May 21, 2015 – Monona, WI – SHINE Medical Technologies, a Wisconsin-based company dedicated to being the world leader in safe, clean, affordable production of medical isotopes, announced today that the Company’s primary regulator, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), has released for public review and comment the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the SHINE medical isotope production facility in Janesville, WI. The draft EIS provides an analysis of the environmental, social and economic impacts of the proposed facility. The NRC staff’s preliminary recommendation is that SHINE be issued a permit to construct its facility, pending satisfactory completion of the NRC’s safety review. The new manufacturing plant is expected to begin commercial production in 2018 will produce more than a quarter of world supply of the most commonly-used isotope in nuclear medicine, molybdenum-99.
“Publication of the draft EIS is a major step toward getting our construction permit,” said Greg Piefer, CEO of SHINE. “The document represents over three years of work by both SHINE and the NRC. The report indicates the plant will provide a number of benefits including increased availability of medical isotopes, HEU minimization, and economic impact—all this while having only a minimal environmental impact. Developing an environmentally friendly operation has been a focus of SHINE since our inception and we’re thrilled with the NRC’s preliminary environmental recommendation.”
Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) is a radioisotope that decays into the diagnostic imaging agent technetium-99m (Tc-99m). Tc-99m’s extraordinary attributes make it the most commonly-used medical isotope on the planet. It is used in over 80,000 medical imaging procedures every day to diagnose and stage a wide variety of diseases, including heart disease and cancer.
Despite constituting approximately half of the world’s demand for Mo-99, the U.S. does not produce any Mo‑99 domestically and imports 100 percent of its supply from foreign nuclear reactors. The majority of these reactors are beyond their original design life and scheduled to be shut down in the coming years. Previous outages of these aging facilities have caused major isotope shortages, significantly impacting patient care.
In 2012, Congress passed the American Medical Isotopes Production Act to improve the reliability of U.S. medical isotope supply by supporting domestic projects that can produce Mo‑99 without the use of weapons-grade uranium.