Saturday, October 10, 2009

Netherlands: Dutch to build new nuclear reactor

Radio Netherlands reports the Dutch government has decided to build a new nuclear reactor for medical purposes. Two separate provinces are in the race to build a reactor to replace the one in the coastal town of Petten. The provinces of Zeeland and North Holland have both set aside a budget of 40 million euros for the development costs, licences and research. The government still has to decide on the location of the new reactor.

The reactor in Petten produces isotopes which are used for treating cancer, cardiac problems and bone disease. It is 50 years old and has been having trouble with its cooling water system for a number of years. Repairs to the system have had to be postponed to guarantee a steady supply of isotopes as the Canadian Chalk Rivers reactor had to be shut down for repair after a leak. Now the Dutch reactor is due to close for repairs in March next year.

Petten supplies 30 percent of the world’s isotopes and the Canadian reactor produces about half of the world’s medical isotopes. The Canadian reactor is due to start up again early next year.

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