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MDS Nordion Submits Expression of Interest Proposal to Government of Canada on Medical Isotope and Generator Production

MAPLE Reactors Could Solve the Isotope Crisis within 24 months

OTTAWA, July 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - MDS Nordion, a leading provider of medical isotopes and radiopharmaceuticals, has submitted a Proposal to the Government of Canada's Expert Review Panel on Medical Isotope and Technetium-99m (Tc-99m) Generator Production. MDS Nordion believes that the best answer to the shortage of medical radioisotopes is the completion and bringing into service of the MAPLE project. The MDS Nordion Proposal outlines technical and regulatory requirements needed for the provision of a secure supply of medical isotopes for the health care system in Canada and around the world.

With no domestic or international sources of supply that can fully mitigate the current global shortage of medical isotopes, MDS Nordion urges Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) to complete the MAPLE project to address this shortage. With expertise and guidance from the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa), owner and operator of the SAFARI-1 reactor, and working with AECL, MDS Nordion believes a solution could be achieved in an estimated 24 months.

"MDS Nordion is a solutions oriented Company with strong technical and regulatory expertise. We look forward to working with Necsa on the next stages of this proposal," said Steve West, President of MDS Nordion. "We believe this approach provides a good path forward to bring the MAPLEs into service and provide a long-term supply of medical isotopes for Canadians. This goal is of utmost importance and we are also supportive of other proposals which may provide this critical supply."

Project Description

MDS Nordion urges AECL to honour its long-standing commitment to replace the National Research Universal (NRU) by bringing the MAPLE facilities into service. This can be done through AECL collaborating with Necsa on the adaption of the OSCAR computer codes, which are successfully used by the world's leading isotope producing reactors. The computer codes are specifically designed to model research reactor performance and operation and are being used by the High Flux Reactor in Petten, Netherlands, and SAFARI-1, in South Africa. Adopting the OSCAR computer codes could be essential to resolving the existing discrepancy between the predicted and measured value of the power coefficient of reactivity of the MAPLE reactors allowing them to be licensed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for safe operation.

During the Standing Committee on Natural Resources session on June 4, 2009, Mr. Peter Elder, Director General, Directorate of Nuclear Cycle and Facilities Regulation, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, stated "The issue is not whether, necessarily, there's any problem with a positive coefficient. It was a mismatch between the (value) predicted in their safety case in the computer codes that said it should be negative and the actual measurements in the reactor that turned out to be positive, which means there was something in those computer codes that was not modeling what was happening in the reactor."

As a key collaborator in the project, "Necsa is honoured to be considered part of this important endeavour needed to secure a stable and reliable supply of Mo-99 and Tc-99m to the market by offering its comprehensive expertise in the physics and operation of material test reactors and the OSCAR system to support MDS Nordion's project proposal" stated Rob Adam, Necsa CEO in his response to the invitation by MDS Nordion to join the MAPLE project.

In addition to the OSCAR computer codes, MDS Nordion is proposing the construction of a fully licensed production facility to manufacture Tc-99m generators for distribution to Canadian hospitals in all regions of Canada and abroad. With previous experience in this area, MDS Nordion will build, operate and maintain the generator production line, and perform all necessary activities; including provision of licensed packaging, consumable supplies and facilitate transport logistics to all Canadian health care centres.

About MDS Nordion

MDS Nordion, a business unit of MDS Inc., is a global leader in providing medical isotopes for molecular and diagnostic imaging, radiotherapeutics and sterilization technologies for medical products that benefit the lives of millions of people in more than 50 countries around the world. MDS Nordion products and services are used on a daily basis by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, medical-device manufacturers, hospitals, clinics and research laboratories. Find out more at

About MDS

MDS Inc. (TSX: MDS; NYSE: MDZ) is a global life sciences company that provides market-leading products and services that our customers need for the development of drugs, and the diagnosis and treatment of disease. We are a leading global provider of pharmaceutical contract research, medical isotopes for molecular imaging, radiotherapeutics, and analytical instruments. MDS has more than 4,200 highly skilled people in 13 countries. Find out more at or by calling 1-888-MDS-7222, 24 hours a day.

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