January 23, 2018
With the temporary stoppage of Mo-99 production at South Africa’s NTP Radioisotopes and the unexpected shutdown of Australia’s OPAL reactor, the Association of Imaging Producers & Equipment Suppliers (AIPES) expects there could be an approximately 15-percent shortfall in Mo-99 to meet world demand over the next one-to-two weeks.
NTP says its Mo-99 processing facility and SAFARI reactor are prepared to resume production as soon as regulatory approval is granted. In addition, the OPAL research reactor, which was scheduled to restart January 20, is now estimated to return to service January 25 after repairs of minor reactor components are completed.
AIPES is monitoring the situation closely and is talking with all concerned. At Curium, Roy W. Brown, vice president for Government Affairs and Strategic Alliances, points out, “Curium has been producing more Mo-99 at our plant in the Netherlands for other generator producers in an effort to help provide for patient access. We have also been maximizing our own generator production to service our regular customers, and to help satisfy the additional generator demand from others who have had supply challenges from their regular generator producers.”
Sally W. Schwarz, RPh, MS, BCNP, FAPhA, FSNMMI, co-director of the cyclotron facility at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and SNMMI’s immediate past president, adds. “This is a very short-term issue that we expect to resolve quickly as both NTP and OPAL come back online. The safeguards in place for the Mo-99 supply pipeline are working as anticipated to cover just such unexpected stoppages at current production facilities.”