Dutch reactor opening delayed another month

The Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG) has pushed back the tentative start-up date for its High Flux Reactor in Petten, Netherlands, by one more month to November.

In announcing the delay, the NRG noted that it has determined that corrosion on the concrete side of the unit has caused a gas bubble stream to form in the nuclear reactor's primary cooling water system.

The NRG currently is exploring two repair options, but either choice will delay the completion of repairs at least until November. A decision on which course of action to pursue is expected within a week.

The delay will continue to adversely affect the production and supply of medical isotopes. The NRG said it is in "close contact" with other isotope producers to possibly coordinate production schedules.

The facility has been offline since August, magnifying the issue of a worldwide shortage of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), the precursor to technetium-99m and the most widely used isotope in nuclear medicine.

Related Reading

Dutch reactor down two more months, September 8, 2008

AECL: Increased production won't cover demand, August 29, 2008

SNM has 'serious concerns' over isotope situation, August 28, 2008

AECL monitors isotope supply after Dutch shutdown, August 26, 2008

SNM draft report shows U.S. Mo-99 production years away, July 22, 2008

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