Report: ANSTO readies price hikes for isotopes

2018 07 20 22 27 4483 Australian Flag 400

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) is rolling out price increases between 3% and 9% for its medical isotopes, according to a 25 July report in the Australian.

It was just last month that ANSTO received a license to begin full production of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) at its new nuclear facility. The facility has been manufacturing Mo-99 on a limited basis since April in lieu of the license.

The report quoted an ANSTO spokesman as saying, "The increases are modest, proportional, and reflect the ongoing cost to effectively deliver secure supplies of nuclear medicine. We are consulting with the nuclear medicine community about these changes. Where concerns have been raised, we will work through them with customers who have their own commercial imperatives."

The Australian also reported that some ANSTO customers have asked Karen Andrews, the country's Industry, Science, and Technology Minister, to intervene in the situation.

The price hikes come in the wake of production challenges and downtime for ANSTO over the last several years. Australia was forced to import technetium generators for several months a year ago, when a mechanical problem with a conveyor belt at the Open Pool Australian Lightwater (OPAL) reactor caused ANSTO to stop Mo-99 production and halt shipments of the isotope in June 2018. The import of the generators continued into August 2018.

Earlier this month, it was reported that three ANSTO employees were exposed to radiation at its nuclear medicine production facility in New South Wales. Two workers received radiation doses approximately two to three times above the annual dose limit, which is equivalent to a radiation therapy treatment.

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