Activities

R i GroupSecurity of Supply Working Group attending a meeting in Brussels on November 2014. From left to right: Fatih Gokduman (Monrol), Ira Goldman (LMI), Bernard Ponsard (SCK), Erwin Bachmohr (Mallinckrodt), Jocelyne Baldasso (AIPES), Mathilde Figon (GE HC), David Achiolas (IRE), Hans Hegeman (NRG), Franck Chopard (AREVA)

July 2012
Reactor schedulling approach: Some reactors have issued early July 2012 a first draft of their planned schedule of operation for 2013. This draft has been distributed to 8 reactor operators involved in RI production at the moment: HFR (Netherlands, OSIRIS (France), BR2 (Belgium), MARIA (Poland), LVR-15 (Czech Republic), SAFARI (South Africa), NRU (Canada) and OPAL (Australia).

Since major reactors require 2 long stops of 3-4 weeks for maintenance (usually at spring and summer), discussions are underway to check what is their flexibility at those critical periods. A meeting of AIPES “reactor and isotope” working group is scheduled by the end of September 2012 to establish the “best” preliminary global schedule. In the case the latter would exhibit no reactor operation at certain periods, reactor operators will try to adapt their schedule in order to fill the gaps. Final global schedule of reactors operation for 2013 will be issued in October 2012.Automatic word wrap
Any significant modification of reactor operation is immediately notified to AIPES’s Secretariat, which updates the global schedule and forwards it to all stake holders. From update 12 of global schedule for year 2012, issued 4 June 2012, does not exhibit major problems. However there might be 2 “weak” periods (weeks 46 and 50) for European processors since Mo-99 production requires 1 week target irradiation in a European reactor without interruption.

Reactor schedule communication: From a security stand point, the reactor operators request that communication of their operating schedule should be restricted to relevant stake holders only. This is acknowledged by AIPES who recalls this requirement in each email message pertaining to reactor schedules.Automatic word wrap
In order to obtain more relevant information on the status of the supply chain, the Mo-99 European Observatory has requested the AIPES “reactor and isotope” working group to complement the global reactor scheduling by corresponding Mo-99 potential capacity level in Europe. This work has not started yet.Automatic word wrap
Reactor global schedule is above all a tool for industry and operators, not directly useful the Nuclear Physicians, except for period when simultaneous long reactor outages (> 1 or 2 weeks) would obviously impact the RI supply chain.Automatic word wrap
Regarding information for the health community, it was acknowledged so far by AIPES that information on Tc99m availability should be forwarded by generator manufacturers since distribution relies not only on reactor operation but also on back-up agreements world wide. It is impossible for the “reactor & isotope” working group to determine where and when the produced Mo99 will be delivered under the form of a radio pharmaceutical due to the many players in the production and logistic chain. It is only the companies involved in the last step, the ultimate delivery to the end customer, that can provide the correct information to the health community. The “reactor & isotope” working group can only inform if there will be a general shortage or not, which will not be the case according to the latest planning.

July 2011
The goal of the R&I WG is to coordinate the operating schedules of the Reactors that produce isotopes in order to provide continuity of isotope supply. Mo99 is the most sensitive isotope because there is high demand for the production of Tc-99m and because both Mo-99 and Tc-99m have a short half life.Automatic word wrap
Supply problems can occur when there are unplanned stops at the Reactors, or in the Processing Facilities, or problems occur with regard to licensing or product distribution. On the positive side; the number of Reactors producing isotopes has increased in the last two years which adds to defense in depth and the coordination activities now involve all major global players. However, there still remains the risk of shortages from time to time as reserve production capacity is inevitably limited at some points in the year.Automatic word wrap
The coordination of the Reactor operators and the Processors for Mo99 was successfully performed by the R&I WG during the recent supply difficulties. The R&I WG also provided help and support to the AIPES Directorate in cooperative actions with DG Energy and the OECD/NEA.Automatic word wrap
Within a recent DG Energy workshop, AIPES concluded that it is important for the EU, the regulators and governments to realise the severity of the Reactor industry’s problems; the high level of costs involved and the organisational effort needed to overcome the structural problems of Mo-99 supply. The OECD/NEA High Level Group on Security of Radioisotope Supply has recently published it’s Final Report, which includes a 6-point Policy Initiative which is required to improving future security of supply. The OECD/NEA has also recently announced a further 2 year initiative on this subject. AIPES and the R&I WG will continue to play an important role as this develops in the future; with particular emphasis on the implementation of the Policy Initiatives.