Russia breaks ground on nuclear isotope plant

2018 04 24 20 24 4264 Isotope 400

Russian state nuclear energy firm Rosatom has begun construction of a $129 million nuclear research reactor for medical isotope production in Obninsk, a city in the country's Kaluga region, according to Russian media outlets.

The facility will include 21 production lines for medical imaging isotopes based on iodine-131, samarium-153, and molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), as well as active radiopharmaceutical drugs based on lutetium-177 (Lu-177) and actinium-225, Rosatom said, in a news release posted on PharmProm, an industry news portal. Mo-99 is the precursor to technetium-99m, for example, while Lu-177 is often used for therapeutic applications in cancer patients.

Once completed in 2025, the 34,000-sq-ft plant will ensure Russia's technological sovereignty in the production of radiopharmaceuticals, Russian officials said.

"We understand that we have sufficient competencies to become one of the leaders in the development of high-tech medical care services for Russian citizens," said Alexey Likhachev, general director of Rosatom in a statement.

Currently, Rosatom supplies radioisotope products that enable about one million diagnostic and therapeutic procedures annually in Russia, according to the company. At the same time, the need for radiopharmaceuticals remains extremely high, officials said.

Rosatom's plans for the facility were announced in December 2021, according to an article posted January 20 by Russian media outlet Vademecum.

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