The World’s First Lutetium-177 Produced At Commercial Nuclear Reactor

The Canadian nuclear operator Bruce Power announced the world’s first production of lutetium-177 (Lu-177) at a commercial nuclear reactor, its Bruce-7 nuclear power plant in Ontario.

This milestone has been achieved thanks to the international cooperation between Bruce Power, Isogen (a Kinectrics and Framatome company), and ITM Isotope Technologies Munich SE (ITM).

The companies used a new Isotope Production System (IPS) that was installed in Bruce-7, an 817-MW Candu pressurised heavy water reactor unit, during a recent planned maintenance outage.

The IPS successfully irradiated targets (ytterbium-176) to produce lutetium-177, a medical isotope used in precision oncology for targeted therapy of a growing number of cancers. Lutetium-177 based treatments are designed to precisely target malignant cells while sparing surrounding healthy tissues.

The isotopes were finally sent to ITM in Germany for processing yielding “high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade no-carrier-added Lu-177” which the company provides to health care facilities globally.

Read the Bruce Power Press Release.

Last February, the European Nuclear Society 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 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.

Moreover, medical radioisotopes’ production and supply have been the key topic of the engaging Panel Discussion “Medical Isotopes – Challenges and opportunities for a sustainable supply“, organised during the last European Research Reactor Conference in Budapest, Hungary (here the Report of the Conference). A summary of this interesting round table will be soon published.