Ottawa, ON (Canada)
February 26, 2020 – Westinghouse Electric Company and Nordion (Canada) Inc., a Sotera Health Company, today announced they have signed a Letter of Intent to develop innovative isotope production technology that will allow Cobalt-60 to be produced in Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs). Through this collaboration, Westinghouse and Nordion will strengthen the supply of Cobalt-60, which plays a critical role in the safety of medical devices and reduces pathogens in food and other products. Cobalt-60 also plays a vital role in the treatment of certain brain cancers.
Westinghouse President and CEO Patrick Fragman commented, “Westinghouse, a leader in nuclear technology throughout the world, brings a strong set of operational experience, engineering skills and a robust safety culture to this collaboration. We look forward to contributing to the health and well-being of people around the world.”
“This partnership will substantially expand future supply options for life-saving Cobalt-60,” said Kevin Brooks, President of Nordion. “Cobalt-60 is critical to our mission of Safeguarding Global Health™, and we continue to invest heavily in maintaining a reliable, long-term supply.”
The Westinghouse-Nordion collaboration will leverage Westinghouse’s position in the nuclear market by allowing Cobalt-60 to be produced in PWR reactors. PWR reactors represent the majority of the world’s more than 450 operating nuclear reactors, including nearly 100 in North America. Expanding production to PWRs will strengthen the diversity of the global Cobalt-60 supply chain. Westinghouse provides reactor design, nuclear fuel, field services and long-term operational support to the global nuclear fleet.
Cobalt-60 is produced in nuclear reactors by inserting naturally occurring Cobalt-59, which is converted to Cobalt-60 during the operation of the reactor. After the conversion, it is removed from the reactor and shipped to Nordion’s facility, where it is used to manufacture sealed sources for shipment to customers in more than 40 countries. Nordion is the leading supplier of Cobalt-60 globally.