WASHINGTON, DC – Dr. Parrish Staples, the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) Director of European and African Threat Reduction, today testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment on NNSA's role in efforts to address the shortage of critical medical isotopes. Through its Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI), NNSA is working to minimize and, to the extent possible, eliminate the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in civilian nuclear applications, including in the production of medical radioisotopes.
Staples testified on the role the American Medical Isotopes Production Act of 2009 can play in advancing progress on the dual U.S. policy priorities of establishing a secure supply of critical medical isotopes for U.S. citizens, and promoting President Obama's unprecedented nuclear nonproliferation agenda by minimizing the civilian use of proliferation-sensitive HEU around the globe.
Speaking before the Committee, Staples said, "NNSA is currently developing projects to accelerate the establishment of domestic commercial sources of Mo-99 without the use of HEU. NNSA is working on several Cooperative Agreements to potential commercial Mo-99 producers, whose projects are in the most advanced stages of development, accelerating their efforts to begin producing Mo-99 in quantities adequate to the U.S. medical community's demand by the end of 2013. These commercial producers each use a different non-HEU technology, in support of our strategy to diversify the supply chain and move away from reliance on a sole technology and a limited number of facilities, such as used by today's foreign producers."
"We intend to spend approximately $30 million annually to establish a non-HEU domestic Mo-99 production process and funding for this effort would come from within the Global Threat Reduction Initiative budget," said Staples.
To read Staples' full statement before the Committee, click here:
For a fact sheet on NNSA efforts to address the medical isotope shortage, click here:
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