On October 31, CNL's routine production of molybdenum-99 at Chalk River Laboratories (CRL) drew to a close. This was an important milestone event in the life of the organization, having been a world leader in radioisotope production and research for many decades. At its peak, CNL was providing product for more than 20 million diagnostic procedures across the globe each year.
Over the last six years, there have been significant changes throughout the supply chain and in the field of nuclear medicine more broadly. New producers have come online, advances are being made in new production technologies, and end users in the medical community have altered their practices to better economize use of the product. Collectively, this should give us all confidence that the world is well-positioned to ensure adequate supply.
While it is important to recognize the accomplishment, dedication and sacrifice made by so many for so many years to maintain this vital link in the isotope supply chain, it is tempered by the simple fact that this is not the end. CNL will maintain the skills and capabilities for molybdenum-99 production in “stand by” until 2018 March. Should the need arise, the Government of Canada may look to CNL to resume production to address a significant need in the market that cannot be addressed by other means. As CNL, we are ready to respond.
CNL will continue to contribute to the health of Canadians and others around the world through our ongoing production of a number of other medical radioisotopes including cobalt-60, iodine-125, and yttrium-90, as well as our research program in health, which continues to build understanding and advance treatment options across a range of health-related issues.