GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH), Wilmington, N.C., and Exelon Generation Company have signed an agreement to develop and distribute cobalt-60 for nuclear medical applications. The deal will help to alleviate the current global shortage for the cancer-fighting radioisotope.

In a joint press release, the companies stressed the importance of the U.S. Healthcare system having a viable supply of Cobalt-60. There is currently a high demand for this radioisotope, which is used in oncology treatment centers in over 80 countries.

“Without key isotopes like cobalt-60, potentially life-threatening diseases could go untreated,” said Dr. Robert Atcher, former president of the Society of Nuclear Medicine in the press release. “Developing a U.S. domestic supply of isotopes capable of meeting demands is imperative to the well-being of the U.S. population.”

Kevin Walsh, CEO of Global Nuclear Fuel and senior vice president of GEH Nuclear Fuel Cycle, said in the announcement, “We are pleased to work with Exelon to create a more stable, global supply of cobalt-60, which has been used to help treat hundreds of thousands of patients for cancer and other medical conditions.”

(Source: Press Release)