Regulating Energetic Beams for Medical Isotope Production in Canada

Abstract of the technical paper/presentation presented at:
International Conference on Application of RadiotraCers and Energetic Beams in Sciences
November 11-17, 2018

Prepared by:
Abdul Alwani
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission


1. Introduction

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is the federal regulator of nuclear power and materials in Canada. Under the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, the CNSC's mandate includes regulating the development, production and use of nuclear energy in Canada to protect health, safety and the environment and regulating the production, possession, use and transport of nuclear substances, and the production, possession and use of prescribed equipment and prescribed information.

The use of particle accelerators for medical isotope production has grown significantly during the past thirty years.  This is both in terms of quantity and in terms of the variety of isotopes produced. The upward trend is expected to continue steadily in the future.

2. PET Cyclotrons

Small cyclotrons have always been the source for the four main short lived Positron Emission Tomography isotopes namely, Fluorine 18, Oxygen 15, Nitrogen 13, and Carbon 11.  A large number of new cyclotrons have been deployed in the country recently.  Research has also increased in many research centres on new radiopharmaceuticals using the now more available PET isotopes.

3. Technetium 99m from Energetic Beams

The Technetium 99m supply has been through a world crisis in 2008.  The shortage or the looming risk of shortage of supply of this essential isotope traditionally produced from reactors has impacted the evolution and the focus of the nuclear industry.  The particle accelerators and the cyclotrons have presented themselves as potential solutions to this supply security issue. Several projects have been launched in Canada toward this objective.

4. CNSC Oversight

An overview of the CNSC oversight functions to ensure that the production and use of the medical isotopes as well as the construction and operation of the associated facilities meet the safety requirements is presented. In addition, whether at the time of introducing new techniques or technologies or even exploring new ideas for producing medical isotopes the CNSC has been present to provide the appropriate consultations and input. 

5. Conclusion

The CNSC has offered and continue to offer the required regulatory guidance, has performed and continue to perform safety monitoring to the nuclear industry embarking on the various stages of medical isotope production. 

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