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Medical Isotope Production without Highly Enriched Uranium
with Mo-99 production for marshalling, coordinating, and supporting an industry-wide conversion strategy.
DOE. Make the considerable technical expertise of the DOE national laboratory system available to assist producers with conversion-related R&D and examine options to share R&D costs with producers that supply the U.S. market as a means to incentivize the conversion process and encourage domestic production. Maintain the cost of LEU so that it is at least no more expensive than HEU on a common U-235 mass basis.
Department of State. Intensify the diplomatic pressure on countries that still use HEU (fuel or targets) to induce them to convert. In particular, countries that are partners in the GTRI (see Chapter 11) and have made a commitment to the “minimization of HEU” should be encouraged to live up to their commitment; this includes Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France.
FDA. Work with the industry and DOE’s technical experts to ensure that there is a common understanding of LEU-based production of Mo-99 from a regulatory perspective and that there is a good understanding of likely FDA requirements for obtaining regulatory approvals of this isotope in radiopharmaceuticals.
Congress. Provide clear and consistent policy signals concerning conversion to LEU-based Mo-99 production. Consider additional controls on the use of U.S.-origin HEU for medical isotope production and incentives to technetium generator producers that purchase LEU-based Mo-99 to motivate conversion and the development of domestic sources of Mo-99. Specific actions that could be taken are described in the preceding section.