Petten nuclear reactor reopens

The nuclear reactor at Petten will be restarted on Wednesday afternoon, bringing an end to the threat of a shortage of medical isotopes used for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancer.


Fred Verzijlbergen of the Dutch society of nuclear medicine told news agency Novum that sufficient supplies of isotopes from other reactors would be delivered on Friday. ‘This keeps us stocked until next Wednesday or Thursday when production at Petten can begin,’ he said.
The facility was closed down in August 2008 for safety reasons and was due to reopen in November following repairs to the water cooling system.
Petten produces one-third of the world’s medical isotopes and is just one of four nuclear reactors supplying the pharmaceutical sector. The others are in France, Belgium, Canada and South Africa.