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NNSA Collaborates With South African Firm On Groundbreaking Conversion To Low-Enriched Uranium-Based Molybdenum-99 Production

on September 27, 2017 - 7:23am
NNSA News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.  The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) and South African Nuclear Energy Corporation’s NTP Radioisotopes SOC Ltd (NTP) completed conversion of their critical medical isotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) production process from highly enriched uranium (HEU) to low enriched uranium (LEU) in August.
 
“South Africa and NTP Radioisotopes have demonstrated outstanding global leadership in completing this lengthy and technically challenging Mo-99 conversion project,” said David Huizenga, the NNSA’s acting deputy administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. “NNSA has been extremely pleased to support NTP’s successful efforts to cease HEU-based Mo-99 production while continuing to play a key role in ensuring a reliable global supply of this crucial medical radioisotope.”
 
This achievement culminates a successful multi-year collaboration between NNSA and NTP to convert South Africa’s Mo-99 production processes to LEU, and represents a milestone in global efforts to end the use of HEU in Mo-99 production.
 
NTP is the first major producer of Mo-99 to convert its production from HEU to LEU. In recognition of the company’s success, NNSA presented NTP with an Outstanding Achievement Award at the September Mo-99 Topical Meeting in Montreal.
 
The award highlights the company’s leadership and ingenuity in completing this complex project. Its efforts serve as an example for industry and governments around the world.
 
NTP has been instrumental in ensuring a reliable global supply of Mo-99 throughout the conversion process. It supplies Mo-99 and other radioisotopes to more than 50 countries around the world, and has supplied the U.S. market with Mo-99 produced using LEU since 2010.
 
Mo-99 is the most widely used medical radioisotope for nuclear imaging, and is used in approximately 40,000 patient procedures daily in the United States.
 
NNSA’s Mo-99 program supports major global Mo-99 suppliers in converting their Mo-99 production processes from HEU to LEU. The program works domestically to support commercial partners in establishing a reliable, non-HEU-based supply of this critical radioisotope.

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