Availability of Mo-99

July 12, 2018

Mo-99 shortages have been reported in a few areas.  Here is what we know:

There is a problem with the Australian generator facility, but its nature was unfortunately misreported in some popular press articles. In Australia there is no problem with either the OPAL reactor or the processing facility, and international shipments of bulk 99Mo have continued as scheduled. Correct information is at the ANSTO website

An update was posted on July 4, 2018. They report that:

Engineers are continuing to work to rectify the mechanical fault that was identified with a piece of equipment called a transfer conveyer on Friday 22 June. This mechanical fault has not affected other nuclear medicine products from ANSTO and has no impact on the operation of the OPAL nuclear reactor. ANSTO’s normal production of generators remains temporarily suspended, and while this will be restored as soon as possible, it is expected to take some weeks.

In South Africa, NTP Radioisotopes continues to interact with the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) of South Africa and awaits NNR’s approval to resume Mo-99 and I-131 production operations. One July 10, 2018, press report indicates that the investigation into operations there is complete. 

On Monday July 9, 2018, the OECD's Emergency Response Team (ERT) reported that "NTP reported that following meetings, and documentation submission to the National Nuclear Regulator (NNR), it continues to await NNR’s feedback and approval in response to its request to resume Mo-99 production operations." They also summarized the current situation by saying that "Processors and Generators expressed that for the time being, there is no major problem in the production initially planned, and that all are trying to manage through the NTP production outage."