Private finance avoids the Petten project on medical isotopes



Photo: Svdmolen via Wikimedia Commons

Attempts to find private funding to build a new nuclear reactor in the Netherlands for the production of medical isotopes have failed, Health Minister Tamara van Ark told MPs.

The minister said that “at this time” she saw no option to secure private funding for the Pallas project, which was the government’s intention.

The current Petten reactor at Noord Holland is 60 years old and is now nearing the end of its life.

Petten produces 30% of global supplies and 70% of European supplies of medical isotopes, which are used in the treatment of cancer and other serious diseases.

The Dutch government decided in 2012 that the current reactor should be replaced and preparations for the new reactor, known as Pallas, are underway.

The government has so far invested 148 million euros in the project and has granted an additional 18 million euros credit guarantee to the project while a financial decision is made on the way forward.

“The additional loan allows Pallas to continue working on finalizing the basic reactor design, applying for various permits and preparing for construction,” the organization said.

One option, Van Ark said, could be offered by the US company Shine, which is working on a new method of producing medical isotopes and also considering setting up a production site in Groningen. However, it will probably be in a few years.

Van Ark has said she hopes a decision can be made in the spring of 2021.

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