communicate because public support is crucial for continued public funding. That’s circular and self-serving. In the long run, it’s likely self-defeating. Simply explaining that the space program resulted in such marvels as Tang and Teflon–two oft-cited benefits of science that, in fact, everyone can live without–doesn’t adequately elevate the power of science above everything else vying for public money, such as military spending, bank-bailouts, infrastructure, etc., etc.
I believe it’s important for people to get to know scientists as people, as members of civil society in their communities. And I believe the message is not one of facts, nor reports about the latest research, but of the overarching and deeply penetrating grandeur of science: how it uniquely has the power to unlock the secrets of life and the universe–and how scientific thinking can help people evaluate claims, think for themselves, and demand proof."

South Korea invests big in basic research

South Korea invests big in basic research, really amazing that such recognition for support of basic research is done by a country that is traditionally big in industry, it is a simple but important fact: The countries that lead in science and technology have “not only produced numerous Nobel laureates but also generated colossal national wealth on the strength of the achievements of basic research.” yet why is Canada moving in the opposite direction???: "When times are tough, the tendency among Western countries is to knuckle down and demand that research produce results fast. South Korea, with its new Institute for Basic Science (IBS), is doing the opposite. Starting with 15 or so research centers this year, the IBS is on an ambitious track to grow by 2017 into a network of 50 centers with a total annual budget of $600 million.
At the 17 May IBS inauguration ceremony, South Korean president Myung-bak Lee said, “We have thus far only emulated advanced technologies of other countries and traced their footsteps. In order for us to emerge as an advanced, leading nation, however, we need to become a creative pacesetter based on basic science and original technologies.”
The countries that lead in science and technology, he said, have “not only produced numerous Nobel laureates but also generated colossal national wealth on the strength of the achievements of basic research.” With the launch of the IBS, Lee said, “the nation is marking a new beginning. Our future depends heavily on the science community.”"

Open Letter from the EIROforum DGs to the European Council

An Open letter from the eight EIROforum directors general, preparatory to the European Council summit on the EU Multiannual financial framework. The letter is signed by - among others - the ILL Director, Andrew Harrison: We need a similar letter for Canada! "We call on you – the Heads of State or Government of the EU Member States and the Presidents of the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission – to reconfirm your collective support for science so that it can continue to make a significant contribution to Europe’s economic recovery and beyond."

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Uranium Moratoriums Are Not Supported by Science: CNSC President

Uranium Moratoriums Are Not Supported by Science: CNSC President "Following the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC) recent decision to license a uranium exploration project in Quebec, I’m dismayed that recent statements and discussions over the safety of uranium mining have been based neither on fact nor science. Uranium mining and milling in this country is tightly regulated by the CNSC. Canada is a world leader in responsibly developing this resource. This is largely attributable to a solid safety track record.
Uranium mining is the only type of mining that has a dedicated federal regulator that oversees all aspects of operation on an ongoing basis. Provincial oversight is also strictly applied. In fact, uranium mining is the most regulated, monitored and understood type of mining in Canada.
Activists, medical practitioners and politicians who have demanded moratoriums may have various reasons for doing so, but their claims that the public and environment are at risk are fundamentally wrong. The provincial governments that have decided to ban uranium exploration have done so ignoring years of evidence-based scientific research on this industry.
The CNSC would never compromise safety by issuing a licence or allowing a uranium mine or mill to operate if it were not safe to do so. All monitoring data shows that uranium mining is as safe as other conventional metal mining in Canada. "

How cosmic ray muons could reveal hidden nuclear waste?

Very cool! How cosmic ray muons could reveal hidden nuclear waste? "Muons were once used to "X-ray" an Egyptian pyramid. Now physicists hope to use a similar method to peer inside old nuclear waste repositories."

Recycling spent nuclear fuel: the ultimate solution for the US?

