Necsa losing millions daily after cancer treatment production shut down

2017-12-06 15:58
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Johannesburg – Since the production line of a radioisotope cancer treatment at Pelindaba nuclear plant was halted in November, the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa) has been losing about R3.5m every day, a spokesperson said.

"We have not done the calculations in terms of the impact of the loss. It would be speculative to say," senior manager of corporate communication Nikelwa Tengimfene told News24 on Wednesday.

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Necsa produces radioactive atoms for medical purposes, and cancer patients in 60 countries depend on its products.

Local facilities that receive isotopes include the Steve Biko and Charlotte Maxeke hospitals in Gauteng.

Tengimfene said that although production at NTP Radioisotopes, a Necsa unit, remained closed, Necsa had made contingency plans for cancer patients to receive medication.

Executives on special leave

Safety concerns after a machine malfunctioned led to production being stopped, she said.

The matter was reported to the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR), which advised Necsa to stop all operations immediately.

Tengimfene said an announcement would be made in due time about when production is expected to resume.

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She said Necsa had also been engaging with the NNR to deal with the issues raised.

Since the incident, three Necsa senior executives have been placed on special leave.

The NNR previously said in a statement that it was investigating the matter and that operations at the facility would not resume until it was satisfied that Necsa has taken appropriate actions towards ensuring safe operations.

Read more on:    necsa  |  johannesburg  |  nuclear  |  health
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