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Shortage of medical isotopes ramps up after reactor closing

Wall Street Journal Health Blog, July 23, 2009
A global shortage of medical isotopes is expected to get worse in two weeks as supplies run down after nuclear reactor closings. The Petten nuclear reactor in the Netherlands closed for scheduled maintenance. Together with a Canadian reactor in Chalk River, Ontario, that was shut down in May because of a leak, the idled reactors account for two-thirds of the world's supply of molybdenum-99. In response to the shutdown of the Canadian reactor, the Society of Nuclear Medicine reported in June that 91% of 375 surveyed members had been affected, with 60% of doctors postponing procedures and 31% canceling some.