Radiation Applications

Medical Isotopes / Westinghouse To Partner With Nordion On Cobalt-60 Production In PWRs

By Mattia Baldoni
27 February 2020

Westinghouse To Partner With Nordion On Cobalt-60 Production In PWRs
US-based Westinghouse Electric Company has signed a partnership with Canada’s Nordion to develop new isotope production technology, which is expected to allow cobalt-60 to be produced in pressurised water reactors (PWRs).

Westinghouse said in a statement that the partnership would help increase the supply of cobalt-60, which is used in medical devices, brain cancer treatment, and reduction of pathogens in foodstuffs.

The isotope is a high-intensity gamma ray emitter with a relatively long half-life of 5.27 years.

The statement said extending the production of cobalt-60 to PWRs will help diversify the global cobalt-60 supply chain.

Cobalt-60 is produced in nuclear reactors by adding naturally occurring cobalt-59, which is converted during the reactor’s operation.

After the conversion, it will be removed from the reactor and will be send to a Nordion facility for processing.

Nordion is a health science company that provides products used for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease.

It supplies gamma technologies and medical isotopes to customers in more than 40 countries and is the main provider of cobalt-60 in the world.

Westinghouse provides reactor design, nuclear fuel, field services and long-term operational support to the global nuclear fleet.

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