July 9, 2012 -- A report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommends that the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) improve pricing and get a better handle on managing production and supply in its Isotope Program.
The recommendations include setting prices for commercially sold isotopes that take into account the full cost of production, such as labor and infrastructure costs.
GAO asserted that the program "has not assessed the value of isotopes to customers or defined what factors it will consider when it sets prices for commercial isotopes. ... As a result, the program does not know if its full-cost-recovery prices are set at appropriate levels so as not to distort the market, and it may be forgoing revenue that could further support its mission."
The communiqué also advocates that DoE consolidate the lists of high-priority isotopes to ensure resources are focused on the most important ones, in addition to identifying and managing risks to isotope production.
DoE is the only domestic supplier for many of the more than 300 isotopes it sells for medical, commercial, research, and national security applications.