On February 25, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that the agency has authorized its staff to issue a construction permit for a first-of-a-kind facility dedicated to medical isotope production.
The Commission, having completed a mandatory hearing, found the staff’s review of the SHINE Medical Technologies, Inc. application sufficient to make the necessary safety and environmental findings. This will be the first construction permit issued for either a non-power utilization or production facility by the NRC since 1985.
Once issued, the construction permit will allow SHINE to build a facility for the production of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) and other radioisotopes. Mo-99 is used in medicine to create technetium- 99m—an isotope used in millions of diagnostic procedures annually in the United States.
The facility will be located in Janesville, Wisconsin—approximately 40 miles southeast of Madison. The United States has not commercially produced Mo-99 since 1989. The facility will support U.S. Government efforts to establish a reliable domestic supply of this isotope.
SHINE submitted its construction permit application in two parts on March 26, 2013 and May 31, 2013. The NRC staff’s construction permit review process included the examination of the preliminary design and environmental impacts of the SHINE facility.
The Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) conducted an independent review of SHINE’s preliminary safety analysis report and the staff’s safety evaluation. The ACRS, a group of experienced technical experts, advises the Commission—independently from the NRC staff—on safety issues related to the licensing and operation of nuclear power plants, as well as on issues of health physics and radiation protection.
On October 15, 2015, the ACRS recommended that the Commission issue the SHINE construction permit.
SHINE must submit a separate operating license application for NRC approval before it can operate the facility.
The operating license application will consist of a final safety analysis report including SHINE’s final facility design, plans for operation, emergency plan, physical security plan, and technical specifications.
For additional information, please contact Eric Stahl of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.