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MDS Nordion Urges Government of Canada to Complete MAPLE Project to Address Current Medical Isotope Supply Shortage
Date:6/1/2009

s produced in Canada are used in approximately 50,000 procedures each day worldwide, including about 5,000 in Canada.

On May 25, 2009, in an interview with Canwest News Service on the status of the supply of medical isotopes, Dr. Christopher O'Brien, President of the Ontario Association of Nuclear Medicine and Director of Nuclear Medicine at Brantford General Hospital, said "if Chalk River does not come back up on line, does not restart, North America will be faced with a significant and chronic shortage of medical isotopes. There just aren't enough reactors out there that can take the place of Chalk River."

MAPLE - The Best Solution for Medical Isotope Supply

MDS Nordion long recognized the serious nature of the aging global reactor infrastructure, and the need to provide a long-term reliable supply of medical isotopes. To this end, in 1996, MDS contracted with AECL to construct and deliver two isotope production reactors and a processing facility dedicated solely to the production of medical isotopes to replace the NRU reactor, a collaboration that became known as the MAPLE project. The Project included two reactors - MAPLE 1 and MAPLE 2 - to provide a steady and redundant supply of isotopes when one of the reactors would go offline for routine maintenance. Originally slated to be fully operational in 2000, AECL agreed to build the MAPLE project for $145 million - to be fully paid by MDS Nordion.

On May 16, 2008, the Government of Canada and AECL unilaterally announced that the MAPLE project would be discontinued without disclosing a long-term plan for the supply of medical isotopes beyond an intent to extend the license of the NRU to 2016. On July 9, 2008, MDS, which by this time had invested approximately $350 million in the MAPLE project, commenced arbitration against AECL and filed a $1.6 billion court claim against AECL and the Government of Canada to compel them to return to wo
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