[ RadSafe ] shortage of tech 99

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Tue Jul 28 11:14:19 CDT 2009

I have to agree with Gary.  The anti-nuke faction (they are "environmentalist" in a political sense, but usually not in helping sound environmental decisions being made) have spent decades misrepresenting pretty much everything about nuclear power, radioactive material, and radiation in general.  

When I was an undergrad many universities had research reactors, many of which produced isotopes for the universities medical center.  Almost all of them are gone, now, largely because of groups that greatly exaggerated the risks and ignored the benefits.  One can argue that centralized production at a very few big reactors is more efficient than many small reactors, and that may be true; but decentralized production is more robust.

For years the anti-nukes have been using "statistical deaths" to build their case, claiming vanishingly small releases times inflated population estimates mean that nuclear reactors are committing "random murder".  I think it is entirely reasonable to point out that their actions have quite predictably led to the current situation, and that the decrease in number of tests being done is equally random murder, in that it will not be possible to say definitively that a particular person died because of not getting tested due to the shortage.  If the shortage continues, however, there will be people whose lives are worsened or ended because there wasn't enough Tc-99m available.  An the Greens will be responsible.   

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On Behalf Of garyi at trinityphysics.com
Sent: Monday, July 27, 2009 9:31 PM
To: radsafe at radlab.nl; Jean-Francois, Stephane; Bill Prestwich
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] shortage of tech 99

Bill and Stephane,

I am sorry to disagree with you both, but Greens are in fact largely responsible for this shortage of medical isotopes.  Greens (or environmentalists or whatever label you favor) have for years, decades in fact, vigourously lobbied governments to make specific energy and nuclear policy decisions.  They have also worked tirelessly to change public ideas about radiation and nuclear reactors, and the isotope shortage is just one result of all this passion and effort.  Sadly though, it is certainly not the most harmful result.

You both speak of government and political problems as root causes, and make it sound very 
vague, like blaming random weather patterns for something.   But politicians do not make 
random decisions.  They make decisions by calculating the path of greatest political gain, and such decisions are powerfully influenced by trends in public opinion.  They can also be influenced by some well placed money, but that's a post for a different listserv.

Certainly there have been other factors, but it seems unbelievable that any other factor could have been stronger than this decades long crusade by well meaning fools.

-Gary Isenhower

On 27 Jul 2009 at 11:25, Bill Prestwich wrote:

Stephane is absolutely correct. The result in Canada has been largely the result of political problems, and the inability to get the Maple reactors operable. This is now compounded by the government decision to cancel the Maple project altogether. Interestingly enough, while there has been plenty of press coverage here, I have neither seen nor heard any mention of the fact that a Maple is up and running in South Korea. Bill Prestwich

"Jean-Francois, Stephane" wrote:

> Hi Franz,
> I disagree with your statement putting the onus on the "greens".
> I did have the opportunity to comment the very beginning of the crisis 
> in Canada in a big Montreal news paper(end of 2007, beginning 2008). 
> The problem was that our Federal governement took care of business and 
> fired nothing but the President of the Nuclear Safety Commission, ms. 
> Linda Keen. They claimed that her organization was asking too much of 
> the reactor operator (safety measures) and she was responsible of 
> putting the patients at risk.
> At that time , our "good goverment" was saying that they were doing 
> this for the good of the patients. I wrote to tell them that going 
> against  the canadian nuclear watchdog sent a very negative message to 
> the population (who can you trust if the government can shut down the 
> watchdog ?)  and was asking in my letter as a conclusion,  only one 
> simple question: If you care about patients, where is your contingency 
> plan ? The reactor is old, it will not go on for ever...where is your 
> back-up plan ?  Of course, they don't have any, we see this today... 
> and obviously nobody in this industry seems to have one either.
> Blame the politics Franz, not the Greens...that was too easy.Please 
> note, I am all for nuclear and medicine, but sadly,  we need a crisis 
> like this one to set the record straight and send a political message 
> to our deciders.
> Stéphane Jean-François, Eng., M. Env., CHP Manager, Environment and 
> Health Physics Services Canada Site Functions
> (514) 428-8695
> (514) 428-8670 (FAX)
> stephane_jeanfrancois at merck.com
> www.merckfrosst.com
> Merck Frosst Center for Therapeutic Research
> -----Original Message-----
> From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl]
> On Behalf Of Franz Schönhofer Sent: Friday, July 24, 2009 4:21 PM
> To: 'conrad gmail'; radsafe at radlab.nl Subject: AW: [ RadSafe ] 
> shortage of tech 99
> Conrad,
> Thank you for forwarding these news, though they are alarming. But 
> obviously not alarming enough to create a corresponding echo on 
> Since the research reactor in Seibersdorf, Austria shut down, which 
> produced not only Tc-99m (or rather its parent nuclide), but also for 
> example other radionuclides for instance for synoviortesis, 
> radionuclides needed in technical applications like iridium, co-60 or 
> others, there are problems. One can import radionuclides from foreign 
> countries. Not to talk about the addition costs this is most often not 
> possible for short lived radionuclides or would enhance the radiation 
> dose to the handler abroad, because much higher activities have to be 
> handled and shipped!
> Similar problems abound(ed) in Australia. Have they been solved?
> Thanks to those "greens" and "friends of mankind" it might be possible 
> that people die, because their acute heart diseases cannot be 
> discovered due to lack of suitable radionuclides.
> Best regards,
> Franz7
> Franz Schoenhofer, PhD
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