The American Medical Isotopes Production Act currently is before the Senate, following overwhelming approval in the House (HR 3276) last November, to help fund production of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) in the U.S. and gradually eliminate the export of highly enriched uranium.
According to a report in the Boston Globe, the bill, led by Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), is stalled in the Senate due to concerns raised by Bond. The newspaper noted that Bond wants reassurance that the bill would not increase costs or the chances of shortages in the change from an international supply to U.S. production.
Supporters of the legislation say funding is critical to develop a U.S. supply of Mo-99. Currently, the medical isotope is imported from Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, and other foreign sources.
The global supply of medical isotopes has been precarious since May 2009, when a nuclear reactor at Chalk River, Ontario, went offline for unscheduled repairs. Atomic Energy of Canada expects the facility to remain shuttered until April.
Looming this month is the planned shutdown of the Petten nuclear reactor in the Netherlands by Dutch radiopharmaceutical producer Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group. The operation will be closed until August for maintenance, further exacerbating the global shortage.
U.S. House approves bill to fund U.S. Mo-99 production, November 6, 2009
House committee passes Mo-99 supply bill, October 26, 2009
Mo-99 supply bill passes House subcommittee, October 21, 2009
AECL: Chalk River repair will cost $70M, October 20, 2009
Coalition urges Congress to act on Mo-99, July 29, 2009
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