[ RadSafe ] shortage of tech 99

Jaro jaro-10kbq at sympatico.ca
Fri Jul 31 05:41:33 CDT 2009

Bonjour Stéphane,

Please see below, a letter I sent to the Montreal Gazette several weeks ago:
It was published pretty much intact -- minus the reference links I


-----Original Message-----
From: Jaro
Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 10:38 AM
To: 'Editor of The Gazette' (E-mail)

To the Editor:

Canadian Nuclear Medicine Association president Dr. Jean-Luc Urbain's
comment that "the prolonged shutdown of the NRU reactor is a real
catastrophe for the 2 million nuclear medicine patients in Canada" is
interesting for a number of reasons.

>From a Quebec perspective, both Dr. Urbain and Bloc Québécois leader Gilles
Duceppe must be aware that this Province was to have its own
isotope-producing reactor back in the late 1980's, at the Centre Hospitalier
Universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS) -- a project eagerly endorsed by CHUS,
but eventually killed by antinuke-inspired political interference, notably
by then-ministers John Ciaccia, Monique Gagnon-Tremblay and Jean Charest
(yes, our current Premier).

While the 10-megawatt SLOWPOKE reactor at CHUS would only have been about
10% as powerful as the NRU reactor in Chalk River, and was also intended for
heating the hospital complex, it could well have been used to produce
isotopes sufficient for Quebec and the Atlantic provinces -- especially
during periods when the old NRU reactor is shut down (isotope irradiation
targets could have been sent to the idle Chalk River processing facilities,
or a small processing lab added at CHUS, alongside their cyclotron isotope
processing equipment....).

The cyclotron currently operating at CHUS is certainly a useful nuclear
medicine research tool.
But it is incapable of producing the Molybdenum-99 isotope that NRU supplies
to all of Canada and around the world, via MDS Nordion's Kanata processing

For your information, I have compiled some historical and technical
information on the following CNS-Quebec web pages:

Who do we owe thanks for this "real medical catastrophe" ?


Jaro Franta, P.Eng.
Montréal, Québec

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl]On
Behalf Of Jean-Francois, Stephane
Sent: Monday, July 27, 2009 8:50 AM
To: Franz Schönhofer; conrad gmail; radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: RE: [ RadSafe ] shortage of tech 99

Hi Franz,

I disagree with your statement putting the onus on the "greens".

I did have the opportunity to comment the very beginning of the crisis in
Canada in a big Montreal news paper(end of 2007, beginning 2008). The
problem was that our Federal governement took care of business and fired
nothing but the President of the Nuclear Safety Commission, ms. Linda Keen.
They claimed that her organization was asking too much of the reactor
operator (safety measures) and she was responsible of putting the patients
at risk.

At that time , our "good goverment" was saying that they were doing this for
the good of the patients. I wrote to tell them that going against  the
canadian nuclear watchdog sent a very negative message to the population
(who can you trust if the government can shut down the watchdog ?)  and was
asking in my letter as a conclusion,  only one simple question: If you care
about patients, where is your contingency plan ? The reactor is old, it will
not go on for ever...where is your back-up plan ?  Of course, they don't
have any, we see this today... and obviously nobody in this industry seems
to have one either.

Blame the politics Franz, not the Greens...that was too easy.Please note, I
am all for nuclear and medicine, but sadly,  we need a crisis like this one
to set the record straight and send a political message to our deciders.

Stéphane Jean-François, Eng., M. Env., CHP
Manager, Environment and Health Physics Services
Canada Site Functions
(514) 428-8695
(514) 428-8670 (FAX)
stephane_jeanfrancois at merck.com
Merck Frosst Center for Therapeutic Research

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