General Atomics and Nordion will receive $15.3 million in funds from the Energy Department under the second phase of a cooperative agreement to produce commercial supplies of molybdenum-99 isotopes with the University of Missouri Research Reactor Center.
Nordion said Wednesday the Phase II funds from DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration came more than a year after NNSA awarded $9.7 million in Phase I funds to General Atomics to support the Mo-99 production project.
Mo-99 serves as the parent isotope of the medical isotope technetium-99m used in nuclear-based diagnostic procedures.
Kathy Murray, Mo-99 project manager at General Atomics, said the company will use its selective gas extraction platform based on low-enriched uranium to produce Mo-99 isotopes.
“NNSA’s new funding will help ensure we achieve our goal of re-establishing the routine North American commercial supply of molybdenum-99 by mid- to late-2018,” said Phil Larabie, general manager of medical isotopes at Nordion.
Nordion has agreed with the Canadian government and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories to maintain a commercial supply of Mo-99 through March 31, 2018.