Global Cobalt-60 Market, By Type (High Specific Activity Cobalt-60, and General Cobalt-60); By Application (Medical, Industrial, Agriculture, Scientific Research, and Others); By Region (North America, Europe, the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East & Africa, and Latin America) Trend Analysis, Competitive Market Share & Forecast, 2017-2027

  • Published Date: September 2021
  • Report ID: BWC2186
  • Available Format: PDF
  • Page: 165

Report Overview

The global cobalt-60 market is anticipated to register impressive growth during the forecast period due to the growing usage of cobalt-60 in various applications such as medical, industrial, agriculture, and others.

Global Cobalt-60 Market- Industry Trends & Forecast Report 2027

Global Cobalt-60 market was worth USD 435.5 million in 2020 and is further anticipated to reach USD 681.3 million by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 7.1% during the forecast period of 2021-2027. The radioactive source of Cobalt-60 is widely used in agriculture, medicine and other industries. It can also be used for radiation breeding, stimulation of yield increase, radiation control of insects/pests, food irradiation preservation, non-destructive inspection, and radiation disinfection. Cobalt-60 is also used for radiation processing, radiation treatment waste, thickness/density measurement of materials under extreme temperatures or pressures, toxic media, the complex structure of vessels or pipes, abrasive and corrosive fluids, and radiotherapy for cancer and tumor. Cobalt-60’s extensive application is driving the growth of the global Cobalt-60 market.Currently, only a few countries, such as Canada, China, and Russiahave Cobalt 60 production capacity, and the international market looks promising.

Global Cobalt-60 Market

Source: BlueWeave Consulting

Global Cobalt-60 Market Overview

Cobalt-60 has a half-life of 5.27 years, making it the longest-lived isotope of cobalt. The stable isotope of cobalt-59 is irradiated by neutrons in a nuclear reactor to produce Cobalt-60. It is increasingly used to check the internal structure of materials, flaws, or foreign objects and to sterilize food. It is used to cure cancer and sterilize medical equipment in the medical field. Cobalt-60, a radioactive form of Cobalt formed by exposing Cobalt to the radiation of an atomic pile, is useful in various industries.

Global Cobalt-60 Market Trend

Growth Drivers

Growing Application of Cobalt-60 in the Healthcare Industry

The radiation produced by cobalt-60 is crucial to the medical community for cancer treatments and sterilization of medical devices. Cobalt-60 is widely employed by the healthcare industry to sterilize medical devices such as sutures, gloves, and syringes. According to the International Irradiation Association, more than 400 million cubic feet of Cobalt-60 is produced annually from approximately 250 large-scale commercial gamma irradiators in about 50 countries. Almost half of the volume is used for medical equipment sterilization by gamma irradiation. LSA Cobalt-60 from Bruce Power can sterilize more than 40% of the world’s single-use medical devices. Medical-grade Cobalt-60 is used by hospitals and medical providers worldwide to fight cancer and treat complex brain conditions with radiation therapy.

Recently, Bruce Power began producing a new source of Cobalt in order to ensure accessibility to innovative machines and treatments. Additionally, Sotera, a renowned worldwide medical laboratory company, has long-term contracts to procure cobalt-60 that stretch from 2024 through 2064. It has a contract with its subsidiary, Nordion, with three nuclear operators that operate 14 nuclear reactors in four plants in Canada and Russia. The company acquires additional supply of Cobalt-60 from reactors in China, India, and Russia. Aside from the growing need for medical device sterilization, the application of cobalt-60 in healthcare is also growing with an increasing number of non-invasive and minimally invasive surgical procedures for brain tumors and cancers. These factors are expected to fuel the growth of the market during the forecast period.


Stringent Environmental Regulations

Since Cobalt-60 is a radioactive material, the regulations related to the use and disposal of Cobalt-60 are very stringent. In addition to the IAEA Code of Conduct, supplementary guidelines on the import and export of radioactive sources establish the international standard, and over 90 countries have already made a political commitment to the Code. A company operating in the market must follow regulations very closely for financial assurances and records for source transfers and decommissioning, or else they may face legal problems. Therefore, these regulations restrain the growth of the Cobalt-60 market.

