Sandia facilities was about 65–80 percent that from other major producers, thus making it unattractive to the industrial sector.
One of the outcomes of the production initiative was the participation of an Albuquerque-based small business, Technology Commercialization International (TCI), in the DOE EOI information meetings. This company had existing supply arrangements for isotope distribution from Russian isotope production facilities and was interested in alternative technologies for Mo-99 production and distribution.
TCI and the Kurchatov Institute, along with Argonne National Laboratory, were funded to evaluate a Kurchatov Institute solution-based reactor concept for Mo-99 production. This initiative proceeded through demonstration of production of Mo-99 samples, and these samples were evaluated for product quality and product yield. However, TCI was not able to sustain this initiative after the conclusion of DOE funding, and ultimately the company decided to terminate its isotope production initiatives. All of TCI’s business operations were terminated just as this National Academies study was initiated. Another U.S. company (Babcock & Wilcox) is now trying to commercialize the solution-reactor technology as discussed elsewhere in this chapter.
Between 95 and 98 percent of the world’s supply of Mo-99 is produced by just four organizations (NNSA and ANSTO, 2007), all of which use HEU targets: MDS Nordion, Mallinckrodt, Institut National des Radioéléments (IRE), and Nuclear Technology Products Radioisotopes (Pty) Ltd. (NTP) (see Table 3.1 and Figure 3.1). These companies are referred to as large-scale producers in this report because they supply more than 1000 6-day curies4 (see Sidebar 3.1) of Mo-99 per week to the market on a routine basis. Two of these companies (MDS Nordion and Mallinckrodt) supply all of the Mo-99 used in the United States under normal operating conditions. These companies routinely purchase Mo-99 from each other and from the other two large-scale producers to help maintain supply reliability.
The remaining world supply of Mo-99 is provided by a small number of organizations that make Mo-99 primarily for indigenous or regional use. The committee refers to these organizations as regional producers in this report. These producers supply considerably fewer than 1000 6-day curies per week, collectively producing only about 5 percent of the world supply