While Moly-99's short half-life makes it well-suited for the medical industry, it also means the isotope cannot be stockpiled. One reactor's unplanned outage quickly translates into a supply shortage for Technetium-99m patients, delaying urgently needed diagnoses.
To help meet this demand, Eden has exclusively licensed a patented reactor technology from Sandia National Laboratories to make Moly-99 in large quantities. Dick Coats, Ph.D., Eden's Chief Technology Officer and retired Sandian, helped develop Eden's Moly-99 reactor based on technology he helped research in the DOE-funded Sandia medical isotope production program of the late 1990s. Dr. Coats comments, "Eden's reactor has an all-target, variable-size core of low-enriched uranium which only requires maintenance downtime measured in hours, not days. Should demand require it, the entire reactor core of Moly-99 targets could be processed, generating more than 10,000 Curies of Moly-99 per week, making Eden's small 2MW reactor unique." Coats notes, "For comparison, the Eden reactor is similar in size of the research reactors on many university campuses in the US today."
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"Larger reactors, from 10MW to 200MW, aren't cost-effective for medical isotope production. Their purpose is for a multitude of research and happen to also make medical isotopes. When you add in fuel costs, downtime, maintenance, personnel and simultaneous large-scale operations, a typical reactor operator cannot make money on medical isotopes alone," comments Coats. "I've been involved with reactors my entire career. There has never been a reactor system designed just to make Moly-99 and other medical isotopes. Our efficiency drives our economy," said Coats.
Wagner says, "We feel that with proven reactor and Moly-99 target technology, Eden has the most potential for success in the market." Eden anticipates entering production in four years with plans to build their facility in New Mexico, which has a workforce familiar with nuclear activities due to nearby Sandia & Los Alamos National Laboratories and URENCO USA's uranium enrichment facility. Eden will employ approximately 100 people.
About Eden Radioisotopes, LLC (Eden)
Eden is leveraging science and innovation developed by Sandia National Laboratories to build a 2MW reactor in New Mexico for the production of medical isotopes for diagnostic molecular imaging and therapeutic uses. Eden is committed to providing a reliable supply of medical isotopes such as Molybdenum-99 for healthcare patients worldwide.