The project to produce Mo-99 at Darlington involves Darlington owner and operator OPG, its subsidiary Laurentis Energy Partners, BWXT and a number of BWXT affiliates. The project could see Darlington become the first commercial operating nuclear reactor to produce Mo-99, OPG said.
Mo-99 is a much-needed medical isotope used in over 40 million procedures a year to detect cancers and diagnose various medical conditions.
OPG said that over the past two years, a team at BWXT and Laurentis designed the specialised tooling to enable the production of Mo-99 at Darlington. The manufacturing of this tooling has now begun.
BWXT has also built a fabrication facility in Peterborough to produce Mo-99 components that will be delivered by the specialised tooling, which will be installed at Darlington. The tooling will deliver the molybdenum into the Darlington reactor for irradiation.
“Over the last 10 years, there has been a reduction in the accessibility of radioisotopes and this supply issue has only been exacerbated with the onset of Covid-19,” said Jean Nash, a clinical manager at the University Health Network, a Toronto-based healthcare and medical research organisation. “A new, reliable supply will allow for more stable access to medical isotopes and support hospitals and clinicians in Ontario, Canada and beyond to provide better patient care.”