Non-reactor Based Isotope Supply Contribution Program (NISP)

Creating an Alternative Supply of Medical Isotopes for Canadians

CPDC is working with a team of experts in particle accelerator technologies to develop a reliable, alternative supply of medical isotopes for Canadians. This solution can strengthen Canada’s supply of medical isotopes by supplementing, or substituting for, the isotopes produced by nuclear reactors and could prevent supply interruptions from adversely affecting the timely delivery of patient scans. The team will show that commercially available particle accelerators, or cyclotrons, can produce one of the most widely used medical isotopes, Technetium-99m (Tc-99m), which was in short supply over the past two years due to the shutdown of Canada’s Chalk River nuclear reactor. Tc-99m is one of the most widely used medical isotopes. It is used in more than 85% of all medical imaging procedures worldwide.

CPDC and the project team will base their research on the capabilities of commercially available cyclotrons that are already in use, or will shortly be installed, at Canadian research institutions and hospitals. These facilities also represent the beginnings of a nation-wide network of regional isotope production sites, which could help to reduce Canada’s dependence on a single nuclear reactor or foreign suppliers for its medical isotopes. Only five reactors, located in Canada, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and South Africa, produce nearly all of the world’s supply of Tc-99m. Canada’s Chalk River reactor alone supplies about a third of the world’s medical isotopes.

DocumentDownload a fact sheet about medical isotopes, technetium and cyclotrons. 

CPDC brings to the team a broad range of expertise in radiochemistry, imaging agent development, quality control and commercialization. We will play a key role in evaluating the technetium that is produced and assess the production and purification strategies used in the project.

CPDC is a world-leader in discovering, developing and distributing cyclotron-produced medical isotopes. The Centre’s cyclotron facility prepares medical isotopes for reliable, daily delivery to PET imaging centres throughout Ontario. During the recent isotope shortage CPDC produced substitute compounds for bone scans ensuring that these essential scans continued to take place.

This initiative is part of a $35 million investment by the federal government through the Non-reactor Based Isotope Supply Contribution Project (NISP). To learn more about NISP visit the National Resources Canada web page at


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