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.

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