Nordion and General Atomics welcome US National Nuclear Security Administration Phase II funding for new, reliable source of molybdenum-99
OTTAWA, 7 December 2016 – Nordion, a standalone business of Sterigenics International, in partnership with General Atomics (GA), welcome today's award by the United States Department of Energy's (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) of the Phase II cooperative agreement funding to GA to complete its project with Nordion and the University of Missouri Research Reactor Center (MURR®). This Phase II funding will support the establishment of a new, reliable supply of molybdenum 99 (Mo-99) using Low Enriched Uranium (LEU).
Today's award brings NNSA's total commitment to the project to $25.0M, $15.3M above the original Phase I funding of $9.7M provided in September 2015. This investment represents a major vote of confidence in the work of more than 100 highly skilled professionals who have contributed to the project over the past year.
"NNSA's new funding will help ensure we achieve our goal of reestablishing the routine North American commercial supply of molybdenum-99 by mid-to late-2018," said Phil Larabie, General Manager of Medical Isotopes for Nordion. "The ongoing test program for this project is exceeding our expectations and will help secure Nordion's long-term future as the world's premiere provider of Mo-99 to health care systems in the U.S. and around the world."
"We are pleased NNSA has elected to continue funding this important project and have full confidence that, with our partners Nordion and MURR®, we will develop the capability to commercially produce Mo-99 using GA's LEU-based selective gas extraction technology. Our Phase I results show that the product meets Nordion's stringent specification requirements for use in their existing infrastructure," added Kathy Murray, GA's Mo-99 Project Manager.
A medical isotope is a safe radioactive substance used by health professionals to assist in the diagnosis of approximately 50 million patients in North America and around the world every year. The most important of these is technetium-99m (Tc-99m), which is derived from molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) and used in more than 80 percent of all nuclear medicine procedures.
Once operational, the project will replace the Mo-99 previously provided by the Canadian National Research Universal Reactor (NRU) in Chalk River, Ontario. While the NRU ended routine Mo-99 production on November 1, 2016, the Government of Canada, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories and Nordion have committed to maintain a stand-by production capability until March 31, 2018 in the event of a significant Mo-99 supply shortage.
Nordion is a leading provider of medical isotopes and gamma technologies used for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease and infection. Nordion's products are used daily by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, medical-device manufacturers, hospitals, clinics and research laboratories. Nordion supplies products to approximately 500 customers across more than 40 countries around the globe, and is a standalone business within Sterigenics International LLC, the leading global provider of contract sterilization and lab services for the medical device industry, the world's leading supplier of Co-60 and a leading supplier of medical isotopes. Sterigenics International, LLC is the only vertically integrated sterilization company in the world. Learn more at nordion.com and follow us on Twitter at @NordionInc.
San Diego-based General Atomics is committed to developing energy innovations and advanced technologies with world-changing potential. The scientists and engineers of GA's Energy Group are pushing the frontier of scientific discovery to produce safe, sustainable and economic solutions to global challenges in energy, medical imaging and next generation computing. Learn more about General Atomics at GA.com.
University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR)
The University of Missouri Research Reactor Center (MURR®) has a long history of safe reliability. With its 10 MW reactor and a 6½-days-per-week; 52 week per year operating schedule, MURR supports research and education while also providing short-lived isotopes for medical applications. MURR provides a range of radioisotopes that help medical professionals diagnose and treat many diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer. The nation's largest university research reactor also supports undergraduate and graduate education programs that train the next generation of nuclear engineers and chemists. For more information on University of Missouri Research Reactor Center please visit: http://www.murr.missouri.edu/.