Iran starts production of molybdenum-99 radioisotope

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Iranian authorities are launching a project to produce the molybdenum-99 radioisotope. This is stated in a statement by the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization (OAEI), published on Wednesday.

“The OAEI is starting to implement a national plan for the production of the molybdenum-99 radioisotope at the Research Institute of Nuclear Technologies for use in nuclear medicine,” the statement said. It is noted that “currently molybdenum-99 is imported into the country from abroad.”

Molybdenum-99 is an isotope that is actively used in nuclear medicine in the diagnosis of diseases.

On November 6, 2019, Iran, as part of the next phase of reducing its voluntary obligations under a nuclear deal, began pumping gas into centrifuges at a facility in Fordo. In this regard, the United States announced the restoration of sanctions on December 15 against this facility.

Against this background, on December 5, TVEL (part of the Rosatom state corporation) informed Tehran that it was suspending work on a project to modify two cascades of gas centrifuges in Fordo to produce stable isotopes for medical purposes.

The Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPO) formally concluded in 2015 does not prohibit Iran from producing medical and industrial radioisotopes. However, the actual compliance of the nuclear deal may depend on which technology Tehran uses.

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