Rosenergoatom will increase the production of medical isotopes at the Leningrad NPP by 60% in 2023

Despite external restrictions, the domestic economy is increasing its export potential, delivering goods, services and raw materials around the world. Rosenergoatom (Electric Power Division of Rosatom State Corporation) is expanding the range of production of radioactive isotopes at nuclear power plants.

In the near future, the production of the radioactive isotope samarium-153 will be launched for the first time at the Leningrad NPP. Radiopharmaceuticals based on samarium-153 are widely used in nuclear medicine to reduce pain in bone metastases to provide palliative care to cancer patients, as well as in traumatology for chronic diseases of the musculoskeletal system.

An appropriate license has already been received for the production of the new isotope, and the channels of the reactor of power unit No. 4 of the Leningrad NPP have been re-profiled - two additional irradiation channels have been put into operation there, which will allow Rosenergoatom not only to produce a new isotope of samarium-153, but also to increase the already mastered production of iodine-131.

Previously, the range of isotopes produced at the nuclear power plant consisted of cobalt-60, used in industry, and medical iodine-125, iodine-131 and molybdenum-99, used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. For example, Co-60 is widely used for the sterilization of medical devices and materials, as well as for extending the shelf life and disinfection of food products, modifying the polymer properties of materials, and solving environmental issues. Iodine-131 is used for the production of radiopharmaceuticals for the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid cancer. Diagnostic isotope - molybdenum-99 (technetium-99m) is used for examinations in hospitals by scintigraphy and single photon tomography.

“Today, the Russian industry has the goal of providing technological sovereignty and transition to the latest technologies as soon as possible. We have done a lot of hard work to increase production capacity, obtained a justification for the safety of operating reactor units of power units during irradiation of starting materials for the production of medical isotopes, supplied equipment, and redesigned channels - all this will allow us to increase the volume and expand the range of isotope products for the production of diagnostic and therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals for Russian and foreign markets,” said Nikita Konstantinov, deputy general director, business development director.

It should be reminded that Rosenergoatom is currently one of the key producers of medical radioisotopes for the Russian market. The generating company produces more than 20% of the world's cobalt-60 consumption in nuclear power reactors.

In the near future, already in July of this year, two more irradiation channels will appear at power unit No. 3 of the Leningrad NPP, which will increase the possibility of producing the most demanded medical isotopes by Rosenergoatom by 60%.

Besides, by the end of 2023, the Leningrad NPP plans to introduce into production another new isotope, lutetium-177, which demonstrates high efficiency in the diagnosis and targeted therapy of a number of oncological diseases.

Following the Leningrad NPP, the isotope production technology is already being tested at the Kursk and Smolensk nuclear power plants.

The development of radiation technologies today is one of the strategic goals of Rosatom. The market for the development of such technologies in the future is estimated by business experts to be comparable to the nuclear energy market: these are modern diagnostics in medicine, transport security systems, new water, and air purification facilities, microelectronics, light industry, metallurgy, and many other areas.

For reference:

The official supplier of the products of the isotope complex of the State Corporation Rosatom to the international market and the key supplier of radiopharmaceuticals to the domestic market is Isotope JSC. Among the partners of Isotope JSC there are 170 foreign companies located in 50 countries of the world, and about 600 organizations in Russia, including medical institutions, industrial enterprises, and scientific organizations.

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