Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chalk River opening pushed back a critical month

Bad news for Canada and the world who rely on the reactor for 30-40% of the world's isotope supplies. It was previously pointed out that there would be a 70% reduction in world isotope production from February 15th to the end of March. During that time both a Dutch reactor and Chalk River would be shut down. The Dutch reactor's about to shut for six months, making it all the more crucial for ours to get back up. Now we hear of another Chalk River delay into April.

In the meantime, as always, patients suffer. Here was the concern expressed on January 10:
Francois Lamoureux, president of the Quebec association of nuclear medicine specialists, said any further delay would be "extremely serious."
He said the reactor in the Netherlands, which took up the slack for the production of medical isotopes when Canada stopped its own production, has to close by mid-February for repairs.
Patients awaiting treatment - mainly for heart ailments and cancer -may suffer as a result of any further delay between the shutdown of the Dutch reactor and the re-opening of Chalk River.
There's no plan for alternatives from this government. They rarely even comment anymore. We'll see if there's any word from new Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis today.

And of course, no Parliament in which to push this pressing health issue.

For more on this topic, see: Blog Post Index: Medical Isotope crisis & Chalk River shutdown.