General Atomics receives Mo-99 production contract

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) will offer a cooperative agreement with General Atomics (GA) to domestically produce molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), it announced Wednesday.

The company was originally selected as a result of a 2010 Funding Opportunity Announcement. It joins other companies in developing new pathways to produce this material without having to resort to highly enriched uranium (HEU).

“This cooperative agreement exemplifies NNSA’s ongoing commitment to accelerate the establishment of domestic production of this important medical isotope, and demonstrates that the government and commercial industry can work together to reduce the risk of nuclear proliferation while providing stability to an important part of the medical radioisotope market," NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington said. "The development of commercial technologies to produce Mo-99 without the use of HEU will ensure that patients have access to the care they need while advancing global nuclear nonproliferation objectives.”

Mo-99 is a parent isotope to technetium-99m, the isotope used in approximately 80 percent of nuclear diagnostic imaging in the U.S. amounting to an approximate 50,000 procedures on a daily basis. The U.S. does not have a steady supply of these isotopes and has been importing them to meet medical needs.

Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science.

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