South African consortium wins $25M radioisotopes award from U.S.

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The South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa), and its subsidiary NTP Radioisotopes, have won an award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) worth up to $25 million.

The award is based on the successful commercial scale production of the medical isotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) using low enriched uranium targets, and will be managed in collaboration with the Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation (ANSTO) of Australia.

The award comes against the backdrop of an international supply crisis in Mo-99, as well as the highly enriched uranium minimization strategies discussed in the Washington Global Nuclear Security Summit in April.

The summit workplan, which was endorsed by all 47 Heads of State of participating countries, stated that: “Participating States, as appropriate, will collaborate to research and develop new technologies that require neither highly enriched uranium fuels for reactor operation nor highly enriched uranium targets for producing medical or other isotopes, and will encourage the use of low enriched uranium and other proliferation-resistant technologies and fuels in various commercial applications such as isotope production.”