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Hellenic journal of nuclear medicine

Alternative production methods to face global molybdenum-99 supply shortage.


PMID 21512666

Abstract

The sleeping giant of molybdenum-99 ((99)Mo) production is grinding to a halt and the world is wondering how this happened. Fewer than 10 reactors in the world are capable of producing radio nuclides for medicine; approximately 50% of the world's supply of raw material comes from National Research Universal (NRU) reactor in Canada. Many of these reactors, like the NRU, are old and aging. No one of these reactors, and probably not even all of them in combination, can replace the production of NRU. As the healthcare industry faces an aging population and the demand for diagnostic services using (99m)Tc continues to rise, the need for a consistent, reliable supply of (99)Mo has become increasingly important, so alternative methods to produce (99)Mo or even directly (99m)Tc had to be considered to avoid a supply shortage in the coming years. This need guides to the production of (99)Mo by replacing the Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) target in a nuclear reactor with Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) and furthermore to the use of accelerators for manufacturing (99)Mo or for directly producing (99m)Tc.

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