[ RadSafe ] American Medical Isotopes Production Act of 2009 willensure reliable medical isotope supply

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Mon Nov 9 12:28:03 CST 2009

I completely approve of the US developing its own source of Mo-99 (I actually think there should be at least three reactors, located in different regions, but that is the submariner's love of making vital systems robust talking).  I don't see a technical reason why you shouldn't be able to make Mo-99 with LEU, especially if you design the reactor for that from the start (you might need to use a liquid metal reactor to get the fast neutron flux, but that can be done.  It is time and past time that security of supply and decreased transportation times be given at least as much consideration as economy of scale.  

That being said, I find it ironic that the shift from HEU to LEU is being sold on the "HEU can be used to make bombs" concept, when exposing LEU targets to neutron flux will inevitably produce plutonium, and the irradiation pattern needed to maximize Mo-99 production will probably maximize Pu-239 (the good stuff for bombs) vs. Pu-240 and Pu-241 (the not so good stuff and the bad stuff, respectively).  

As that great American Philosopher, Roseanna Roseannadanna, would so eloquently say, "It's always something."   

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On Behalf Of ROY HERREN
Sent: Sunday, November 08, 2009 7:58 PM
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: [ RadSafe ] American Medical Isotopes Production Act of 2009 willensure reliable medical isotope supply

Public release date: 6-Nov-2009
Contact: Amy Shaw
ashaw at snm.org
Society of Nuclear Medicine 

SNM applauds House action to build medical isotopes reactor in the US
American Medical Isotopes Production Act of 2009 will ensure reliable medical isotope supply
Reston, Va.—SNM applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for its passage of H.R. 3276—the American Medical Isotopes Production Act of 2009.
"The worldwide isotope shortage has long been adversely affecting patients in the U.S.," said Michael M. Graham, Ph.D., M.D., president of SNM. "This important legislation will bring us one step closer to solving this chronic problem."
The American Medical Isotopes Production Act of 2009 was introduced by Congressman Edward J. Markey (D–MA) in July. 
"Congressman Markey has worked closely with the medical community, members of industry and other stakeholders to ensure that this important legislation comes to fruition," said Robert W. Atcher, Ph.D., M.B.A., chair of SNM's Domestic Isotope Availability Taskforce. "The time is now to make sure that the U.S. has long-term access to medical isotopes—without having to rely on foreign producers."
Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) is a critical medical isotope. Technetium-99m—the decay product of Mo-99—is used in more than 16 million diagnostic medical tests annually in the U.S. for the early detection and effective management of cancer, heart disease, thyroid disease and other serious conditions. 
There are currently only six foreign producers of Mo-99 approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to import the product into the U.S.—and no domestic facilities exist which are dedicated to the production of Mo-99 for medical uses. These aging foreign reactors regularly experience significant ongoing maintenance issues—frequently causing these reactors to go off-line. These continuing problems were exacerbated with reactors shutting down in Canada and the Netherlands earlier this year. Subsequently, the Canadian government announced that it will no longer produce medical isotopes as of 2016.
"To date, it has not been a pretty picture—and that is why SNM is so supportive of the House's approval of this bill," added Graham. 
Most reactors in the world that produce Mo-99 utilize highly enriched uranium (HEU), which can also be used in the construction of nuclear weapons. Under this legislation, nuclear reactors that produce Mo-99 would have to stop using HEU and make the transition to low enriched uranium (LEU) as a replacement. 
The American Medical Isotopes Production Act of 2009 now heads to the U.S. Senate for approval. If enacted, this legislation would create a stable and reliable supply of medical isotopes in the U.S. 
"This is landmark legislation for patients and all Americans," said Graham.
About SNM—Advancing Molecular Imaging and Therapy
SNM is an international scientific and medical organization dedicated to raising public awareness about what molecular imaging is and how it can help provide patients with the best health care possible. SNM members specialize in molecular imaging, a vital element of today's medical practice that adds an additional dimension to diagnosis, changing the way common and devastating diseases are understood and treated. 
SNM's more than 17,000 members set the standard for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine practice by creating guidelines, sharing information through journals and meetings and leading advocacy on key issues that affect molecular imaging and therapy research and practice. For more information, visit www.snm.org. 


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