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Australia’s new nuclear medicine production facility taking shape

February 2, 2015 • News

The construction of Australia’s new nuclear medicine production facility is well underway, with the bulk of the excavation work finalised, more than 1900m3 of concrete poured, and more than 350 tonnes of steel reinforcement already in place.

Australia’s new nuclear medicine production facility taking shape

Artist’s impression of the completed nuclear medicine production facility
Image credit: ww.ansto.gov.au

The ANSTO Nuclear Medicine (ANM) project, which represents a $168.8 million investment by the Australian Government, will help Australia secure continued supplies of nuclear medicines for both the domestic and international markets and position the country as a global leader in the manufacture of nuclear medicine.

The project includes the construction of an export scale nuclear medicine manufacturing plant as well an innovative Synroc waste treatment plant that will provide the country with a permanent, safe and economical way of treating waste from past, current and future manufacture of nuclear medicines.

Located in the heart of the Sutherland Shire in Sydney, the plant will manufacture the most common radionuclide used in nuclear medicine, Molybdenum-99, which is used in hospitals and medical centres to make Technetium-99 (Tc-99m) – the most widely-used radioisotope in nuclear medicine.

Currently ANSTO produces around 10,000 patient doses of nuclear medicines per week which is distributed to more than 250 hospitals and nuclear medicine centres across Australia, as well as shipping internationally.

According to the press release by ANSTO, Australia’s new Mo-99 manufacturing plant will have the capacity to supply up to 25-30% of the global demand, which is estimated to be approximately 40 million patient doses per annum.

“We are part way through the phased process of pouring the basement concrete on this project. The ground floor will be finalised over the coming months. Our project remains on schedule and budget. We are confident the planned operational date is achievable as our facility will use proven production methods already demonstrated at the scale we are building our facility for,” said ANM Board Chairman, Doug Cubbin.

“We expect that once operational it will deliver a medical dividend to the world, and a financial dividend to Australia. Importantly, through this project, Australia will continue to produce nuclear medicine using Low-Enriched Uranium, which is proliferation-proof – contributing significantly to regional nuclear security goals.”

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