Recycling spent nuclear fuel: the ultimate solution for the US? "Unlike Russia, Japan and several European countries, the United States does not recycle its used nuclear fuel. But new, advanced drivers are reviving the possibility of recycling the nation’s spent nuclear fuel. What will influence this decision and what conditions will need to be met first?"... "Through Areva, France has been at the forefront in UNF recycling and has reached an industrial maturity that lends itself well to use elsewhere. Areva has undertaken de-conversion of enrichment tails at Pierrelatte since the 1980s, and today, at its La Hague site, it operates the MELOX plant; a used-fuel recycling facility with capacity of 1,700 tons per year that has been working since 1995. It is also the world’s only operational large-capacity MOX fuel production plant.
Areva has proposed building a $20bn plant in the US with a similar technology to the one it uses in France, where 17 per cent of electricity is derived from recycled UNF. According to Areva, the group has joined with Duke Energy, one of America's largest nuclear power producers, to submit a proposal to the Department of Energy for the construction of an MOX-fuel fabrication plant to supply MOX fuel to reactors in the US.
“A common question raised during discussions on reprocessing is, ‘If the French are reprocessing used fuel, why isn’t the US?’. In many ways, the U.S. and France represent opposite ends of the spectrum,” notes Sowder.
“In France, the recycling of MOX in light-water reactors is a mature, ongoing commercial practice supported by an existing industrial, commercial, and regulatory infrastructure. This situation has resulted from a deliberate, multi-decade national energy policy prioritizing energy security for a country with limited domestic natural energy resources. Accordingly, there would need to be a compelling reason for France to abandon its recycling programme,” he explains."

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

US to fund small, modular nuclear reactors

The US government to fund up to half the cost of a five-year project to design and commercialize small modular nuclear power reactors: "o develop a new generation of nuclear power, the Obama administration announced Tuesday that it will fund up to half the cost of a five-year project to design and commercialize small, modular reactors for the United States.
The Department of Energy said it aims to have these reactors, which have attracted private funding from investors including Bill Gates, in operation by 2022. It said it will negotiate the project's total cost with Babcock & Wilcox, an energy technology company based in Charlotte, that will lead the project in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Bechtel International.
"Low-carbon nuclear energy has an important role to play in America's energy future," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in announcing the award, citing President Obama's push for an all-of-the-above energy strategy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. He said DOE will accept funding requests from other companies developing such technology.
Small modular reactors (SMRs) are typically about one-third the size of current nuclear power plants. Although some of the technology has been used in naval propulsion plants, DOE says it's not been commercialized yet in the United States but could offer lower upfront costs, improved safety and greater flexibility. It says SMRs could be made in U.S. factories and moved to sites, including remote or small areas that cannot support large reactors, where they would be ready to "plug and play" upon arrival."

Monday, 19 November 2012

Astronauts Could Survive Mars Radiation, Curiosity Rover Finds

Astronauts Could Survive Mars Radiation, Curiosity Rover Finds: Mars rover Curiosity's radiation measurements - the first ever taken on the surface of another planet - appear to be roughly similar to those of low-Earth orbit. "Absolutely, astronauts can live in this environment."

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Nano insights could lead to improved nuclear reactors

Nano insights could lead to improved nuclear reactors: "In order to build the next generation of nuclear reactors, materials scientists are trying to unlock the secrets of certain materials that are radiation-damage tolerant. Now researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have brought new understanding to one of those secrets—how the interfaces between two carefully selected metals can absorb, or heal, radiation damage.
"When it comes to selecting proper structural materials for advanced nuclear reactors, it is crucial that we understand radiation damage and its effects on materials properties. And we need to study these effects on isolated small-scale features," says Julia R. Greer, an assistant professor of materials science and mechanics at Caltech. With that in mind, Greer and colleagues from Caltech, Sandia National Laboratories, UC Berkeley, and Los Alamos National Laboratory have taken a closer look at radiation-induced damage, zooming in all the way to the nanoscale—where lengths are measured in billionths of meters. Their results appear online in the journals Advanced Functional Materials and Small."

