Companies Mark European First to Produce Cobalt-60 Radioisotope in EDF Reactors
Paris, December 1, 2021 – At the World Nuclear Exhibition today, Westinghouse Electric Company and EDF signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to produce Cobalt-60 radioisotope in select Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR) owned and operated by EDF in France.
Cédric Lewandowski, EDF Group Senior Executive Vice- President, Nuclear and Thermal (LEFT) and Patrick Fragman, Westinghouse President & CEO.
Cobalt-60 plays a critical role in the safety of medical devices and reduces pathogens in other products. Cobalt-60 also plays a vital role in the treatment of certain brain cancers. This MoU marks the first step for production in Europe of Cobalt-60 for medical uses.
Cédric Lewandowski, EDF Group Senior Executive Vice-President, Nuclear and Thermal explained that: “Production of Cobalt-60 in EDF nuclear power plants shows that, in addition to its role of production of carbon-free electricity, nuclear energy can also help on global health, this is part of our contribution to the general interest.
Cobalt-60 is produced by exposing Cobalt-59, a stable isotope, with neutrons. In the MoU, Westinghouse would manufacture Cobalt-59 capsule fuel assembly inserts (COBAs) for EDF to manage in its PWRs to generate activated Cobalt-60. Westinghouse would manage commercialization of the Cobalt-60.
“We are delighted to partner with EDF in this key agreement that will expand and strengthen the global Cobalt-60 supply chain,” said Patrick Fragman, Westinghouse President & CEO. “We are fully committed to leverage nuclear energy to improve global health.”
EDF and Westinghouse will initiate a Feasibility Assessment and target an anticipated Cobalt-59 load date in the late 2020s with the first Cobalt-60 harvest in the early 2030s.