Vice-President, Isotope Products of MDS Nordion Inc.
||Production of Reactor Isotopes for Nuclear Medicine
||J.L. Gray Centre
Deep River, Ont.
||Thurs. January 16, 1997
Summary published in North Renfrew Times, Jan 22, 1997:
Production of Reactor Isotopes for Nuclear Medicine
by Al Rose
Dr. Ian Trevena, Vice-President, Isotope Products of MDS Nordion Inc.,
spoke last Thursday to a full house at the Bennett Room of the J.L. Gray
Centre on the subject of Production of Reactor Isotopes for Nuclear Medicine.
Questions from the floor indicated that many in the audience were more
interested in the political and regulatory aspects of the Maple reactor
project than in the technical end. Trevena skirted these questions,
indicating that things like low level waste disposal at CRL, possible delays
caused by the environmental assessment requirements and what appears on
the surface as an extremely optimistic schedule for construction were matters
which AECL and the federal government were responsible for. He felt
that the importance of nuclear medicine would undoubtedly be a strong consideration
in resolving all these issues. He did admit that significant delays
in construction of the first Maple or problems with NRU before Maple was
ready would create significant difficulties and expense in finding alternative
sources to fill the gap.
Trevena dealt mostly with ground fairly familiar to most of the audience.
He reviewed the history from its founding in 1946 by Roy Erington as the
Radiochemical Co. to its fiftieth anniversary this year as a part of the
MDS group, now entitled MDS Nordion. In 1978 Nordion began production
at TRIUMPH followed by operations in Vancouver in 1982. The Kanata
facility dates from 1983 and the break with AECL came in 1988. By
1989 Nordion had facilities in Belgium and a sales office in Hong Kong.
The company employs 600 people, 150 of which are in Belgium.
The building of the Maple reactors will cause a significant increase
in the price of isotopes to customers but Trevena said that they accept
this because there is really no other supplier. Although other countries
like the US and Russia have some capability to produce, the infrastructure
required to deliver the product is extremely complicated and delivery scheduling
critical to the customer. At this time, only MDS Nordion has this
infrastructure. He also noted that competing production reactors
were, like NRU, not of recent vintage.
Trevena then reviewed the isotopes now on the market and some new ones
under development for those interested in the more technical aspects of
nuclear medicine. He also repeated the now familiar statistics of
15 to 20 million nuclear diagnostic procedures per year world wide.
Roughly one third of all patients receive some form of isotope diagnosis
or treatment, 36,000 daily in the US and 50,000 daily world wide.
In closing, Trevena was confident that the two Maple reactors would
be brought into production in 1999 and 2000 as scheduled and that MDS Nordion
would be in a position to retain most of the world market for the next