Belgium to restart medical isotope production

There's finally some good news on the global medical isotope supply front -- Belgium's nuclear regulators have given their approval for the production of medical isotopes at the National Institute of Radioelements at Fleurus.

The facility has been idle since an unexpected release of iodine-131 in August. The extended outage contributed to what already was a strained global supply. The facility at Fleurus plans improvements to its production processes and facilities, staff training, and periodic audits and external verification.

The institute produces iodine-131 for medical diagnosis and therapy applications and molybdenum-99/technetium-99m for cancer treatment.

The Belgian announcement comes after the Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG) in the Netherlands last month set a February 2009 restart date for its High Flux Reactor in Petten, extending that facility's downtime to six months.

Related Reading

Dutch reactor won't restart until February 2009, October 15, 2008

Dutch reactor opening delayed another month, September 19, 2008

Dutch reactor down two more months, September 8, 2008

European group meets over isotope supply, September 4, 2008

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

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