Isotope production at Darlington and Pickering nuclear plants leads to OPG collaboration with Romania

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Published October 5, 2023 at 2:02 pm

A subsidiary of Ontario Power Generation (OPG) will collaborate with S.N. Nuclearelectricia S.A (SNN) of Romania on the production of life-saving medical isotopes at the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant as well as explore the possibility of heavy water production in Romania.

Laurentis Energy Partners and its parent company, OPG, are already world leaders in nuclear isotype production, particularly Cobalt-60, which is used in the treatment of cancer and other diseases, the sterilization of medical devices, medical imaging. new drug development and food preservation.

About half of the world’s Cobalt-60 comes from Ontario nuclear plants, much of that coming from the Pickering nuclear station. A growing suite of other isotopes are currently being produced at OPG’s Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, including Molybdenum-99, Helium-3. Heavy Water and Tritium, with plans underway to also produce Cobalt-60.

One of the unique advantages of CANDU reactors is medical isotopes can be produced without interrupting the generation of clean energy.

“Laurentis is committed to leveraging our proven refurbishment and isotope production expertise to advance healthcare solutions and expand market opportunities in Romania,” said Laurentis CEO Jason Van Wart. “We are proud of our partnership with SNN and look forward to our cooperation in the pursuit of sustainable and impactful global energy solutions.”

The news follows Canada’s Natural Resources and Energy Minister Jonathan Wilkinson’s announcement of $3 billion in export financing for Romania’s Cernavoda plant to support clean energy security.

 

Darlington nuclear plant, Bowmanville

The agreement was formalized this week, with OPG CEO Ken Hartwick and his counterpart at SNN, Cosmin Ghita, signing a Memorandum of Understanding. The arrangement enables SNN and Laurentis to work together on opportunities in a number of areas, including isotope production at SNN’s CANDU) reactor units.

“SNN is proud to partner with Laurentis, a world leader in nuclear isotopes, and thus directly contribute to the healthcare industry by expanding our project portfolio through isotope production,” said Ghita. “The nuclear industry is essential to generating clean energy and producing medical isotopes given the recent evolutions of the medical isotope market, and we are looking forward to this partnership with Laurentis as a way to advance much-needed global solutions for the health sector.”

SNN owns and operates two CANDU reactor units at the Cernavoda NPP, with plans to develop additional reactor units in the future.

Laurentis opened its first office in Bucharest in 2020 and has been active in Cernavoda Unit 1’s refurbishment.

Romanian Energy Minister Sebastian Burduja, who was at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding, cited the safe operations of the CANDU reactors as an important factor in the collaboration between the two countries.

“This is a significant step toward helping to improve the health of millions of people around the world and demonstrates the multiple benefits of nuclear power plants: besides being a source of clean energy, contributing to energy stability and economic growth, they are able to contribute to cancer treatment. Equally important is the project to restart heavy water production in Romania,” he said. “Romania and Canada’s collaboration can be an example to other countries about the important role of nuclear energy.”

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