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Medical Isotope Production without Highly Enriched Uranium
7000 6-day curies. U.S. supply and demand probably has not changed appreciably since 2006.
About 95 to 98 percent of the Mo-99 produced globally, and all of the Mo-99 used in the United States, is made using HEU targets.
Mo-99 is being produced with LEU targets by CNEA (Argentina) and is anticipated to be produced by ANSTO (Australia) using CNEA technology. This production is primarily intended for indigenous or regional use at present, but both of these organizations have expressed a desire to become global suppliers if economic conditions are favorable.
The IAEA is supporting a coordinated research project to assist several other countries with the development of indigenous Mo-99 production using LEU, but this production is intended for domestic use only.
Mo-99 has not been produced in the United States since 1988. Presently, Mo-99 is supplied to the U.S. market primarily by two commercial companies: MDS Nordion (Canada) and Mallinckrodt (Netherlands). These companies utilize government-constructed and -owned reactors to irradiate HEU targets. The reactors are between about 40 to 50 years old.
Tc-99m generators are supplied to the U.S. market by two companies: Mallinckrodt (located in Missouri) and Lantheus (located in Massachusetts). Mallinckrodt generators mainly use Mo-99 produced at Petten in the Netherlands; Lantheus mainly obtains its Mo-99 from the NRU reactor at Chalk River, Ontario, via MDS Nordion.
There are two U.S.-based organizations that are seeking support to develop domestic production of Mo-99 using LEU: B&W (located in Virginia) and MURR. However, neither organization had obtained the necessary financial support by the time this report was completed.