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Last Updated: Monday, 17 December 2007, 03:26 GMT
Canada reactor resumes operation
By Lee Carter
BBC News, Toronto

Doctor examines brain scan - file photo
Non-radioactive technology is also used in cancer detection
A Canadian nuclear reactor which produces two-thirds of the world's medical isotopes has resumed operations after being shut down for a month.

The country's Atomic Energy Agency says that new supplies will be ready within days to meet a worldwide shortage.

Canada's conservative government pushed emergency legislation through parliament to get it working again.

Some critics say that the prime minister ignored the industry regulator who had expressed safety concerns.

The Chalk River nuclear plant in the province of Ontario produces isotopes used all over the world for medical imaging and diagnostic scans for fractures, cancer and heart conditions.

The 50-year old reactor was originally shut down for a week of routine maintenance but the country's nuclear regulator refused to allow it to resume production until a number of safety issues were resolved.

The government's legislation effectively bypassed the regulator's order.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper accused the regulator's officials of playing politics and personally assured the country's House of Commons that the reactor was safe.

But some industry critics are appalled that the government has essentially gone over the head of the country's appointed nuclear safety body.

SEE ALSO
Canada MPs to end isotope crisis
12 Dec 07 |  Americas
Canada reactor slows cancer tests
07 Dec 07 |  Americas
Country profile: Canada
23 Oct 07 |  Country profiles

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