Australia is positioning itself to become a world provider of the radioisotope
Mo-99 is widely used in nuclear medicine diagnostic procedures.
The future global supply of the in-demand isotope may be diminishing due to outdated
research reactors and outright closures of others.
The ANSTO/ANM project, now being built, will put Australia in the position
of being able to supply a healthy percentage of the global demand for the isotope.
The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization announced
an update on Australia’s new nuclear medicine manufacturing facility.
Work is well underway on Australia’s new nuclear medicine manufacturing facility, which will enable Australia to help meet world demand for the most common radionuclide used in nuclear medicine, Molybdenum-99.
The first critical steps in the development of Australia’s new nuclear medicine production facility are now complete with the bulk of the excavation work finalized and more than 1700m3 of concrete poured, and more than 200 tonnes of steel reinforcement in place.
The ANSTO Nuclear Medicine (ANM) project, underway at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO), represents a $168.8 million investment by the Australian Government.
Through it, Australia will secure continued supplies of nuclear medicines for the domestic market, and the ability to contribute significantly to international demand.
Currently ANSTO produces around 10,000 patient doses of nuclear medicines per week which is distributed to more than 250 hospitals and medical practices across Australia, as well as shipping product internationally.
The current world demand for Technetium-99m (Tc-99m), which is the decay product of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) is estimated to be approximately 40 million patient doses per annum.
Once fully operational, Australia’s new Mo-99 manufacturing plant will enable ANSTO to significantly increase its production capabilities, and to supply up to 25-30% of global demand.
“The basement concrete has been poured on this project and we expect to be out of the ground early in 2015,” said ANM Board Chairman, Doug Cubbin.
“Our project is currently on schedule and budget. We are confident the planned operational date will be achieved as our facility will use proven production methods already demonstrated at the scale we are building our facility for.
“We expect that once operational it will deliver a medical dividend to the world, and a financial dividend to Australia,”
“Importantly, though this project, Australia will continue to produce nuclear medicine using Low-Enriched Uranium, which is proliferation-proof – contributing significantly to regional nuclear security goals.”
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