The future of medical radioisotope supply
The NEA and its High-level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR) have been actively examining the causes of supply shortages of the most widely used isotope in medical diagnostic imaging, technetium-99m (99mTc), and its parent isotope molybdenum-99 (99Mo). As a result of this examination, the HLG-MR has developed a policy approach that includes principles and supporting recommendations to address the causes of these supply shortages. Six policy principles were agreed by the HLG-MR in March 2011. These are implementation of full-cost recovery and outage reserve capacity (ORC) for 99Mo production, a government role in the market, conversion to low-enriched uranium targets, international collaboration and periodic reviews of the supply chain. This article describes progress made in the implementation of the six principles and examines the projected global capacity for medical radioisotope production in the near future.
Joint declaration on the security of supply of medical radioisotopes
In January 2014, during the meeting of the High-level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR), the Nuclear Energy Agency was asked to develop a more formal statement of commitment to the six policy principles mentioned on page 4. The concept of a joint declaration was proposed and a consensus document, the Joint Declaration on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes ("Joint Declaration") was developed. This Joint Declaration now has the formal support of 11 governments and was published by the NEA on 17 December 2014, sending a strong signal to the supply chain regarding the intentions of governments to take co-ordinated action in order to ensure the long-term reliability of supply of important medical radioisotopes. The Joint Declaration, reprinted below, remains open for adhesion by those HLG-MR participating countries that have yet to adhere, or by any other country that wishes to do so.
Radiation and thyroid cancer
An International Workshop on Radiation and Thyroid Cancer took place on 21-23 February 2014 in Tokyo, Japan, to support the efforts of the Fukushima Prefecture and the Japanese government in enhancing public health measures following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in March 2011. The workshop, which was designed to develop a state-of-the-art scientific understanding of thyroid cancer in children and of radiation-induced thyroid cancer (papillary carcinoma) in particular, was co-organised by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment (MOE), the Fukushima Medical University (FMU) and the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA). It brought together the world's top experts in the field, including medical doctors, epidemiologists and radiological risk assessment specialists from ten countries.
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident: Update on compensation
In the three years since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (NPP) accident, the international community has gained perspective on the implementation of the Japanese nuclear liability regime, which ref lects internationally accepted nuclear liability principles.1 Soon after the emergency, the operator of the damaged nuclear power plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), and public authorities in Japan established the basic procedures required to compensate victims for damage incurred due to the accident. Since March 2011, these procedures have been adapted to allow the processing of a large number of applications for compensation within a reasonable amount of time.