Nordion is set to receive its first batch of molybdenum-99 isotopes from Russian firm Isotope. The shipment, of which Nordion is not specifying the amount, will "help alleviate the impact of the planned NRU reactor shutdown currently intended for mid-May 2011," Nordion said.
The U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration has awarded NTP Radioisotopes, a unit of the Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa, a contract worth $25 million for the production of the medical isotope molybdenum-99 using low-enriched uranium. NTP Radioisotopes will be working with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation in this initiative.
The European Commission is calling on European Union states and the European Parliament to seriously consider and promote new methods for the production of the medical isotope technetium-99m. The commission said the seven reactors producing the vast majority of the isotope "are approaching the end of their lifespan."
President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed a $26 billion jobs bill into law that includes $16 billion to help states shore up their Medicaid programs. The bill, which passed the Senate last week, was approved by the House during a special one-day summer session earlier in the day.
Ohio-based Cardinal Health is warning that shortages of technetium-99 could reach critically low levels for the remainder of May. Relief for the industry is in sight, however, with the Chalk River reactor in Ontario and the High Flux Reactor in Petten, Netherlands, slated to restart molybdenum-99 production in mid-summer.