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Quebec latest decommissioning supply chain opportunity

Quebec latest decommissioning supply chain opportunity: "In Canada’s largest province of Quebec, Hydro Quebec has announced that the only nuclear power plant that exists there is to be shut down in a $1.8m project, where the decommissioning process will take up to 50 years.
Quebec Hydro recently revealed that the Gentilly-2 generating station that has been in reliably in operation since 1983 will stop producing electricity on December 28 this year.
It was decided that the plant will cease to be in operation due to financial reasons, after an audit revised refurbishment cycle costs up to $4.3bn, which was a significant increase on the original cost of rebuilding.
Hydro Quebec has said that it will release further detailed analysis of why they decided to pull the plug on the plant.
When the plant becomes dormant, plans are in place of how stage by stage the building will be decommissioned. Initially there will be an 18- month period where staff will be involved in defueling the reactor, treating the heavy water and deactivating several systems."

Isotope analysis provides clues in crime case

Very cool: Isotope analysis provides clues in crime case:

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Bragg Centenary

Bragg Centenary: "In 2013 it will be 100 years since the pioneering work undertaken by William Henry Bragg and his son, William Lawrence Bragg, which underpins the discipline of X-ray crystallography, and for which they were jointly awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1915. By formulating the relationship between a crystal’s atomic structure and its X-ray diffraction pattern they provided a tool which has revolutionised our understanding of the structure of matter ranging from minerals, pharmaceutical materials, and catalysts to DNA, proteins and viruses."
For those who could also access Nature Magazine:

CNSC invites comments on Draft GD-384, Site Access Security Clearance for High-Security Sites

Here is your chance to comment on CNSC's Draft GD-384, Site Access Security Clearance for High-Security Sites: ... it also has the link to the full draft pdf document... "The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has released for a second round of public consultation draft guidance document GD-384, Site Access Security Clearance for High-Security Sites.
GD-384, Site Access Security Clearance for High-Security Sites, sets out the guidance of the CNSC for processing a site access security clearance. The document was developed to address key considerations for licensees of high-security sites and nuclear facilities within Canada who will be authorizing unescorted access to protected areas, as defined under the Nuclear Security Regulations. The purpose of the Site Access Security Clearance (SASC) is to prevent unreasonable risk to high-security sites. This includes risks to operations, personnel, safety and national security from an insider threat.
The document has undergone significant revisions as a result of the first round of public consultation. The revised draft of GD-384 includes additional details on the screening and interview processes (including managing risk), and on granting a SASC. Guidance on reporting to the CNSC and the need for an appeal process has also been added. Furthermore, three appendices with process maps have been inserted into the document to clarify and provide step-by-step instructions on the SASC process."

Optical atomic clocks could redefine unit of time

Neat! Optical atomic clocks could redefine unit of time: "Optical atomic clocks now outperform the best microwave cesium atomic clocks in terms of precision.
Never measure anything but frequency!” was the advice [1] of the late Arthur Schawlow, the 1981 Nobel Prize winner in physics. Frequency is, in fact, the physical quantity that can be measured with by far the greatest accuracy. This is because it can be referenced to a highly accurate standard: the cesium atomic clock, in which a second is defined as 9192631770 periods of the microwave radiation emitted by a cesium-133 atom transitioning between two nuclear spin (hyperfine) states [2]. Now, in Physical Review Letters, Alan Madej and colleagues at the National Research Council in Canada report they have greatly increased the accuracy with which another atomic frequency standard, the optical transition in an isolated strontium ion, can be measured. Furthermore, the precision of their frequency measurement now supersedes that of the existing cesium standard, which could lead to the adoption of a new frequency standard for defining the second as the basic unit of time"

Reactor reuses nuclear waste

Reactor reuses nuclear waste: "Two Massachusetts Institute of Technology doctoral candidates are designing a nuclear power plant that would convert nuclear waste from conventional reactors into electricity — a plant you could walk away from, they said, without the risk of a radioactive leak like the meltdown last year that crippled parts of Japan.
Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie, co-founders of Transatomic Power, have developed the WAMSR, or Waste-Annihilating Molten Salt Reactor, a 400- to 500-megawatt plant that would convert high-level nuclear waste into electric power, at a price competitive with fossil fuels."

