Medical staff continue to deal with isotope shortage
Earliest estimated return-to-service date for reactor is now the end of April
of the year, before AECL revised its timeline again late in the summer, suggesting that it would be at least March before the reactor is in operation again. Then this week, AECL reported that the earliest estimated return-to-service date is now the end of April.
Another reactor in the Netherlands is currently undergoing maintenance, meaning the uncertain isotope supply situation is likely to continue for the next couple of months.
But so far, the local health authority — which learns its isotope allotment on a weekly basis — has been able to handle it.
“ Up to this point we’ve been really lucky and a lot of credit goes to the staff because they’ve been able to take the supply we get and they’ve managed to stretch it and get the most out of it that they can so we’ve been really fortunate that way,” said Gilbert.
She explained that the nuclear medicine team in Sydney has been booking appointments on a week-toweek basis, getting in more tests and scans on weeks when they have a larger supply.
When they have a smaller supply, appointments have been moved up to the beginning of the week because that’s when the isotopes are most effective.
“ This isn’t something new for them so they’ve found all sorts of different ways to adapt to it and that’s going to continue probably if the shortage continues for any length of time,” said Gilbert.