South Africa nuclear
Featured image: Nuclear fuel rods

In the nuclear industry, NTP Radioisotopes SOC Ltd has commenced operation of its radiochemical production facility in South Africa.

The facility, which had been temporarily shut down, dispatched its first batch of nuclear medical radioisotopes yesterday (20 February).

NTP Radioisotopes, a subsidiary of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa), also reported that the batch for shipment to international customers had also commenced.

Global nuclear medicine market impacted

The restart of the production facility took longer than initially anticipated and has had a negative impact world-wide on the nuclear medical fraternity and industry at large.

The facility is now looking forward to supporting the nuclear medicine industry with the crucial radiochemical.

The nuclear medicine industry is underpinned largely by one single isotope, which is molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), a radiochemical produced by NTP Radioisotopes.The demand has significantly grown over the last decade. Image credit: Necsa

Necsa Group CEO, Phumzile Tshelane, said: “We remain eternally grateful to our customers in the United States, Europe, Japan, Middle East and South Africa who showed their unwavering support and wished us well.

“To all our stakeholders globally, who were affected, we thank you for your understanding and patience. Your empathy throughout this period is highly appreciated.”

Commenting on the management’s intervention, the Chairperson of the Necsa Board Dr Kelvin Kemm, expressed his appreciation to the Group CEO and the dedicated NTP team led by Group Executive and Acting MD for NTP, Thabo Tselane.

“Collectively they worked around the clock in tackling this extremely complex problem in the interest of ensuring our return to service and continuous supply of this life saving radiochemical,” said Kemm.

Safety comes first in nuclear industry

Tshelane reiterated, “Most importantly we wish to thank our dedicated staff members who worked throughout the nights and over weekends to ensure we find sustainable solutions to the challenges faced and for the continuous improvement to our systems.

“Necsa will continue to ensure that the Safety Culture is entrenched amongst all employees. We encourage and remind our employees that it must be SAFETY FIRST as they carry out their responsibilities in their respective areas of work [in the nuclear industry].”

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