Clean Nuclear Power | Safe Hospitals.

About Bruce Power

We see the world in many different ways, just like consumers. That helps us understand them. Bruce Power is the world’s largest operating nuclear facility with 6,400 megawatts of generating capacity, supplying 30 per cent of Ontario’s power at 30% less than the average residential price of power. Bruce Power’s 2,300-acre site, on the shore of Lake Huron, houses the Bruce A and B generating stations, which each hold four CANDU reactors.
As Canada’s largest public-private partnership, the site is leased from Ontario Power Generation, which is 100 per cent owned by the Province of Ontario, under a long-term arrangement where all of the assets remain publicly owned, while Bruce Power invests private money into them.
Since 2001, Bruce Power has revitalized the Bruce site through $7 billion in private investment and transformed it into the world’s largest operating nuclear facility by refurbishing Units 1-4. In 2016, Bruce Power began a Life-Extension Program that will invest an additional $13 billion into Units 3-8 and extend the life of the site through to 2064. The 40-year Life-Extension Program will ensure Bruce Power provides 30% of Ontario’s electricity while producing zero carbon emissions. The program will also directly and indirectly create and sustain 22,000 jobs across Ontario annually, while investing $4 billion directly and indirectly in the province’s economy.
Bruce Power is also one of the largest Cobalt-60 suppliers in the world. Bruce Power is a partnership among TransCanada Corp., Borealis Infrastructure (a trust established by the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System), The Power Workers’ Union and The Society of Energy Professionals.
Bruce Power site photo

About Ontario Power Generation

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is a provincially owned and funded electricity generation company. Producing nearly 50% of the electricity used in Ontario, OPG generates power that is reliable, safe and environmentally sustainable. Our current fleet consists of 3 thermal stations, 66 hydroelectric stations and 2 nuclear stations; providing an operating capacity of 16,210 megawatts.
Both nuclear stations contain Canadian Deuterium Uranium (CANDU) reactors. Pickering operates 6 of its 8 CANDU units, with 2 units remaining in a safe shutdown state. Having begun operations in 1971, OPG proposes to run the plant until 2024 under Ontario’s Long Term Energy Plan.
Darlington currently operates 3 of its 4 CANDU units, with 1 unit undergoing refurbishment. The Darlington Nuclear Refurbishment project will allow units 1-4 to operate safely for another 30 years until 2055. The $12.8 billion provincial investment will contribute a total of $90 billion to Ontario’s GDP, increase employment by an average of 14,200 jobs annually and will take 10 years to complete.
Aside from producing safe, clean and reliable energy, Pickering Nuclear produces Cobalt-60, which is used to safely sterilize medical equipment and food products. Pickering was the first Ontario generating station to produce Cobalt-60 and will continue to harvest the crucial isotope for the next 7 years. Ontario Power Generation distributes Cobalt-60 with assistance from The Power Workers’ Union as well as The Society of Energy Professionals.

Bruce Power site photo

About Nordion

Nordion is a global health science company which provides market-leading products used for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. It is a leading provider of Gamma technologies and medical isotopes that benefit the lives of millions of people in more than 40 countries. Nordion’s products are used daily by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, medical device manufacturers, hospitals, clinics and research laboratories.
Nordion has a well-diversified, global base of over 500 customers who count on the company to supply isotopes for cardiac imaging, targeted cancer treatments and sterilization of medical products.
In addition, customers look to Nordion for unique collaborations to bring novel medical imaging agents and radiotherapeutics to market. Its network of global suppliers and partners supports our ongoing dedication to unparalleled customer service - delivering products and services efficiently and effectively.
Nordion is a leader in protecting the health and safety of our employees, the community and the environment. As a community partner, Nordion supports a variety of activities that reflect the company's core values of trust, respect, integrity and commitment to excellence.
Nordion's track record of success in the health sciences industry demonstrates its vision and central goal — to make a distinctive contribution to the health and well-being of people around the world.

About Nordion






Plant manufactures Cobalt-59 pellets and slugs.



Plant assembles the source elements and adjusters, and then delivers them to the reactors.


Nuclear Reactors

The Cobalt-59 adjuster rods are installed in the reactor and the Cobalt-59 is activated to become Cobalt-60. This process takes between 18 and 24 months.


Shipping Vehicle

The Cobalt-60 is removed from the reactor and shipped to the processing facility.


Isotope Processors

At the facility, the Cobalt-60 is processed into sources for industrial or medical use.


Shipping Vehicle

The sources are shipped to the customer.

