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Nuclear professionals support medical isotope bill

November 2, 2021

The Society of United Professionals commends both official parties in the Ontario Legislature for supporting a private member’s bill recognizing the value of medical isotopes produced by the province’s nuclear reactors. The bill helps mark the beginning of a key virtual trade mission to increase medical isotope exports that will bring more good jobs to Ontario.

Ontario is a world-leader in nuclear medicine. Isotopes are used to diagnose, characterize and treat a range of diseases, as well as to sterilize medical equipment. Isotopes are commonly used in oncology, cardiology and neurology, with new applications being developed by researchers. Through isotopes and related technology, physicians can carefully target and kill diseased cells.

“The by-product of natural gas power generation is climate-destroying carbon dioxide emissions,” said Society of United Professionals President Michelle Johnston. “The by-product of nuclear power is life-saving medical isotopes. Society of United Professionals members are proud to be part of the medical isotope supply chain and appreciate the Ontario Legislature’s recognition and support.”

The private member’s bill was introduced by MPP Bill Walker, who is the representative for Bruce Grey–Owen Sound and a former Associate Minister of Energy.

Isotopes have been used for medical treatment since 1901. A 1944 investment in the Chalk River nuclear laboratory kickstarted Canada’s domestic industry. Today, Canada is the global leader in producing two isotopes, Cobalt-60 and Iodine-125. The Ontario supply chain also produces more than 10 other isotopes that are used domestically and around the globe. Earlier this year, the Society of United Professionals supported Ontario Power Generation’s application to produce a new isotope, molybdenum-99, to address a global shortage.

Isotopes are a key part of Canada’s nuclear industry. Nuclear contributes 60,000 good jobs and more than $17 billion in GDP to the nation’s economy while generating more than half of the energy Ontario needs to power its homes and businesses.

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