Bruce Power and partners to expand isotope capacity

29 May 2024

A second isotope production line is being installed at Bruce 7 to double its production capacity to meet forecast increases in demand. Bruce Power and Saugeen Ojibway Nation have also announced an expansion of their partnership for the production of and marketing of medical radioisotopes.

Bruce Power and partners were joined by representatives from government and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre for the announcement of the IPS expansion (Image: Bruce Power)

Collaborators Bruce Power, Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON), Isogen (a Kinectrics and Framatome company) and ITM Isotope Technologies Munich SE (ITM) announced the installation of the second production line that will double the production capacity of the Isotope Production System (IPS) at Bruce 7. With installation complete, commissioning activities are now to begin with the new production line expected to enter commercial service later this year.

Bruce 7 became the first commercial power reactor in the world to produce lutetium-177 (Lu-177) in October 2022. The second production line, designed and installed by Isogen, will enable it to increase production of Lu-177 to meet increasing demand for the medical isotope, which is used in precision oncology for targeted therapy of a growing number of cancers including neuroendocrine tumours and prostate cancer.

The Lu-177 made in the IPS is transported to ITM in Germany for further processing and global distribution. Expansion of the IPS will provide ITM increased access to this critical isotope, which has been successfully used in various clinical and commercial radiopharmaceutical cancer treatments globally, Bruce Power said.

"This announcement is an exciting development that highlights the many benefits of nuclear power, including the expanded production of life-saving medical isotopes," Ontario Premier Doug Ford said at the expansion announcement on 27 May, adding that the "incredible expansion" cements "Ontario's place as a global leader in the production of cancer-fighting medical isotopes".

SON jointly markets isotopes produced through the IPS installed at Bruce Power through the Gamzook'aamin aakoziwin partnership, which also includes a revenue-sharing programme that provides a direct benefit to the community. "We are proud of our inclusion in the growth of the field of nuclear medicine and the benefits it will deliver to so many people,” said Chief Greg Nadjiwon, Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.

The announcement of the new IPS comes days after Bruce Power and SON announced the expansion of Gamzook'aamin aakoziwin. The partnership was set up in 2019 in a collaboration for the marketing of current and new isotopes produced through the IPS at Bruce Power. The expansion of the partnership and investments in increasing isotope production will support the growing need for Lu-177, the partners said.

"We are proud to be a part of the global fight against cancer through this innovative project," said Chief Conrad Ritchie, Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation. "The expansion of the Gamzook'aamin aakoziwin partnership is a result of the increasing demand for cancer-fighting lutetium-177, and the increased production will ensure our partnership will continue to provide a reliable source of these isotopes for patients around the world."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News