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Minister Kuipers of Health, Welfare and Sport announced today that there is full financing for the construction of the PALLAS-reactor in the North Holland town of Petten. This is a major step toward realising the new PALLAS-reactor in Petten. With this, the Netherlands will maintain its world position in the production of medical isotopes. Isotopes are essential ingredients for nuclear medicine, for diagnostics and therapy of patients with life-threatening diseases such as cancer.
Today, the High Flux Reactor started up after a maintenance shutdown and the production of medical isotopes resumed. During this maintenance shutdown, an anomaly was detected in the reactor basin. Safety is top priority and therefore additional investigations were carried out before restarting. This investigation showed that the reactor could be safely put into operation and with the permission granted by the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Authority (ANVS), the reactor resumed its social function today and over 30,000 patients worldwide can rely on medical isotopes from Petten every day.
In the past few years, the demand for irradiation services in the HFR has increased significantly. Especially in the beginning of 2023, the reactor in Petten produced record volumes of medical isotopes such as lutetium-177.
Today, Tractebel and NRG|PALLAS signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate to support the new-build of nuclear power plants in the Netherlands. The signing was held at the Embassy of Belgium in The Hague in the presence of the Belgian Ambassador Her Excellency Mrs Anick van Calster - on the sidelines of the Belgium - Netherlands Nuclear Summit. At the picture from left Joost van den Broek, director Consultancy & Services NRG|PALLAS, Bertholt Leeftink CEO NRG|PALLAS, Her Excellency Mrs Anick van Calste; Philippe Van Troeye, CEO, Tractebel; Denis Dumont, Chief Global Nuclear Officer, Tractebel.
There currently is a worldwide shortage of medical isotopes, due to lower available reactor capacity because of scheduled maintenance and temporary outages of one of the European reactors. The High Flux Reactor (HFR) in Petten therefore started up a day early after maintenance to increase the availability of medical isotopes.
Preparatory works to enable the realization of the construction of the PALLAS reactor have started. Work is currently underway to make the original access road to the Energy & Health Campus from the 1960s accessible. This temporary road will be made suitable for construction traffic for the PALLAS-reactor. The access road joins the Westerduinweg. During the construction of the steel sheet pile structure around the work site, the contractor KWS Infra will use innovative machinery that does not cause vibrations, thus minimizing inconvenience.
Minister Kuipers of Health, Welfare and Sport announced today, that money has been set aside for the construction of the PALLAS-reactor in Petten, North Holland, in the coming years. The ministry is reserving 30 million euros for the project this year and 129 million euros per year from next year.
NRG and Curium have signed a multi-year contract for the production of molybdenum-99, the starting material for technetium-99m (Tc-99m). Tc-99m is the most used isotope in nuclear medicine for diagnosing life-threatening diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, lung and brain disorders and cancer. With this renewed collaboration 30,000 patients a day can continue to rely on the Petten nuclear medicine manufacturing capabilities.
In December 2020 EDF (Électricité de France) and NRG have started a cooperation on the irradiation of containment tubes. Purpose of the irradiation is to gain knowledge on the behavior of containment tubes under operating conditions that are to be considered off normal. During the last 18 month all the preparations have been made in the concept design, final design and manufacturing of the irradiation facility.
From 21 to 28 June 2022, a team of seven international experts visited NRG's High Flux Reactor (HFR) in Petten on behalf of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The aim of this mission was to examine the way in which NRG manages the ageing of its installations. NRG celebrated the reactor's sixtieth anniversary last year, and of course ageing management is an important issue for a reactor of this age.
Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport Ernst Kuipers visited the Energy & Health Campus in Petten on 30 March. The minister spoke with medical experts and the management of NRG | PALLAS about the importance of medical isotope production, research and about the PALLAS-project. Special attention was paid to the development of new therapeutic isotopes and the collaboration with university medical centers.