The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) has launched an AU$30 million (18 million euros) project to design a new nuclear medicine isotope manufacturing facility to replace its existing facility at Lucas Heights in Sydney.
The ANSTO said the existing facility is nearing the end of its life. The funds will get the project off the ground, but collaborations with industry partners may be needed to complete it, according to government officials.
"We've laid the foundations for this facility, with private sector collaboration important to now realize its full benefits," said Australian Finance Minister Simon Birmingham in a media release.
The Lucas Heights facility has been experiencing production woes for the past few years. The ANSTO has been forced to curtail production of molybdenum-99 due to mechanical problems and failures to pass quality control inspections.
The ANSTO produces between 10,000 and 12,000 potential patient doses of nuclear medicine weekly and supports nearly 1,000 highly skilled jobs across the country, the organization said.