Webinar: International isotope supply chain needs coordination, not complacency

June 1, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

Accelerators and other new facilities are producing an increasing share of the radioisotopes that were once sourced solely from a handful of research reactors around the globe; demand for alpha-emitters is increasing; and the need for an ensured supply of both radioactive and stable isotopes is now heightened as many countries seek an alternative to Russian isotopes. Those are just a few of the key points that emerged from a recent webinar, “Demand and Supply of Isotopes Around the World: From Diverse Perspectives,” organized by the World Council of Isotopes, along with the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation and the University of Saskatchewan, the hosts of the upcoming 11th International Conference on Isotopes (11ICI).

Defense agency invests in fusion- and radioisotope-powered space propulsion

May 19, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Artist’s rendering of USNC spacecraft using EmberCore. (Image: DIU)

The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), a Department of Defense organization focused on swiftly putting commercial technology to use in the U.S. military, has awarded contracts for two nuclear technologies—compact fusion and radioisotope heat—for spacecraft that could carry a high-power payload and freely maneuver in cislunar space. The objective is to accelerate ground and flight testing and launch a successful orbital prototype demonstration of each approach in 2027.

IAEA combats crop-threatening banana wilt with nuclear technology

January 6, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News
In 2021, the Fusarium wilt disease continued to spread in banana plantations across South America. (Photo: M.Dita/Biodiversity International, Colombia)

A lethal banana disease, known as the Fusarium wilt or Panama wilt, is spreading rapidly in South America and threatening global supplies of the Cavendish banana, the world’s most popular export variety. Working with experts in the Andean countries of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, the IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are using irradiation and nuclear-derived techniques to combat, manage, and prevent the spread of the disease. The IAEA describes the work in a December 24 news article.

Supply of Mo-99 sufficient to meet U.S. needs, feds say

December 21, 2021, 9:23AMNuclear News

Secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm and secretary of health and human services (HHS) Xavier Becerra on December 20 jointly certified that the worldwide supply of the medical radioisotope molybdenum-99 produced without the use of high-enriched uranium is now sufficient to meet the needs of patients in the United States.

Texas A&M to lead isotope R&D traineeship program

December 9, 2021, 9:31AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy is dedicating $2 million to the establishment of a first-of-its-kind program to train undergraduate and graduate students in isotope research and development, production, and processing. Texas A&M University will serve as the Isotope Traineeship Coordination (ITC) site, collaborating with a team of 14 colleges and universities and three national laboratories: Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

NNSA issues Mo-99 cooperative agreement to Niowave

December 6, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration has issued a cooperative agreement worth $13 million to Niowave, of Lansing, Mich., to support the commercial production of molybdenum-99, a critical isotope used in more than 40,000 medical procedures in the United States each day, including the diagnosis of heart disease and cancer.

Researchers adapt Cf-252 source for wireless data transmission

November 15, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News
(CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE) The researchers’ experimental layout is depicted here. In (b), the neutron chopper is depicted without the mesh guard shown in (d), a photograph of the experimental layout that includes the Cf-252 source tank at left. (Composite image: Joyce, et al., “Wireless information transfer with fast neutrons,” doi.org/10.1016/j.nima.2021.165946)

Swapping conventional electromagnetic radiation for fast neutrons, a team of research engineers at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom, working with the Jozef Stefan Institute of Slovenia, report that they have successfully transmitted digital information wirelessly using nuclear radiation. The researchers’ attempts to transmit words and numbers using standard ASCII code “were 100 percent successful,” according to a November 10 press release from Lancaster University. Their research will be published in an upcoming issue of Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research and is now available online.

Canada authorizes Mo-99 production at Darlington station

November 12, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News
Darlington nuclear power plant. (Photo: OPG)

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has amended Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) operating license for its Darlington nuclear power station near Clarington, Ontario, allowing the company to produce the medical radioisotope molybdenum-99 using Darlington’s Unit 2 CANDU reactor. OPG subsidiary Laurentis Energy Partners, in conjunction with BWXT Medical, is leading the program to produce Mo-99 at Darlington.

Radioisotopes: The unseen infrastructure

October 29, 2021, 7:00AMANS Nuclear CafeMatt Reiter

What is one thing that bridges, oil wells, and cancer treatment therapies have in common? Reliance on radioisotopes. Radioisotopes have played an important role in our society for decades, yet their benefits often go unrecognized. As Congress makes progress on new bipartisan infrastructure legislation, radioisotopes are essential to bringing new infrastructure projects to life.

