The use of medical radioisotopes is an important part of modern medical practice. Many millions of patients around the world benefit from nuclear medicine imaging. Medical radioisotopes are used in non-invasive diagnostic imaging techniques at an early stage, to help identify and stratify commonly occurring critical conditions such as heart disease and cancer. They are then used to track disease progression and provide predictive information about the likely success of different therapy options. This helps health care professionals to correctly manage disease and to make well-informed important medical decisions, such as therapeutic drug choice or surgical intervention.
In 2009, at the request of its member countries, the NEA became involved in global efforts to ensure a reliable supply of 99Mo and 99mTc and the NEA established the High-level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR). The HLG-MR comprised experts representing member states, the European Commission (Euratom Supply Agency) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The HLG-MR ran for four consecutive mandates and formally concluded its activities at the end of 2018. The NEA continues to monitor the status of the supply of medical radioisotopes through other programmes.
The goal of the Committee for Technical and Economic Studies on Nuclear Energy Development and the Fuel Cycle is to provide authoritative, reliable information on nuclear technologies, economics, strategies and resources to governments for use in policy analyses and decision-making.
The NEA established the High-level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR) in April 2009 to examine the underlying reasons for the global 2009-10 supply shortage and to develop a policy approach to ensure the long-term security of supply of molybdenum-99 (99Mo) and technetium-99m (99mTc).