Nuclear physicians warn of continued isotope shortage

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 26, 2010

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

After more than a year of repairs, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited will allow the National Research Universal reactor in Chalk River, Ontario, to restart production of the molybdenum-99 used in some medical scans by the end of July. The Society of Nuclear Medicine is warning, however, that this action will not solve continuing supply problems of the substance, which, because of its half-life, cannot be stockpiled.

"We are cautiously optimistic that NRU going back online will alleviate some of the most pressing concerns facing the nuclear medicine community," said Robert W. Atcher, PhD, chair of the organization's Domestic Isotope Availability Work Group and past president of the society.

The substance is used to diagnose some forms of heart disease, although it also can play a role in finding cancer and assessing the function of lungs, kidneys, the stomach and other organs. Supply shortages ensued when the reactor was shut down in May 2009 after a heavy water leak was discovered during a routine inspection. The only other reactors producing this substance also are outside the U.S., and the medical society is lobbying for domestic production of the isotope.

Note: This item originally appeared at

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn