SHINE Medical Technologies, Inc. announced today that Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) successfully demonstrated the production and separation of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) from uranium sulfate solution using a separation flow sheet designed by Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). This work is supported by the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative. This demonstration represents validation of SHINE’s technology in that it utilized both a low-enriched uranium solution and the process flows that will be used in the commercial operations of SHINE.
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The demonstration found that >97% of the Mo-99 produced was recovered in the separation process. This very positive result shows that SHINE’s target system can be used to produce and recover Mo-99 at extremely high efficiency. When combined with other elements of SHINE’s proprietary technology, the process will create medical isotopes in a much safer and more environmentally friendly way than is currently possible, while avoiding the use of highly enriched uranium.
Mo-99 is used in over 40 million medical imaging procedures each year, primarily in stress tests to detect heart disease and bone scans to determine the stage of cancer progression. Historically, most Mo-99 used in the U.S. has been produced in Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, and South Africa using highly-enriched uranium placed in high-power, nuclear research reactors. Both the Canadian and Dutch reactors are operating beyond their originally licensed life and unscheduled shutdowns of the reactors in 2009 and 2010 caused worldwide shortages of Mo-99, leading to the delay or cancellation of millions of medical procedures.
SHINE intends to produce Mo-99 without a nuclear reactor and without using highly-enriched uranium. Its production process will use a particle accelerator and target that generates hundreds of times less waste than current Mo-99 production methods. SHINE plans to produce at least one-half of the U.S. need for Mo-99 by 2016.
SHINE Medical Technologies is focused on developing a safe, efficient way to produce Mo-99 and other medical isotopes. It is located in Monona, Wisconsin, a suburb of Madison, and currently has approximately 25 employees. SHINE has been working on this project in partnership with the Morgridge Institute for Research, and has received support from Wisconsin Investment Partners, individual angel investors and Knox LLC. SHINE has obtained a site for its future production plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, and is currently moving through the regulatory approval process. SHINE is planning to have this plant operational in 2016. For more information, please visit: www.shinemed.com.