China's domestically-developed medical cobalt-60 radioactive sources to go commercial

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The China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) will put the country's first domestically-produced medical cobalt-60 radioactive sources into the market, which will be used to produce gamma knives for cancer treatment.

The first batch of medical cobalt-60 material components made in China were officially shipped from the Qinshan Nuclear Power Station in Zhejiang Province to a trial production line for the radioactive sources, the CNNC said.

Chengdu Gaotong Isotope Company Limited, a unit under the CNNC, said the materials have safely arrived at one of the company's plants, and the first set of domestically-produced medical cobalt-60 radioactive sources is expected to debut in October.

The CNNC started research on medical cobalt-60 radioactive sources in 2016 and produced the first batch of domestically-developed medical cobalt-60 radioactive materials at the Qinshan Nuclear Power Station in April this year.

Cobalt-60 radioactive sources are widely used in agriculture, industry and medicine. In the medical sector, cobalt-60 is especially important, as cobalt-60 gamma knives have been widely used in cancer treatment for its strengths such as accurate positioning, minor side effects and relatively lower costs.

Many CNNC units cooperated and succeeded in 2010 in producing industrial cobalt-60 radioactive source domestically. The sources now claim 70 percent of the domestic market and have achieved large-scale exports.

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