Cobalt-60 Collaboration

Ontario Power Generation and Bruce Power are working collaboratively with Nordion in order to supply 70% of the world’s Cobalt-60. As of November 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed which provides the framework for the companies to work together to ensure a steady long-term supply of Cobalt-60.
Nordion provides a reliable, long-term, end-to-end Cobalt-60 supply and comprehensive Cobalt-60 support such as assurance of worldwide delivery, emergency response and disposal services to improve the risk profiles and enhance effectiveness of gamma processing operations.
Cobalt-60 fuels gamma processing operations such as plants that sterilize single-use medical devices. In the absence of this radioactive material — produced specifically for this purpose in Bruce Power’s Bruce B reactors and in OPG’s Darlington reactors — gamma sterilization would not be possible on the global scale.
Cobalt is mined like any other mineral. It’s removed from the ground and processed into pure Cobalt-59 powder. Once processed into powder, it’s compressed into slugs, which are coated with nickel. These slugs are then encapsulated and assembled into adjuster rods, which are used to control the reaction in the nuclear reactors, where the cobalt is activated by absorbing neutrons to become Cobalt-60. The rods are in the reactor for a minimum of one year and maximum for 2.5 years.
Bruce Power and OPG harvest the rods during planned maintenance outages on the units. The Cobalt-60 rods are then stored in the secondary fuel bay. The harvested rods are suspended on the bay wall about 14 feet below the surface. From the reactivity mechanism deck over the fuel bay, specialized fuel handlers extract the irradiated rods one at a time, and place them in a shielded flask to be shipped to Nordion’s facility.
Once Bruce Power’s piece of the process is complete and the bundles are received by Nordion, the Cobalt-60 is removed from its encapsulation and welded into a new double-encapsulated source called C-188. It is then shipped to the sites of Nordion’s customers for use in irradiators.
These irradiators are used to eliminate harmful organisms in a variety of products. It is used to sterilize disposable medical supplies including sutures, syringes, surgical gowns and masks. Cobalt-60 is also used to sterilize pharmaceutical wares and cosmetics, and irradiate spices and other consumer products that include fruit, seafood, poultry and red meat.
The C-188 undergoes stringent and sophisticated quality assurance testing. Nordion meets and far exceeds international standards and regulatory requirements, including the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (US NRC), the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), among others. Nordion also holds a special form license for its C-188 sources.
Nordion has been safely, efficiently and reliably shipping C-188 Cobalt-60 sources to customers throughout the world for over 50 years.

How it Works:

According to Centre for Disease Control, “Sterilization means the use of a physical or chemical procedure to destroy all microbial life, including highly resistant bacterial endospores.” Cobalt-60 is the isotope that produces gamma irradiation. High-energy gamma rays disrupt living cells by damaging the DNA and other cellular structures. These changes at the molecular level cause death of organisms.
Nordion’s gamma expertise plays an important role in the health and well-being of the global population. Gamma is the technology of choice for sterilization by many of the world’s leading medical device manufacturers. Its proven process is safe, reliable, and highly effective.


As the global health care field grows, the need for safe and sterile products is more paramount than ever. Gamma sterilization is proven process that’s highly effective at treating single-use medical devices. With the ability to penetrate products while sealed in their final packaging, gamma sterilization economizes the manufacturing and distribution process, while still ensuring full sterility of the product.


Sterilization of tissue-based devices by gamma irradiation is conducted routinely and is gathering momentum in the healthcare industry. Tissue-based devices come from human donors. There are no living cells in the bone grafts, tendons, ligaments and various other tissues. While not currently required by regulatory standards, tissue banks are choosing to terminally sterilize tissue-based devices with gamma in order to increase patient safety. This demonstrates the value added by gamma sterilization to this class of products.


A combination device is a medical device combined with a tissue or pharmaceutical or other component that falls within one or more regulatory standards, such as drug-eluting stents. Sterilization can affect drug properties and material properties, so sterilization by gamma irradiation is applied to ensure that the combination device’s sterility and functionality are maintained.


Implantable devices include orthopedics (e.g. knees), stents, heart valves and more. Metal and polymers present a challenge to some sterilization modalities. Gamma is highly efficient for sterilization of implantable devices; in fact, the highest percentage of sterilization modalities for orthopedics is gamma. Additionally, many implantable devices are high value and therefore depend on a reliable process to ensure quality control and prevent the potential for lost product due to processing faults.


Sterilization by gamma irradiation is advantageous for a wide range of pharmaceutical products. Due to the high demand in the pharmaceutical industry, gamma has proven itself to be an effective method as indicated by its acceptance in the European Pharmacopeia and more recently drafted into the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention. Some of the advantages of gamma over other modalities include high penetration power, isothermal character (small temperature rise) and no residues. It also provides a better assurance of product sterility than aseptic processing and lower validation demands.

How it Works:

Gamma is also used to disinfect certain food and consumer products such as spices and cosmetics, and eliminate micro-organisms from tropical produce prior to export to various countries.
While some modalities leave traces of toxic substances, gamma rays do not. The rays are highly effective at killing micro-organisms, yet there is no residue or radioactivity on or in the products and packaging. This means no quarantine is required and product is immediately available for shipment or use after processing.

Agriculture Industry | Spices and Food

From pepper to paprika, and basil to parsley, many spices are disinfected using gamma. Gamma kills insects and prevents food-borne illnesses caused by micro-organisms, without affecting the taste of the spices.
The American Spice Trade Association provides guidance on the use of irradiation as a microbial reduction strategy for spices.
In some countries, regulatory requirements and consumer demands are restricting the use of chemical phytosanitary treatments required for export of fruits and vegetables. The growing awareness of the dangers of chemicals such as Dimethoate, Fenthion, Methylbromide and other known carcinogens has led countries to review and, in some cases, suspend their use. These and other drivers have resulted in an increase in irradiation of food products for phytosanitary purposes as an alternative to chemical treatments. To facilitate the irradiation of high-density, low-dose product, businesses partner with Nordion to optimize a unique selectable gamma configuration depending on product type.
In some countries, gamma irradiation is also used to treat meat and produce against micro-organisms such as E. Coli and Salmonella. Irradiation is for the safety of consumers and neither changes the taste nor the nutrient levels of the food.
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