Research Reactor Section
Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) Production
Supply security and the transition away from the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU)
Upcoming Mo-99 Meetings:
- 5–8 February 2013 - Coordination Meeting for TC Project INT1056: Supporting Small Scale, non-Highly Enriched Uranium (non-HEU) Mo-99 Production Capacity Building, IAEA Headquarters, Vienna
- 16–18 October 2013 – Technical Meeting on "Conversion of Major Producers of 99Mo from HEU to LEU", IAEA Headquarters, Vienna
- Developing Techniques for Small Scale Indigenous Mo-99 Production Using Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Fission or Neutron Activation
Initiated in 2005, this CRP involved eight technology "providers"/agreement holders (Argentina, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Korea, Poland and the USA (ANL and the University of Missouri)) and six technology "recipients"/contract holders: Chile, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Libya, Pakistan and Romania. Technology providers are intended to assist recipients in becoming small-scale producers of Mo-99 from LEU sources through the provision of materials and expertise.
This CRP was completed in 2011, and an IAEA TECDOC summarizing the participants' work and accomplishments will be published in 2013. Additionally, two fact-finding missions related to small-scale Mo-99 production will take place in 2013 in Romania and Uzbekistan.
- Feasibility Evaluation of the Use of Low Enriched Uranium Fuelled Homogeneous Aqueous Solution Nuclear Reactors for the Production of Short Lived Fission Product Isotopes – project is now closed
Initiated in 2009, this CRP involved one technology provider (Japan) and three technology recipients (China, the Russian Federation and Pakistan). In addition the CRP was supported by independent international experts from Germany and France. The project was ended in 2011 after several participants withdrew.
- Nov 2012 – 3rd Meeting of Working Group on Conversion Planning for Mo-99 Production Facilities from HEU to LEU
- Dec 2011 – Fourth Research Co-ordination Meeting (RCM) of the Co-ordinated Research Project (CRP) on Developing techniques for small scale indigenous Molybdenum-99 production using LEU fission or neutron activation
- Dec 2011 – Technical Meeting on Conversion Planning for Mo-99 Production Facilities from HEU to LEU
- Feb 2010 – First RCM on CRP on Feasibility Evaluation of the Use of Low Enriched Uranium Fuelled Homogeneous Aqueous Solution Nuclear Reactors for the Production of Short Lived Fission Product Isotopes
- March 2010 – Consultancy on Current and Novel, Non-HEU based Isotope Production and Supply Technologies for Mo-99 and Tc-99m suitable for Medical Procedures
- August 2010 – Consultancy on Conversion Planning for Mo-99 Production Facilities from HEU to LEU
- 2010 RERTR Presentation-IAEA activities to support the transition of Mo-99 production away from the use of HEU
- 2010 RERTR Paper-IAEA activities to support the transition of Mo-99 production away from the use of HEU
- IAEA Presentation on the CRP at the 2008 RERTR conference. (MS PowerPoint)
- IAEA Paper on the CRP at the 2008 RERTR conference. (MS Word)
- Status of IAEA Mo-99 Activities.
(Presented in 11 June 2007 in NAS Medical Radioisotope Study Washington, DC)
- IAEA Presentation on the CRP at the 2007 RERTR conference. (MS PowerPoint)
- IAEA Paper on the CRP at the 2007 RERTR conference. (MS Word)
- Mo-99 Publications and References. (MS Word)
Coordinated Research Projects (CRPs)
Research Reactor Coalitions working to produce non-HEU Mo-99
IAEA support of coalitions began in 2006. Currently, one existing coalition, the Eurasia Coalition, is working principally on activation-based Mo-99 production. They are actively seeking investment and working to address the availability of enriched Mo-98 and Tc-99m generator technology that will make low specific activity Mo-99 competitive in the existing market within the context of existing delivery/logistics networks.
Other coalitions are being considered, in particular to ensure the availability of backup capacity as described in the recent OECD economic report on Mo-99 supply. These are in the planning stage, however.
Support for the OECD/NEA High-Level Working Group
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) recently released a report entitled "The Supply of Medical Isotopes: An Economic Study of the Molybdenum-99 Supply Chain." The report was the output of the OECD/NEA High-Level Group on Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR), formed in 2009. IAEA provided support to the HLG-MR throughout its study, including doing work to address transport/denial of shipment issues. Furthermore, the IAEA provided detailed comments on the study and is currently working with the HLG-MR on another report attempting to evaluate and compare various production technologies from an economic perspective.
Non-HEU Production Technologies for Molybdenum-99 and Technetium-99m
Initiated in March 2010 and published in February 2013. This report assesses non-HEU production technologies from technology readiness level (TRL) and manufacturing readiness level (MRL) perspectives. The work divides the technologies into four groups: reactor fission, reactor non-fission, accelerator fission and accelerator non-fission. The evaluations are evidence-based, and each technology is rated using a system based on the TRL and MRL systems used by NASA and other US organizations.
NE Series NF-T-5.4: Non-HEU Production Technologies for Molybdenum-99 and Technetium-99m.
The Working Group was launched in August 2010. This effort aims to identify areas of potential multilateral collaboration in support of HEU to LEU conversion at/by the current major producers: NTP, Covidien, AECL/Nordion, and IRE, whilst also realizing that processing technology is considered business confidential by all major producers. The group will support the consideration of LEU-based production by future producers such as the facility in Dimitrovgrad, Russia. A technical representative from NIIAR (Russian Federation) participated in the IWG kickoff meeting. Three areas of work were identified during the first meeting: high density, LEU target development, licensing support and commercial availability; front end, adaptive processing technology that will permit the use of the new targets with minimal required changes to existing process; and back-end technologies, including the consideration of U recovery and recycling. More information on these areas of work are available here.
Archived Mo-99 Meetings
Archived Mo-99 Papers and Presentations
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