Thursday 19 September 2019

New Petten reactor for medical isotopes gets financial backing

The existing reactor is due to close in 2025. Photo: Svdmolen via Wikimedia Commons

Work on a new reactor at the Petten nuclear plant dedicated to producing medical isotopes is due to begin in 2021 after the government announced it had secured financial backing.

The current reactor, which is 60 years old and owned by the European Commission, is due to be closed in 2025. The decision caused alarm in the medical community because Petten produces 30% of the global supplies of medical isotopes, which are used in the treatment of cancer and other serious diseases.

Heath minister Bruno Bruins wrote in a letter to parliament that a number of interested parties were prepared to finance the project, but did not disclose who they were.

‘There is still a lot of work to be done, but now that a number of private investors have come forward we can start work in earnest,’ he said. Bruins said a backup plan was being prepared ‘in the unexpected event that the interests of the state cannot be sufficiently safeguarded in the negotiations with private investors.’

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