Australian project to boost world Mo-99 supply

By staff writers

August 5, 2016 -- Australia is promising to significantly boost the world's perennially short molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) supply with completion of several hot cells that will come online this year just as other large producers are shutting down.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO) said that once construction is complete it will work to boost production from its current 10,000 patient doses per week of technetium-99m (Tc-99m is derived from Mo-99) to eventually reach 10 million doses per year -- enough to satisfy about one-quarter of the growing world demand. Tc-99m is used to diagnose a wide range of heart, lung, and skeletal conditions, including cancer.

World demand for molybdenum is currently in the order of 40 million doses per annum and continues to grow rapidly as more countries industrialize and modernize their health systems, ANSTO said. At the same time, reactors that produce 70% of the world's supply are due to shut down, beginning with Canada's National Research Universal (NRU) reactor in October.

After construction is completed by the end of the year at ANSTO's site in Lucas Heights, Sydney, the organization will begin its testing and commissioning process and ramp up to full production by the end of 2017.

Copyright © 2016

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