The Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG) in the Netherlands said on 18 March that, from now on, the High Flux Reactor (HFR) in Petten will only produce medical isotopes using low enriched uranium (LEU). Until recently, production for NRG's Belgian partner IRE was still based on highly enriched uranium (HEU), because IRE could not fully process low-enriched uranium. However, IRE has now partially converted its chemical process to LEU allowing NRG to take the final step and end the use of HEU in the HFR.
Every day, 30,000 patients worldwide are treated with medical isotopes from the Petten reactor. In 2006 the reactor switched from HEU to LEU fuel. In 2018, NRG, together with Curium, took the step to also convert the molybdenum-99 production process in the Pettense Molybdenum Production Facility (MPF) to LEU. "We are extremely pleased that the final step has been taken with this and that our partners no longer need highly enriched uranium for the production of medical isotopes from the HFR," said Vinod Ramnandanlal Commercial Director NRG. "In fact, in this way we achieve a kind of non-proliferation quality mark for medical isotopes."
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Source: Nuclear Engineering International Magazine