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Advanced Medical Isotope Corporation Message Board

  • tradnfrank tradnfrank Aug 24, 2012 1:54 PM Flag

    Isotope Supply shortage

    Supply shortages of molybdenum-99 could become commonplace over the next decade unless longer-term actions are taken. That is the main conclusion of a report from the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Published by the NEA's High-level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR), the report points out that more than 90% of the world's molybdenum-99 is produced by just five research reactors. These facilities are all 43–50 years old and two – NRU in Canada and OSIRIS in France – are expected to stop production by 2016.

    Currently, all of the world's nine major isotope-producing reactors are running – one each in Canada, South Africa, Australia and Argentina and five in Europe. However, the HLG-MR report cautions that shortages could be expected as demand continues to grow, some reactors are shut down and constraints remain on regional processing capacity.

    Molybdenum-99 has a half-life of 66 h, which is not long enough for the isotope to be stockpiled. It is produced by irradiating a target containing uranium-235 inside a nuclear reactor. The molybdenum-99 is then extracted from the target in a processing facility. The uranium targets cannot be transported by air, which means that processing should be located less than 1000 km from the reactor.

    A new large processing facility would cost about $200m to build. According to the report, this is a "significant investment to be made for an industry where there is uncertainty around reliability of irradiation services and a revenue stream that does not currently support the economic sustainability of the industry".

    As a result of this impending crunch, there are currently about a dozen new facilities on the drawing board, most of which are expected to come online by 2015. If all proposed facilities are built, no supply problems are expected assuming 2% growth in demand. However, when problems of processing capacity and the possibility that some projects will not proceed are factored in, the world could again face shortages by about 2021.

    Sentiment: Strong Buy

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    • I have not heard that there are more facilities on the drawing board--- or rather, that is the only place they are...on the drawing board, because my understanding is that there are NO plans to replace the soon to be closed facilities. ADMD is in a strong position to come help with the world's supply regardless of future facilities.

      Sentiment: Strong Buy

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