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Happy birthday Marie Skłodowska-Curie

Happy birthday Marie Skłodowska-Curie! A French-Polish physicist and chemist, famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity, she was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the only woman to win in two fields, and the only person to win in multiple sciences. She was also the first female professor at the University of Paris (La Sorbonne), and in 1995 became the first woman to be entombed on her own merits in the Panthéon in Paris. Just a remarkable human being all around! Also see:

A change in supply to meet isotope demand

A change in supply to meet isotope demand: "Nordion does not produce isotopes itself, but uses the NRU reactor in Canada, which is scheduled to be shut down in the next four years. The reactor is currently operating at full capacity, yet the demand is greater due to a shortage in other regions. The company has had to evolve over the years with more efficient means of producing medical isotopes-- in other words, getting more bang for the buck. Nordion has become the world leader in cobalt-60, which is used to produce gamma radiation, and also in the creation of targeted therapies with yttrium-90. Therefore, Nordion is a diversified company; but if the NRU reactor were to close, it would be a huge hit to the company. The company does have a backup isotope supply in Russia; but in terms of supplying the U.S. (its largest market), the costs would drastically rise if the NRU reactor closes because of the logistics involved in transporting and producing various isotopes."

Mounting storage concerns in US: Who’s responsible?

Mounting storage concerns in US: Who’s responsible? "After 50 years of generating nuclear power and with approximately 67,000 tons of fuel being temporarily stored at about 75 operating and shutdown nuclear facilities, the United States is still at crossroads regarding what will be the nation’s policy for the disposition of its spent nuclear fuel.
Since 1987, Yucca Mountain in Nevada has been the federal government’s primary choice for a nuclear waste repository. But despite the $10bn spent on the project, doubts linger over the Department of Energy’s (DOE) planned opening of the repository in 2017, after it failed to open it in 1998 – the original deadline established by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act.
A multitude of issues have delayed the project, from Nevada’s opposition to building the repository in their state, to President Obama’s withdrawal of the project’s license application. The current debate is whether to link or one or more short-term storage facilities or to build a permanent repository, similar to Yucca Mountain. Until a decision is made, however, storage concerns for utilities with used nuclear fuel (UNF) will remain. "

