Nuclear medicine facility under construction

Friday, 05 December, 2014

The first steps in the development of Australia’s new nuclear medicine manufacturing facility - the centrepiece of the ANSTO Nuclear Medicine (ANM) Project - are now complete.

Currently under construction at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s (ANSTO) Lucas Heights campus, the site has seen the bulk of the excavation work finalised, more than 1700 m3 of concrete poured and more than 200 tonnes of steel reinforcement in place. According to ANM Board Chairman Doug Cubbin, “The basement concrete has been poured on this project and we expect to be out of the ground early in 2015.”

Time-lapse footage of the first five months of construction.

ANSTO currently produces around 10,000 patient doses of nuclear medicines per week, but the finished facility will enable the organisation to significantly increase its production capabilities. It is expected to supply up to 25-30% of global demand of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) and its decay product technetium-99m (Tc-99m), ie, at least 10 million patient doses per annum.

“We expect that once operational it will deliver a medical dividend to the world and a financial dividend to Australia,” said Cubbin.

“Importantly, through this project, Australia will continue to produce nuclear medicine using low-enriched uranium, which is proliferation-proof, contributing significantly to regional nuclear security goals.”

Artist’s impression of the completed facility.

The facility is expected to be operational from late 2016. Cubbin said the project is currently “on schedule and budget”, noting, “We are confident the planned operational date will be achieved as our facility will use proven production methods already demonstrated at the scale we are building our facility for.”

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