Framatome and Nuclearelectrica to co-operate on production of Lutetium-177 at Cernavoda

6 December 2023

France’s Framatome and Romanian nuclear utility SN Nuclearelectrica (SNN) have agreed to explore the possibility of producing the medical isotope lutetium-177 (Lu-177) at the Cernavoda NPP. The agreement includes a technical feasibility study, based on Framatome’s isotopes production technology tested in Canada in 2022. Framatome and Nuclearelectrica will consider how to maximise the existing infrastructure at Cernavoda to convert targets into medical isotopes while maintaining power production.

Lutetium-177 is a beta-emitting radioisotope used in targeted radionuclide therapy for the treatment of prostate cancer and in multiple promising radiopharmaceutical developments for other cancer indications. In October 2022, an international collaboration between Canada’s Bruce Power, Isogen (a Kinectrics and Framatome company) and ITM Isotope Technologies Munich began commercial production of lutetium-177 at the Bruce NPP in Ontario. Both Bruce Power and Cernavoda operate Candu pressurised heavy water reactors.

“Mass access to nuclear medicine is closely linked to the development of large scale, reliable and diversified supply chains and we want to play our part in the fight against cancer by helping build these supply chains, “said François Gauché, Director of Framatome Healthcare. “To better serve the patients in the future, we will need regional nuclear medicine production hubs and this project is a great opportunity to strengthen the supply chain in Europe.”

SNN CEO Cosmin Ghita, Nuclearelectrica said the partnership is a significant step to help improve the health of millions of people and demonstrate the multiple benefits of NPPs. “In light of recent developments in the medical isotope market, the need for a secure supply of medical isotopes is increasing, and therefore we believe that this is the perfect time to pursue this opportunity for a medical isotope production project in Cernavoda,” he noted.

Image: The agreement was signed by Framatome CEO Bernard Fontana, (L) and Nuclearelectrica Chairman Teodor Chirica (courtesy of Nuclearelectrica)

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