South African company delivers Mo-99 produced with LEU

NTP Radioisotopes, a subsidiary of South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa), delivered to the United States the first batch of Mo-99 produced with low-enriched uranium. The delivery was reported to be completed on July 21, 2010.

The material was produced at the Safari-1 reactor located at the Pelindaba research center. Safari-1 is a light-water "tank-in-pool" reactor that operated at power level of 20MW. The design is similar to that of the ORR reactor in Oak Ridge. Safari-1 historically used HEU fuel with enrichment of 90% and 45%. Mo-99 production traditionally involved irradiation of targets that contain HEU with enrichment of 45%.

UPDATE 09/13/10: The Safari-1 reactor was converted to LEU fuel in June 2009. The operators also completed conversion of targets and radiochemical processes to LEU and are awaiting final approval from medical regulators. The U.S. shipment is apparently part of this approval process.