In the midst of the outbreak of COVID-19, all around the world, the nuclear industry is doing its best to keep lights on by providing populations and industries with a stable and secure supply of low-carbon electricity where and when it’s needed. However, operators of the world’s nuclear reactors are doing more than just keeping lights on during this pandemic. Besides taking the necessary steps to protect workforces and having plans to keep facilities running at a critical time like this, they are also using nuclear technologies to detect and fight COVID-19.
From Canada to China, from the United States to the Netherlands, reactor operators are continuously working to produce medical isotopes to sterilise medical equipment and produce solutions to battle the coronavirus. Nuclear medicine has helped the medical community for years, with practices such as imaging, using small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose, evaluate or treat diseases from cancers to heart diseases to neurological disorders. The pandemic is now highlighting the role the nuclear power community is playing in battling the worldwide spread of the corona virus.
The senior communications manager for the World Nuclear Association, Jonathan Cobb mentioned that, they are ensuring that the production of Cobalt-60 and other radio isotopic sources are in constant supply so that they can continue to be available to the medical community. Bruce Power, Canada’s only private sector nuclear generator and with 2.4GW of generating capacity is now focusing its attention on maintaining electricity supplies in Ontario along with its production of cobalt-60.
世界核协会高级通讯经理乔纳森科布（Jonathan Cobb）提到，他们正在确保钴-60和其他放射性同位素源的生产，以便继续向医疗界提供。Bruce Power是加拿大唯一的私营核能发电机，拥有2.4GW的发电能力，目前正集中精力维持安大略省的电力供应以及钴-60的生产。
At the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) research centre, the facility’s synchrotron—a cyclic particle accelerator is being used to help determine the structure of proteins on the COVID-19 coronavirus. Many proteins in COVID 19 virus have already been mapped, and by understanding the positions of important components of these proteins, researchers can develop drugs that bind to these proteins and prevent or treat the disease.
Andrew Peele, director and professor of the Australian Synchrotron said “Using our technology, within five minutes you can understand why a drug does or doesn’t work in attaching to a COVID-19 protein. We are currently receiving samples by mail to be analysed and shared back with researchers from across Australia and Asia. By working together, utilizing all the different techniques and infrastructure at our disposal today, we can win this fight and much quicker than previous generations could have. The work is vitally important to finding a solution to combat this virus and saving lives around the world.”
Meanwhile, China General Nuclear, one of the biggest nuclear power operators in the world , has donated time on its electronic beam irradiation sterilization site for the sterilization of medical supplies such as syringes, surgical sutures, gloves, and masks, saying “Controlled medical equipment provides priority and efficient anti-virus sterilization services until the epidemic situation can be controlled.”
The workers of the above mentioned company have helped Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus where the first case was reported to disinfect the hospitals, markets, public toilets and communities. The group in a news release said, “Now, the disinfection and sterilization progress bar in the city of Wuhan has been officially opened, and our nuclear industry personnel have been professional in sterilizing with radiation.”
Source: www.powermag.com, World Nuclear Association Writer: Yvonne Sefakor Dzovor Editor: Priscilla Oforiwaa Obeng Designers: Zhang Jing & Zhang Chao Translation : Zhang Chao
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