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Cobalt-60 — a life-saving medical isotope harvested at Onatrio Nuclear Generating Station

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) said it has completed another harvest of Cobalt-60 (Co-60) at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, continuing a decades-long program of producing this life-saving medical isotope.

Co-60 is used in medical radiotherapy, in treating cancer and about 40% of the world’s single-use medical devices, such as syringes, gloves, implants, and surgical instruments, are sterilized with Co-60.

OPG is expanding its production of Co-60 to Darlington Nuclear Generating Station. Implementing Co-60 production at Darlington Nuclear after Pickering Nuclear ceases operations will replace Pickering Nuclear’s capacity and provide increased production to meet global demand.

“We are proud of our long history of supplying medical isotopes to the entire world from the Pickering plant – and this latest harvest of Cobalt-60 is especially needed amid the current global pandemic, for crucial uses including sterilization of gloves and testing swabs,” Dominique Minière, OPG’s Executive Vice President, New Nuclear Domestic and International Strategy said in a media statement.

“OPG has a vital role to play in global health care, given that Ontario’s CANDU reactors produce 50% of the world’s supply of Cobalt-60.”

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