Radiation Applications

Radioisotopes / European Industry Faces Challenges To Find Private Investment, Says Report

By David Dalton
14 December 2017

14 Dec (NucNet): Europe’s “strong international position” on the medical radioisotopes market is facing challenges, particularly in the form of new investment – preferably from the private sector – needed for ageing infrastructure, a report by the Nuclear Netherlands industry group says. The report says several European and non-European governments continue to subsidise different initiatives for Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) production, thus putting pressure on the business case for private investment. By continuing to grant subsidies, governments are showing their national strategies not to be in line with internationally agreed policies, which harms European providers on the international market, the report says. Worldwide, 48 million patient treatments a year depend on the delivery of radioisotopes produced by ageing reactor infrastructure. Building new irradiation infrastructure typically takes 10 years of design, construction and licensing if sufficient funds are available, the report says. This requires the” strong political commitment of several (consecutive) governments over a long period of time”. The report says it is vital for future private investors in the supply chain to be able to rely on a harmonised and synchronised European policy framework in nuclear medicine infrastructure. “This is a precondition for them to consider the significant investments that are required.” The report also calls for a multi-year, multi-lateral R&D programme that supports the various stages of the development of new medicines. The Netherlands is the world’s largest supplier of Mo-99 and is “progressing well” with plans to build a new reactor facility for medical isotopes, known as Pallas, at the Petten site. Pallas will replace Petten’s existing high-flux reactor, or HFR, which has been in operation since 1961 and is reaching the end of its economic life. The report says the Dutch government has supported the Pallas initiative both financially – by providing loans for the preparatory phase – and politically. For the preparatory phase the Dutch government has already granted a loan of €80m ($89m). In 2012, the cost of the project was put at around €500m with the remaining capital to be raised from private investment. The report is online: http://bit.ly/2ASCEEM

Pen Use this content