Publication Laka-library:
Nuclear Medicine's Double Hazard. Imperiled Treatment and the Risk of Terrorism

AuthorC.Hansell
6-07-4-60-47.pdf
DateJuly 2008
Classification 6.07.4.60/47 (MISCELLANEOUS - RADIO ISOTOPES - NUCLEAR MEDICINE / MEDICAL APPLICATIONS )
Front

From the publication:

NUCLEAR MEDICINE’S DOUBLE HAZARD
Imperiled Treatment and the Risk of Terrorism
Cristina Hansell

Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 15, No. 2, July 2008

This article examines the production of metastable technetium-99 (Tc-99m), the 
world’s most important radiopharmaceutical, focusing on reliability of supply and 
risks of nuclear terrorism.
Only four producers manufactured about 95 percent of the world’s Tc-99m; a closure 
of any of them could cause worldwide shortfalls. Moreover, all four employ highly 
enriched uranium in their production process, in a form relatively easy to convert 
into the metal needed for a nuclear bomb.
The technology to employ low-enriched uranium (LEU)*not usable in weapons* to produce
Tc-99m is proven, available, and has been used by smaller producers. However, political
determination and sufficient funding are needed to convert the major producers’ isotope
production to LEU and encourage new LEU-based production. Such efforts are needed to 
ensure supplies and reduce security risks.

KEYWORDS: Nuclear terrorism; highly enriched uranium; low-enriched uranium;
nuclear reactor; molybdenum-99; technetium-99m; medical isotopes