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Hot cells ANM facility

Nuclear medicine production at ANSTO

Ongoing media statements relating to nuclear medicine production.

The latest customer updates on supply of technetium-99m, generator distribution schedules and status of repairs to (ANM) ANSTO's nuclear medicine facility. 

Statement as of 12:00pm on Friday 13 September

ANSTO today provided an update on the process to identify and address the issue impacting on the production of the nuclear medicine known as molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) from next week.

The following can be attributed to an ANSTO spokesperson:

“ANSTO has four teams working in parallel to progress options to rectify the issue, and a fifth in daily contact with international partners to source medicine from overseas,” said the spokesperson.

“In terms of progress, we are currently removing irradiated material from inside what is known as a dissolution cell. The valve that is causing the problem is at the top of this cell.

“This needs to be done safely and methodically, and in close consultation with the nuclear regulator, ARPANSA. After removal of the material we can continue works on the repairs to the valve in question.

“ANSTO negotiated limited supply of medicine from international suppliers which will be available from next week for three weeks, and are in the process of negotiating more including for over the longer term.

“And we are working with federal authorities, the states and the nuclear medicine community to ensure that the medicine we obtain can make it into clinical settings as soon as it is cleared to do so.

“We thank the nuclear medicine community, and in particular the Nuclear Medicine Working Group, who are helping ensure that the reduced amount of nuclear medicine gets to areas needed most.

“And we apologise to everyone who has been impacted by this issue, and assure them there are many people working across the country and the world to minimise that impact.”

Statement as of 3.30pm on Thursday 12 September

The following can be attributed to an ANSTO spokesperson: 

“After working with our international partners, ANSTO can confirm we will be able to supply a limited amount of the nuclear medicine known as molybdenum-99 from next week,” said the spokesperson. 

“We expect that the amounts from overseas will gradually increase over the next three weeks, starting with 10 per cent of normal supply from next week and working up to around a third of normal supply by early next month. We will have more information at that point. 

“ANSTO will continue to work with the Nuclear Medicine Working Group (NMWG) to assign the supplies of nuclear medicine in a way that minimises impact on Australian patients. Details are in the statement below. 

“Both investigations and work are continuing to safely progress mechanical repairs within ANSTO’s ANM facility.” 

Statement as of 9:00am on Thursday 12 September

The following can be attributed to an ANSTO spokesperson: 

“ANSTO has temporarily ceased manufacture of the nuclear medicine known as molybdenum-99 in our ANM manufacturing facility after a fault was detected with a valve last Friday,” the spokesperson said. 

“There are no safety implications, and supply of the medicine we had already made was distributed on Monday to Australian hospitals and nuclear medicine clinics. 

“Given that production has temporarily ceased, impacts on the future availability of nuclear medicine are expected. 

“A nuclear medicine working group, which comprises key groups within the nuclear medicine community, has been formed and is making recommendations on how to distribute existing supplies most equitably. 

“ANSTO is also reaching out to international partners to explore the possibility of importing medicine whilst repairs are being undertaken. 

“ANSTO is working with people who designed and constructed the nuclear medicine facility to fully understand the cause of the mechanical defect, and safely rectify the issue. 

“Manufacturing will resume after the fault is safely and properly rectified. We will keep the regulator and nuclear medicine community informed as we work to rectify this issue.

“ANSTO would like to acknowledge the support of the members of the Nuclear Medicine Working Group with representation from RAINS, ANZSNM, AANMS, NSW Health and GMS.” 

Media Contact: Phil McCall 0438 619 987


Media release