U.S. Produces Enough Medical Isotope Without Using Highly Enriched Uranium

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Landmark Certification Demonstrates Success in Producing Molybdenum-99 Without Use of Proliferation-Sensitive Highly Enriched Uranium

by Department of Energy/Energy.gov

WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra jointly certified that there is now enough worldwide supply of the medical isotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) made without using highly enriched uranium (HEU) to meet the needs of patients in the United States. This certification paves the way for a nuclear nonproliferation milestone and supports U.S. companies by triggering a congressionally mandated ban on exports of HEU for foreign medical isotope production. HEU is a proliferation-sensitive material that, if diverted or stolen, could be used as a component of a nuclear weapon.

“Doctors and patients across the globe can be confident that the critical medical isotope Mo-99 will be there when they need it, and we can provide that assurance without making any further exports of highly enriched uranium,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Today’s certification is another example of DOE’s world-leading expertise creating win-win outcomes that make the world safer while advancing jobs, improving health care and increasing the quality of life here at home.”

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