SNMMI: Mo-99 shortage may end soon

The Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) shortage is expected to subside over the coming few weeks as generators across the globe slowly begin to resume production, according to the Society for Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI).

The High Flux Reactor (HFR) in Petten, the Netherlands, resumed service on Oct. 31 following an unexpected shutdown. Normal generator production is expected to return this week.

Planned 11-day maintenance at the Open Pool Australian Lightwater (OPAL) reactor ended Nov. 8, and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO) will continue producing the radiopharmaceutical this week. The operations should ease the Mo-99 shortage as well as that of the radioisotope Iodine-131 (I-131) as early as next week.

SNMMI issued an alert on Oct. 31 warning nuclear medicine specialists of an impending Mo-99 shortage during the first half of November. This was due to three simultaneous nuclear reactor shutdowns, including the NTP reactor in South Africa which has experienced problems since 2017. That facility is awaiting approval from the National Nuclear Regulator to run proper tests prior to Mo-99 production. It has already completed functionality tests, according to SNMMI.