BR2’s Radioisotopes Helped More Than 10 Millions Patients in 2021

In 2021, more than 10 million patients were helped thanks to the production of medical radioisotopes in the Belgian research reactor BR2, as reported the Belgian nuclear research centre SCK CEN (ENS Corporate Member).

At each operating cycle, it provides the necessary raw materials used to diagnose at least one million patients and to treat at least 3,000 cancer patients.

says Sven Van den Berghe, Director of Nuclear Materials Science at SCK CEN. Moreover, the BR2 versatility and flexibility allow operators to fill the reactor’s irradiation channels differently, so to meet pressing demands, he added.

Typically, BR2 produces 10 to 15 different radioisotopes per operating cycle.

The main two, taking up the largest part of the production, are molybdenum-99 and lutetium-177. Molybdenum-99 is the source of the major diagnostic radioisotope technetium-99m, which is used to detect cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. Lutetium-177 is a radioisotope used in the fight against prostate cancer and dozens of other applications in the near future.

Read the full SCK CEN Press Release.

The European Nuclear Society recently organised the webinar “Radioisotopes for life. Ensuring European supply – Stakeholders and opportunities”, in collaboration with Euratom Supply AgencySCK CEN (both ENS Members), PALLAS and the EU Commission DG ENER.

Presentations ranged from the European Observatory on the Supply of Medical Radioisotopes to the SAMIRA Action Plan and the European Radioisotope Valley Initiative. The discussion then moved to the current activities of an operating research reactor producing these life-savings radioisotopes (BR2 – SCK CEN) and to the future project for a new facility (PALLAS reactor).

Following the profitable exchange of inspiring ideas and experiences, all the guests stressed again the crucial role those medical radioisotopes play in beating cancer and on the necessity to secure reliable, stable production and supply chain for the future.

Read the webinar’s summary and watch the recording on ENS YouTube Channel.