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 National Nuclear Security Administration has given $500,000 each to two groups to advance the development of molybdenum-99 production methods using low-enriched uranium. One of the groups includes the Morgridge Institute for Research and Phoenix Nuclear Labs, while the other involves NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes and its collaborators.
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.
Covidien cautioned of an "extreme shortage" in the supply of molybdenum-99 in May owing to the continued shutdown of the nuclear reactors in the Netherlands and Canada. The company said it plans to continue getting its Mo-99 supply from the reactors in Belgium, France, South Africa and Poland. Covidien last week started producing technetium-99m generators using Mo-99 from the Polish reactor.