NNSA awards SHINE $35 million for Mo-99 production

October 19, 2021, 2:34PMNuclear News
SHINE Technologies’ headquarters building in Janesville, Wis. (Photo: SHINE)

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration has issued a cooperative agreement worth $35 million to SHINE Technologies, based in Janesville, Wis., to support the commercial production of molybdenum-99, a critical isotope used in more than 40,000 medical procedures in the United States each day, including the diagnosis of heart disease and cancer.

ARTMS submits Ga-68 radioisotope production paperwork with Health Canada

October 18, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
A PET imaging machine. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

ARTMS, a Canadian producer of medical isotopes, announced that it has registered the cyclotron production of gallium-68 with the government of Canada, filing a Type 1 Master File with the Health Products & Food Branch of Health Canada. The Ga-68 radioisotope is used in nuclear medicine diagnostic procedures utilizing positron emission tomography (PET) imaging.

NorthStar awarded $37 million for Mo-99 production

August 30, 2021, 7:01AMNuclear News
NorthStar’s RadioGenix system produces the medical radioisope Mo-99 without the use of uranium. (Photo: NorthStar)

NorthStar Medical Technologies of Beloit, Wis., will receive $37 million under two cooperative agreements with the National Nuclear Security Administration for the production of molybdenum-99 without the use of high-enriched uranium. Considered a critical medical radioisotope, Mo-99 is used in more than 40,000 medical procedures in the United States each day, including the diagnosis of heart disease and cancer.

First concrete poured for Bolivian research reactor

July 30, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News
First concrete pour for research reactor begins at Bolivian nuclear research center. (Photo: Rosatom)

Key facilities at a multipurpose nuclear research center in the high plains of Bolivia are nearing operation, and a ceremonial first concrete pour for the nuclear research reactor that will serve as the centerpiece of the project was held on July 26. Bolivian president Luis Arce attended the ceremony at the Center for Nuclear Technology Research and Development (CNTRD). Also attending were Kirill Komarov, first deputy director general for corporate development and international business at Rosatom (Russia’s state atomic energy agency), and authorities from the Ministry of Hydrocarbons and Energies and the Bolivian Nuclear Energy Agency (ABEN).

SHINE plans new isotope production facility in the Netherlands

May 24, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News
A rendering of the SHINE medical isotope production facility planned for construction in Veendam, the Netherlands. (Image: Shine)

SHINE Medical Technologies plans to locate its European medical isotope production facility in the Netherlands after a yearlong search and a review of more than 50 proposals from sites across Europe. The company announced on May 20 that construction at the site should begin in 2023 with commercial production starting in late 2025.

Progress being made toward Mo-99 production at Darlington

September 29, 2020, 12:25PMNuclear News

Darlington nuclear generating station. Photo: OPG

Ontario Power Generation, its subsidiary Laurentis Energy Partners, and BWXT ITG Canada and its affiliates announced on September 24 that the companies are making “significant progress” toward the production of molybdenum-99 at OPG’s Darlington nuclear power plant. Darlington will become the first commercial operating nuclear reactor to produce the medical radioisotope.

A precursor to technetium-99m, Mo-99 is used in more than 40 million procedures a year to detect cancers and diagnose various medical conditions.

Nuclear-powered Perseverance begins seven-month journey to Mars

July 30, 2020, 2:56PMNuclear News

An Atlas V rocket with NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover on board launches on July 30. Photo: NASA/Joel Kowsky

The launch of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover went ahead as scheduled on July 30, lifting off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 7:50 a.m. (EDT) . The rover was onboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 541 rocket.

Minutes later, NASA reported that all flight milestones were being met as planned. There are several more milestones to reach before Perseverance—the fifth rover that NASA has sent to Mars—lands on the Red Planet in seven months.

IAEA seeks source of radioisotopes detected over Northern Europe

June 30, 2020, 9:19AMNuclear News

The International Atomic Energy Agency has emphasized that elevated concentrations of cesium-134, cesium-137, and ruthenium-103 recently detected over Northern Europe pose no risk to human health or the environment, even as the agency continues to investigate their origin.