US NRC conditionally approves new radioisotope facility

19 May 2017

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on 16 May published its final environmental impact statement on a medical radioisotope production facility proposed for Columbia, Missouri. The study recommends that a construction permit be issued to Northwest Medical Isotopes, barring the identification of any safety issues during the agency's ongoing safety review. Northwest submitted the application in February 2015, proposing to construct a facility to produce molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) from low-enriched uranium. Mo-99 decays to technetium-99m (Tc-99m), the most commonly used radioisotope in medicine. According to the NRC, Tc-99m is used in 20 to 25 million diagnostic procedures around the world each year, including bone and organ scans to detect cancer and cardiovascular imaging. There are no Mo-99 production facilities in the US, although the NRC has issued a construction permit to SHINE Medical Technologies to build one in Janesville, produce molybdenum-99 from low-enriched uranium.

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