CHARGE 1:
FEASIBILITY OF PROCURING SUPPLIES OF MEDICAL ISOTOPES FROM COMMERCIAL SOURCES THAT DO NOT USE HEU

The authoring committee for this report (Appendix B) provides a detailed examination of feasibility in Chapter 10. This examination is supported by information and analyses in Chapters 2, 7, 8, and 9. The committee finds that:

  • Low enriched uranium (LEU) targets that could be used for large-scale4 production of Mo-99 have been developed and demonstrated.

  • These targets could be used in reactors and processing facilities that produce large-scale quantities of medical isotopes for the U.S. market. However, existing producers might have to make modifications to their process equipment and to their chemical separations processes to use these LEU targets. The targets would also have to be compatible with existing or planned reactors. Conversions could require significant expense (tens of millions of dollars) and time (ranging from a few months to about 13 years) depending on whether it was carried out in existing or new facilities.

  • At the present time there are not sufficient quantities of medical isotopes available from LEU targets to meet U.S. domestic needs. However, the committee sees no technical reasons that adequate quantities cannot be produced from LEU targets in the future.

CHARGE 2:
CURRENT AND PROJECTED DEMAND AND AVAILABILITY OF MEDICAL ISOTOPES IN REGULAR CURRENT DOMESTIC USE

The committee examined the availability and demand for Mo-99 for domestic use in Chapters 3, 4, and 5. The committee finds that:

  • Current (2006) demand for Mo-99 in the United States is between 5000 and 7000 6-day curies5 per week. U.S. supply/demand probably has not changed appreciably since 2006.

  • Demand growth for Mo-99/Tc-99m in the United States over the next 5 years could range from 0 to 5 percent per year with the most likely growth rate in the range of 3 to 5 percent per year.

  • Demand growth for diagnostic imaging will likely continue over the long term as the U.S. population ages. The extent to which this will be

4

That is, production of greater than 1000 6-day curies of Mo-99 per week. See Sidebar 3.1.

5

Most producers calibrate the sale price to the number of curies present in a shipment of Mo-99 6 days after it leaves the producer’s facilities. This quantity is referred to as 6-day curies. See Sidebar 3.1.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement