MDS urges computer code approval to activate MAPLE

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MDS Nordion has submitted a proposal to a Canadian government panel on medical isotope and technetium-99m generator production, suggesting that its Multipurpose Applied Physics Lattice Experiment (MAPLE) medical isotope reactor project could become a reality through the adoption of new computer codes.

With no domestic or international sources of supply that can fully mitigate the current global shortage of molybdneum-99 (Mo-99), MDS is urging Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) to complete the MAPLE project to address the shortage. With guidance from South African Nuclear Energy (Necsa), owner and operator of the SAFARI-1 reactor, and working with AECL, the Ottawa, Ontario-based MDS said a solution could be achieved in an estimated two years.

Specifically, MDS is urging AECL to adhere to its commitment to replace the National Research Universal reactor by bringing the MAPLE facilities into service, which could done through AECL collaborating with Necsa on the adoption of the Open Standard Codes and Routines (OSCAR) computer codes. The OSCAR codes are designed to model research reactor performance and operation and are being used by the High Flux Reactor in Petten, Netherlands, and SAFARI-1, in Pelindaba, South Africa, according to MDS.

Adopting the OSCAR codes could resolve the existing discrepancy between the predicted and measured value of the power coefficient of reactivity of the MAPLE reactors, allowing them to be licensed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission for safe operation, MDS said.

In addition to the OSCAR codes, MDS is proposing the construction of a licensed production facility to manufacture Tc-99m generators for distribution to Canadian hospitals and abroad. MDS said it will build, operate and maintain the generator production line and perform all necessary activities; including provision of licensed packaging, consumable supplies and facilitate transport logistics to Canadian healthcare centers.