Lucas Heights Reactor Shutdown Highlights Need for US Nuclear Corp. Technology
Los Angeles, CA, July 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- It was recently announced that a nuclear reactor in Australia, the Open Pool Australian Lightwater (OPAL), had temporarily shut down shipments and suspended production of a valuable medical isotope, molybdenum-99 (Mo-99). Mo-99 decays into technetium-99m (Tc-99m), which is used by hospitals for critical nuclear medicine diagnostic procedures. The suspension was caused by mechanical problems at the site, and severely highlights the need for an alternative, stable supply of medical isotopes.
OPAL is a key part of the global supply of Mo-99, which is handled by a fragile network of isotope suppliers. Fewer than a dozen nuclear reactors supply the entire world. Unfortunately, these isotopes cannot be stockpiled due to the relatively short half-lives; Mo-99 has a half-life of 66 hours, while Tc-99m has a half-life of only 6 hours. There is already an enormous shortage of medical isotopes, and any production problems with current suppliers drastically exacerbate the situation.
A partnership between US Nuclear Corp. and MIFTEC aims to solve the global isotope shortage by manufacturing and selling medical isotope generators that can produce these isotopes at 50% of the current cost. MIFTEC is designing the medical isotope generator based off their parent company’s z-pinch fusion technique, which produces the high flux needed for isotope generation. US Nuclear Corp., having over 70 years of manufacturing experience in the nuclear industry, was appointed the exclusive manufacturer for these isotope generators for N. America and Asia.