The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran launched a national project to produce molybdenum-99, a radioisotope used to make radiopharmaceuticals.
The major national project is being jointly carried out by the Iranian Vice Presidency for Science and Technology, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Nuclear Science and Technologies Research Center, and Pars Isotope Company.
In the first phase of the project, local researchers would gain the technical know-how to design and manufacture a semi-industrial line to produce molybdenum-99 medical isotopes within two years.
Molybdenum-99 is used as a parent radioisotope to produce technetium-99m, the most widely used radioisotope in Iran and the world that is the basis of approximately 70 percent of all radioactive materials used to produce radiopharmaceuticals.
Iran is currently importing the frequently used radioisotope from abroad, but completion of the national project is expected to make the country self-sufficient in the production of Mo-99, save millions of dollars in expenses every year, and even turn Iran into an exporter of the radioactive material.
The Nuclear Science and Technologies Research Center of Iran has already produced 15 radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures and for research and development.