Mo-99 production is one the largest and most complex radiopharmaceutical undertakings in the United States (U.S.).
NWMI is designing, licensing, constructing, and will operate a radioisotope production capability that will support target fabrication, recovery and purification of the 99Mo product from irradiated LEU targets, and uranium recovery and recycle to produce 99Mo.
NWMI is continuing to complete research and development on the radioisotope production facility (RPF) technologies and will compete development and licensing of the required irradiation and transport systems necessary to support RPF operations.
NWMI has established a network of domestic university research reactors to irradiate the LEU targets. A significant advantage of the
NWMI approach is the use a network of existing university research reactors to perform irradiation services. This approach will eliminate the shortages in the current international supply chain, provide reactor network reliability, and significantly reduce initial capital costs. The network of research reactors currently includes University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR) and Oregon State University (OSU)
TRIGA Reactor (OSTR). Significant analyses and evaluation have been performed at both of these research reactor facilities. The network could expand with additional reactors similar in design to OSTR. The challenges of the project go beyond size and complexity.
The challenges to produce a reliable and sustainable 99Mo capacity include maintaining a long-term commitment to selected technologies, and the logical, step-by-step demonstration and safe application of those technologies to produce 99Mo in the NWMI RPF on a weekly basis. To help address these challenges, NWMI, along with our primary subcontractors has one of the most experienced nuclear design and construction teams in the U.S. Our experience spans the complete range of nuclear facility technical challenges – from engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning, to nuclear operations, and eventual decommissioning. NWMI team members and personnel have been involved in the design, construction, commissioning, and operations of both U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)-regulated facilities in the U.S. and similar facilities in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Our experience and proven performance will keep challenges from becoming issues that prevent us from constructing and operating the RPF.
The NWMI project strategy is founded on credible plans based on proven results obtained to date, executed by action-oriented management, and driven by performance measurement. NWMI has developed a project to deliver more than 3,000 6‑day curies (Ci) of 99Mo by late 2022.
Our implementation strategy is built on four primary principles.
1. 99Mo Delivery/performance assurance – NWM has made a significant investment in the domestic production of 99Mo technologies, services, and approaches. We have embraced this challenge and will safely apply our technical and project expertise to ensure project success.
2. Exceeding regulatory requirements – Our regulatory strategy is flexible and includes contingency plans if any licensing or permitting approvals are delayed.
3. Environmental Safety and Health excellence – The protection of workers, public, and the environment is our greatest challenge and responsibility. Since high-hazard activities will be a daily occurrence, we enforce a rigid nuclear safety culture to ensure that all RPF operations, irradiation services, transportation, etc. are performed safely and effectively, as a way of life.
4. Proven technology application – Our process technologies are robust, mature, and fully demonstrated for the production of 99Mo.