On Campus

Mac reactor gets $22m to boost isotope production

Chalk River reactor will be offline for months, despite global need for medical isotopes

McMaster University will be able to boost Canadian production of much needed medical isotopes with $22 million in government funding.

The money from the federal and provincial governments will go to upgrading Mac’s nuclear reactor – with a portion going toward medical isotope production.

The Chalk River, Ont., nuclear facility produces up to half the global supply of medical isotopes used to detect cancer and heart ailments.

But a heavy-water leak shut down the 52-year-old reactor two weeks ago and the company says it will be out of action for at least three months.

The McMaster reactor is the only Canadian one outside of Chalk River capable of producing the isotopes.

The funding will also help pay for upgrades to McMaster’s Nuclear Research Building and to accommodate and support new labs and research.

– The Canadian Press

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