NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, Beloit, Wis., finished building a factory to produce, without the use of highly enriched uranium, the medically usable isotope Molybdenum-99, the National Nuclear Security Administration said Monday.
NorthStar is one of several U.S. companies that have gotten money from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to expand domestic production of the isotope, which decays into the gamma-emitting Technetium-99. The latter is used for medical imaging.
As part of a nonproliferation effort, the Department of Energy this year ceased exporting highly enriched uranium (HEU) to foreign producers of Molybdenum-99. Through the NNSA, DOE has been trying to jumpstart a domestic medial isotope industry that does not rely on HEU.
Belgium’s Institute for Radioelements in Fleurus, Belgium, was among the main beneficiaries of the international Molybdenum-99 trade.