Impact of COVID-19

As soon as the World Health Organization announced COVID-19 as a pandemic in 2020,several countries had to impose nationwide lockdowns, which had a negative impact on the market. Both developed and developing countries have seen their economies slow down due to the ongoing pandemic. The Cobalt-60 market also witnessed a downfall in the market due to the pandemic. Due to logistical problems and labor shortages, raw materials suppliers were unable to supply Cobalt to the power plants.Producers couldn't meet the market's increased demand due to several factors, such as failed joint ventures, difficulty mining cobalt, and reduced production from plants, and transportation difficulties. Due to the cumulative effects of challenges faced by other segments of the value chain, distributors faced logistical and transportation issues, while consumers faced a lack of cobalt-60 supply in the market.

Global Cobalt-60 Market: By Type

Based on types, the global Cobalt-60 market is segmented into high specific activity Cobalt-60 and general Cobalt-60. The general Cobalt-60 segment is the dominant segment in the overall market and is expected to grow at a healthy CAGR during the forecast period. General Cobalt-60 has low activity compared to medical-grade Cobalt-60 and is used in pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, spices, consumer products, fruit, seafood, poultry, red meat, and more. The average source activity range is between 9,000-11,000 Ci and is used under specific conditions. Because of its radioactive nature and highly corrosive nature, Cobalt-60 can cause severe issues if mishandled.

Global Cobalt-60 Market Share

Source: BlueWeave Consulting

Global Cobalt-60 Market: Regional Insights

Based on regions, the global Cobalt-60 market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East & Africa. North America held the largest share in 2020 and is expected to grow at a steady CAGR during the forecast period. According to Canadian Nuclear Association, more than 70% of the world’s supply of Cobalt-60 is produced at Canadian nuclear power plants. Moreover, Canada refines more than 90% of the Cobalt-60 market globally. North America is one of the leading regions in the global Cobalt-60 market due to the presence of global leaders like Bruce Powder and Nordion in the region. Moreover, advanced healthcare infrastructure, an abundance of global leaders across various industries, and heavy investment in R&D by the companies are driving the growth of the Cobalt-60 market in the region.

Regional Insights

Source: BlueWeave Consulting

Competitive Landscape

The prominent players in the global Cobalt-60 market include Bruce Power, The State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., China Isotope & Radiation Corporation, Board of Radiation & Isotope Technology, and other prominent players. Because of the presence of major firms and their market domination, the industry is extremely consolidated. Companies have been heavily investing in R&D activities and forming strategic alliances (long-term agreements) with manufacturers and suppliers as their major strategies.

Recent Development

  • In August 2021, in line with the German Medicines Act, Eckert & Ziegler Radiopharma GmbH in Braunschweig, a subsidiary of Eckert & Ziegler Strahlen- und Medizintechnik AG, gained production authorization from the Lower Saxony authorities for numerous thorium and lutetium compounds. Eckert & Ziegler now has the authority to deliver therapeutic radioisotopes to its pharmaceutical customers for clinical studies and beyond. Radioisotopes are the main active ingredients in several novel cancer treatments being tested in advanced stages by several pharmaceutical companies.


  • In October 2020, Bruce Power completed its second Cobalt-60 harvest. In the fight against COVID-19, the medicinal isotopes will now be processed and utilized to disinfect medical equipment. Bruce Power's harvest will produce enough isotopes for the world to sterilize 20-25 billion pairs of gloves or COVID-19 swabs.

Scope of the Report



Years Considered

Historical data – 2017-2020

Base Year – 2020

Forecast – 2021 – 2027

Facts Covered

Revenue in USD Million

Market Coverage

United States, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Australia, China, India, UAE, South Africa, Saudi Arabia

Product/Service Segmentation

ByType, Application, and Region

Key Players

Key Players for the market areBruce Power, The State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., China Isotope & Radiation Corporation, Board of Radiation & Isotope Technology, Nordion, QSA Global Inc, Eckert & Ziegler



By Type

  • High Specific Activity Cobalt-60
  • General Cobalt-60

By Application

  • Medical
  • Industrial
  • Agriculture
  • Scientific Research
  • Others

By Region

  • The Asia-Pacific
  • North America
  • Europe
  • The Middle East & Africa
  • Latin America

Frequently Asked Questions:

Ans: Global cobalt-60 market has reached USD 435.5million in 2020.
Ans: The major factors driving the growth of the global Cobalt-60 market are the growing usage of cobalt-60 in various applications such as medical, industrial, agriculture, and others.
Ans: The key players in the global cobalt-60 market areBruce Power, The State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., China Isotope & Radiation Corporation, Board of Radiation & Isotope Technology, Nordion, QSA Global Inc, Eckert & Ziegler.
Ans: Based on types, the general Cobalt-60 segment accounted for the largest share in the global Cobalt-60 market.
Ans: North America holds the largest share in the global Cobalt-60 market.