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McMaster opens $22M nuclear research facility

August 24, 2011

McMaster University officially unveiled today its newly expanded Nuclear Research Building, a new cyclotron facility and improvements to the McMaster Nuclear Reactor (MNR) Building: facilities which are now available for the world's leading nuclear scientists and engineers.

Nuclear sciences and engineering received $22-million from the federal and provincial governments in 2009 as part of the Knowledge Infrastructure Program. The money was used to upgrade physical infrastructure, expand isotope research and production capacity, and enhance research and education facilities for the nuclear industry and health care sectors.

"This investment has reinforced McMaster's position as one of the world's top nuclear science and engineering research universities and significantly enhances our innovation and education goals," says Patrick Deane, president of McMaster. "This will also enable the university and our researchers to make a real difference in the lives of many people within our own community."

A new facility houses a 10-ton, $2-million cyclotron which will produce PET scan medical isotopes. McMaster intends the facility to primarily be used for the development of new drugs for the early diagnosis of diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's. The facility will be able to produce imaging isotopes every day in the facility, where can be immediately delivered to a local hospital and used for the patients who need them most.

"Our Government has invested in innovation and knowledge infrastructure to set the foundation for economic prosperity," said Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology. "This project has not only created jobs for people in our community, but it also provides infrastructure that will
benefit McMaster University for years to come."

In addition, the funding provided for extensive renovations and upgrades to the Nuclear Research Building, to accommodate and support new laboratories, research space and education for new faculty members, researchers and graduate students. The new McMaster building will play host to the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization, a private sector government-funded not-for-profit enterprise whose funded goal is research, development and commercialization of new molecular
imaging tools for disease treatment and diagnosis.

"This is a proud moment for our community, to have this world class upgraded facility to improve McMaster's research and training for both today and the years to come," said Ted McMeekin, MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale.

"Today's announcement reaffirms our strong commitment to McMaster and its cutting-edge research," said Sophia Aggelonitis, Minister of Revenue and MPP for Hamilton Mountain. "Not only did this investment bring jobs to our community, but it will improve the lives of people around the world."

The funding also provided major maintenance in the McMaster Nuclear Reactor building, potentially extending the working life of this valuable research and education resource. MNR provides enough radioisotopes to treat 1000 cancer patients ever single week and is used by researchers all over the world who perform studies in geochronology, date ancient artifacts and study new kinds of crystals and materials. The reactor supports the mining and exploration sectors and tests the engine turbine blades of commercial aircraft in North America.