Isotope production comes back on-line in Canada and the US
May 28, 1998
The six-day strike by technicians at the
Chalk River laboratories in Canada ended at the
main reactor at Chalk River became operational again on Tuesday (see last week's
Meanwhile the Brookhaven National Laboratory in the US is to start manufacturing medical isotopes following the closure of other facilities in North America and Russia. Accelerators at TRIUMF in Canada, Los Alamos in the US and the Institute for Nuclear Research in Russia are either being used for physics experiments or being upgraded.
Brookhaven will produce germanium-68, which is used to calibrate positron emission tomography (PET) scanners, and copper-67 for diagnostic and research purposes. It will also make strontium-82: this isotope decays into rubidium-82, which is widely used in studies of the heart. The recently upgraded Brookhaven Linac Isotope Producer (BLIP) accelerator will be used to produce the isotope. The device bombards metal targets with protons to produce short lived isotopes. The isotopes will be produced when BLIP is not needed to accelerate protons for particle physics experiments at Brookhaven's Alternating Gradient Synchrotron.