The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has selected GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) to create a reliable U.S. supply of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) without the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) to overcome the isotope shortage.
GEH’s technology does not rely on the fissioning of HEU and can be used in existing nuclear reactors, as well as supply at least 50 percent of the U.S. need for Mo-99/technetium-99m, according to the company based in Wilmington, N.C.
“We are seeking some short-term solutions that have long-term potential and the GEH technical solution provides a path forward that is quite attractive to meet both these needs,” said Robert Atcher, MD, PhD, past president of the Society of Nuclear Medicine, who evaluated GEH’s isotope technology.
GEH has also signed a agreement with Exelon Generation for a pilot project to meet growing demand for cobalt-60.
“NNSA is committed to supporting technology that offers a new path forward for the creation of a reliable, domestic supply of molybdenum-99 without the use of HEU,” said NNSA Administrator Thomas D'Agostino. “This pragmatic approach addresses a critical U.S. medical community need while supporting President [Barack] Obama's goal of reducing the risk posed by global use of HEU.”