by Brendon Nafziger
, DOTmed News Associate Editor | September 09, 2010
As of this afternoon, the High Flux reactor in Petten, Netherlands is running again at full nominal power after being offline for months of repairs.
The Nuclear Research and consultancy Group, which runs the plant, said it had wrapped up safety inspections of the medical isotope-producing workhorse, including a five-day containment test to search for leaks.
The NRG said the plant can again resume producing molybdenum-99, the parent isotope of technetium-99m, widely used in nuclear medicine exams. The reactor is responsible for meeting close to 60 percent of European demand for the isotopes, the group said.
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The High Flux reactor had been offline since February to fix leaks in the cooling pipework, which were discovered in August 2008. Work on the plant coincided with the shut down of the National Research Universal reactor in Chalk River, Ontario, another globally important medical isotope producer. The temporary downing of the two plants disrupted the supply chain of the isotopes, causing thousands of nuclear medical exams to be delayed and boosting the price of the isotopes, according to reports.