National Nuclear Security Administration

NNSA Administrator attends groundbreaking for molybdenum-99 production facility in Wisconsin

May 9, 2019

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Domestic production of the critical medical isotope is a ‘win-win’ for national security and the healthcare industry

WASHINGTON – The head of the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) attended a groundbreaking ceremony today for a new molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) production facility in Janesville, Wisconsin.

Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator, joined federal, state, and local officials as SHINE Medical Technologies began work on a facility to produce the vital medical isotope without the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU).  

“Today’s groundbreaking is a win-win for our national security and the healthcare industry,” Administrator Gordon-Hagerty said. “Domestic production of ‘Moly-99’ without HEU reduces global proliferation threats and ensures a reliable supply to healthcare providers who need it every single day for diagnostic medical procedures.”

Mo-99 is used in over 40,000 procedures in the United States every day to diagnose heart disease and cancer, to study organ structure and function, and for other important medical applications. For the past three decades, the United States has been entirely dependent on international producers for its Mo-99 supply.

Through cooperative agreements with industry, DOE/NNSA is supporting the establishment of a redundant, reliable supply of Mo-99 produced in the United States without the use of HEU.

DOE/NNSA supported SHINE with a $25 million cooperative agreement. Industry partners must match any funding amount. SHINE was also recently selected with three other U.S. companies to begin negotiations for another award of up to $15 million to continue efforts to accelerate the establishment of a domestic supply of Mo-99.

The American Medical Isotopes Production Act of 2012 directed DOE/NNSA to implement a technology-neutral program, in cooperation with non-Federal entities. A technology-neutral program is open to all methods of producing Mo-99 without using HEU.

Learn more about DOE/NNSA’s efforts to establish a reliable supply of Mo‑99 without the use of HEU.