Friday, 2 November 2012

More cuts at NRC: Public science continues its downward spiral in Canada

More cuts at NRC: Public science continues its downward spiral in Canada: "Over 90 National Research Council (NRC) employees across the country represented by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) were notified today that their services may no longer be required. The 94 affected members include Scientists, Researchers and Business Development Officers who work in the NRC’s Life Sciences, Engineering, and Business Management divisions. They are located in Halifax, Moncton, Fredericton, London, Regina, Winnipeg and Ottawa.
This is the second round of cuts at the National Research Council since the tabling of the 2012 Budget. Earlier this year, some thirty PIPSC researchers and scientists received similar notices. The NRC cuts include the termination of all Medical Devices research activities focused on neuroscience and MR, EEG and MEG-based imaging, spectroscopy and data acquisition.
“This is another example of the government’s wrong-headed approach to the NRC” said PIPSC President Gary Corbett. “The important role that government-funded research plays in advancing science for the Public Good continues to be eroded. Future NRC activities will be dictated by market demands and by what can be commercialized, instead of being focused on the benefits Canadians receive from public research, and the economic spinoffs which can be leveraged from cutting-edge studies”."
Some background on how the changes at NRC have come about: "Alberta Research Council culture goes National! Over the course of his 12-year tenure as President and CEO of the Alberta Research Council (ARC), John McDougall steered the organization towards “delivering and aligning science and technology solutions to industry’s needs”. Less than one year after his appointment as President of the National Research Council (NRC), McDougall “ordered all staff to direct research toward boosting economic development and technology, with less time for pure science”."
NDP's response when the cuts last March when the cuts were announced: "With the federal budget being tabled tomorrow, economists aren’t the only ones worried about how the Conservatives might affect the future of our country. Canadian scientists and academics are also increasingly worried that the main outlet of public science, Canada’s National Research Council (NRC), might be the subject of radical restructuring.
NDP critic for Science and Technology, Hélène LeBlanc says that many science professionals she’s spoken to are fearful about where the government will take the NRC.
“I’ve spoken to many scientists, professors and researchers about the future of the NRC and a lot of them are worried that the mandate for basic or ‘bluesky’ science will be stricken from the NRC’s mandate. That’s something that would be harmful for the advancement of science as well as the economy,” stated Ms. LeBlanc.
In a speech given to the Economic Club of Canada in Ottawa on March 6th, Minister of State for Science and Technology stated that the National Research Council "...will be hopefully a one-stop, 1-800, 'I have a solution for your business problem...”
“Mr. Goodyear must understand that the NRC is more than just a Staples outlet,” said Ms. LeBlanc. “The National Research Council has an immense role to play in Canadian scientific culture. It is a symbol of our commitment to the greater international movement for the advancement of science.”"
For more on research funding cuts also see: "The budget also imposes a dramatic restructuring of the National Research Council. The NRC’s basic research program will be effectively eliminated, and the agency will be “realigned” to meet business needs. As part of this process, the NRC will receive $67 million in 2012–2013 to support the “refocusing on business-led, industry-relevant research.”
“Tying research increasingly to commercial interests, as this budget does, will hinder real innovation,” Turk said. “The government ignores the fact that most fundamental advances in knowledge leading to innovative applications come from basic research guided by scientists, not political or commercial interests.”"
Rick Mercer's take on the recent NRC cuts: 

Update on strike of Technicians and Technologists at AECL Whiteshell Labs

Update on strike of Technicians and Technologists at AECL Whiteshell Labs: "A strike of Technicians and Technologists at Atomic Energy of Canada Limited Whiteshell Laboratories set to commence today has been narrowly averted. Last minute talks between the union and Company last week successfully resolved the matters in dispute.
“Particularly in this environment, where the ownership of the facility is imminently expected to change hands, this was critically important. Having remained non-unionized for decades, Technicians and Technologists join their AECL colleagues with a solid Collective Agreement. I’m proud that our union could assist at their time of greatest need”, said Gary Corbett, President, The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada."

Nordion seeks new Russian isotope supplier

Nordion seeks new Russian isotope supplier: "Medical isotope provider Nordion Inc. (TSX: NDN) is planning to enter an agreement with a Russian research institute that will provide the Ottawa-based company with a supply of isotopes, after ending an agreement with another Russian supplier on Friday.
The agreement with the Research Institute of Atomic Reactors means that Molybdenum-99, commonly referred to as Mo-99, would be produced by RIAR’s reactors in Dimtrovgrad, Russia.
Nordion says that it expects the agreement could “potentially meet a portion of Nordion’s long-term supply requirements,” according to a company release published Monday.".... "Currently, Nordion obtains most of its medical isotopes through Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., which owns and manages the National Research Universal reactor that has been in service since 1957. The NRU, located in Chalk River, has seen multiple scheduled shutdowns for maintenance as it ages.
To address long-term supply security, Nordion and AECL entered a contractual agreement in 1996 that committed AECL to construct and deliver two new nuclear reactors and a processing facility known as the Maple project, to replace the aging NRU reactor.
The project was cancelled in 2008, however, and Nordion began a three-year battle with AECL and the federal government, arguing that a flaw in the design was “manageable.” An arbitrator ruled against Nordion on Sept. 10, which led Nordion to suspend its quarterly dividend payments and halt a share buy-back program, resulting in a 36 per cent plunge in Nordion stocks.
Those stocks rose by three per cent soon after when the company announced that its primary customer, Lantheus Medical Imaging Inc., had extended its deal with Nordion until 2015."