Shortages of global supplies of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) and lutetium-177 (Lu-177) may be inevitable until approximately mid-February due to a recent shutdown of a nuclear reactor in Petten, the Netherlands, according to Nuclear Medicine Europe (NMEu).
On 20 January, the Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG) canceled its first planned cycle of 2022 at its High Flux Reactor (HFR) after discovering a water leak in the reactor beam tube cooling system. NRG reported that endoscopic piping inspections have been performed and provide a "strong indication" of the origin of the leak, according to NMEu.
NRG is considering different options for fixing the root cause of the leak and will work with the Dutch nuclear safety authority on an approach to restart the reactor, NMEu reported. No target date has been reported.
Meanwhile, Polish officials with the National Centre for Nuclear Research (NCBJ) reported they ramped up the Maria nuclear reactor in Świerk to fill the gap in Mo-99 production, yet the NMEu encouraged medical institutions to contact their radioisotope suppliers to determine the specific impact on their orders.
"Some shortages of Mo-99/Tc-99m will be inevitable until approximately a week after the BR2 resumes operations on [12 February]. Reports also indicated some impact on both Lu-177 and I-131 availability," NMEu said in a news release.
An update is expected on 7 February.