Saskatchewan Medical Isotopes

Saskatchewan is formally going to bid to produce medical isotopes. This was confirmed on Wednesday but Premiere Brad Wall. The proposal, currently being worked on by U of S and government officials, is to be completed by the end of July.

The federal government is dealing with the current shortage of medical isotopes and they are seeking input in how to rectify the situation.

Medical isotopes are radioactive material used in diagnostic tests such as MRI’s and Saskatoon, among the rest of the world, has been having to cancel them due to the shortage caused by the shut down of Chalk River in Ontario. The Chalk River reactor was supplying approximately 1/3 of the world’s medical isotopes and it will now be shut down until the end of the year.

Brad Wall has been campaigning to add some value to uranium that is mined in Saskatchewan. He is taking this process and consultation process seriously. While we are not spending any money yet, Wall says that we are just seeing if we can get the federal government to consider Saskatchewan as a place that could supply these very important isotopes.

The cost of building a reactor would have to be paid for by the federal government and partners from the private sector.

Wall believes there is an opportunity for Saskatchewan to take a leading role in nuclear medicine and that we should be exploring this opportunity.

It was here in Saskatchewan in 1949 that the first ‘cobalt-60 treatment’ was tried. This saved a woman who was battling cervical cancer.

Promoters of Canada’s nuclear industry made a direct pitch to Saskatoon business people last week. Their aim was to show that a nuclear power plant in Saskatchewan would create jobs and generate other economic benefits. Neil Alexander, president of the Organization of CANDU Industries, told a lunch time audience at the Chamber of Commerce that the promoters of nuclear power also need to address the concerns of safety. He states that so far, in Canada, no member of the public has been harmed in any way by 40 years of used fuel storage. With the medical isotope shortage crisis he brings a good point; “If radioactivity is so unsafe — which, you know, people have been telling us for years and years and years — why is it, now that we don’t have enough for them to inject in their veins, that they are complaining?”

Of course there are people who are emphatically against nuclear anything, but when it comes down to saving their life or a loved one’s life, I think they would be less opinionated.

The Saskatoon real estate market, of course, would benefit from this. The economy in Saskatchewan would be further ahead as well.

Kari Calder
Saskatoon Real Estate Agent
Century 21 Conexus Realty Ltd.

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