Just three weeks after launching, the Bruce Power Retooling and Economic Recovery Council unveiled today (May 21st) a series of initiatives undertaken to deliver on its mandate to assist in the fight against COVID-19 and support Ontario’s economic recovery.
Joining Mike Rencheck, Bruce Power’s President and CEO, and James Scongack, Exec. V-P Corporate Affairs, on a Facebook Live event today to provide details on the Council’s early achievements were Vic Fedeli, the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and Lisa Thompson, Huron-Bruce MPP and the Minister of Government and Consumer Services.
“The nuclear industry has a vital role to play in the production of medical isotopes, especially as the health-care community in Canada and internationally, fights the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rencheck. “This Retooling and Economic Recovery Council is allowing us to bring together smart, skilled, innovative people from our supply chain and work with the Government of Ontario and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to not only help people’s lives during this health crisis, but to collaborate on a plan to help restore the economy.”
Bruce Power also announced it will be carrying out a second harvest of the isotope used to sterilize medical equipment called Cobalt-60 starting next quarter. To put the size of this harvest into perspective, it is expected to provide enough Cobalt to sterilize up to 11-billion pairs of surgical gloves and swabs globally.
“Our government commends Bruce Power for its leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Fedeli said. “Along with its suppliers and partners, they are truly demonstrating Ontario Spirit by answering the call for help to donate, retool and produce critical personal protective equipment.”
“Bruce Power is home to Canada’s largest private-funded infrastructure project and is a crucial source of isotopes such as Cobalt-60, which are vital to the sterilization of medical equipment here in Canada and around the world.”
The latest Cobalt-60 harvest will be sent to Nordion and the Ottawa-based company will process and then distribute it to health-care facilities around the world for the sterilization of medical equipment. During this pandemic, the need for medical isotopes has taken on a greater urgency because of its effectiveness and reliability in sterilizing drapes, gowns, surgical gloves, scalpels and other single-use medical devices.
“Bruce Power’s efforts to support communities not just in Huron-Bruce, but across Ontario including our First Nations communities during the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be understated,” said Thompson. “Their leadership resulted in donations of food to local food banks, for medical research and for personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer. I’m proud that Bruce Power stands well-positioned to be a leader in Ontario’s economic recovery and job-creation efforts not just in Huron-Bruce but right across our province.”
Introduced on April 30th, the Council was created to leverage the province’s robust nuclear supply chain to help during the current health crisis and to play an instrumental role in revitalizing the economy when the pandemic ends. Bruce Power has partnered with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and supply chain partners in the nuclear industry, many of which are involved in the Life-Extension Program which is the largest private sector infrastructure project in Canada.
One of the Council’s members, Promation, has developed a low-cost ventilator in response to the potential of a sudden surge in demand because of COVID-19 or other future emergencies. The Oakville-based custom design and manufacturing firm, which is supporting Bruce Power’s Major Component Replacement Project, collaborated with scientists and industry experts at University Health Network, University of Toronto, and Mackenzie Innovation Institute to develop the ventilators. The design can be easily mass-produced, and the company is sharing its knowledge with other teams globally.
The Council also announced today the launch of its website at www.rerc.ca, where visitors can access information on the Council, its members and initiatives that have been developed. The website is also host a database for personal protective equipment (PPE) with information on what the supply chain has available, companies with the ability to produce additional PPE, and guidance for securing materials to safely operate businesses.
At the launch of the Council on April 30, the following highlights were outlined:
- The Council will be formed for the duration of the pandemic and inclusive of all of Bruce Power’s Ontario-based suppliers. The focus will be on the continued retooling of the supply chain to meet front-line COVID-19 needs, and to plan to contribute to the province’s economy recovery in the short, medium and long term;
- Exploring new uses for nuclear medical applications including isotopes for the sterilization of medical equipment and long-term supply security. This will include exporting isotopes to assist in the global fight against the pandemic, launching a project to sterilize and re-use N95 masks through high-volume irradiation;
- Leveraging the strong quality and rigour within the nuclear supply chain to support the health-care sector through the rapid production of medical Personal Protection Equipment for front line-workers, including masks, face shields and gowns, along with technology for sanitization and potential re-use, participation in pilot projects to make ventilators within the Bruce Power supply chain or help identify technology options to better utilize existing ventilators;
- Enhancing “Buy Local” tools and approaches to ensure small businesses are utilized fully in communities where nuclear suppliers are located;
- Facilitating the production of hand sanitizer and other cleaning products for distribution to communities, and especially targeted towards seniors and First Nations communities.
The presentation in its entirety is included for those who may have missed it this morning.
Vic Fedeli, the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Lisa Thompson, Huron-Bruce MPP and the Minister of Government and Consumer Affairs, will join Bruce Power President and CEO Mike Rencheck to discuss the Council's new initiatives since launching at the end of April.
Posted by Bruce Power on Thursday, May 21, 2020