The Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRCG) in the Netherlands recently announced that it has called off its next scheduled irradiation cycle at the High Flux Reactor in Petten and does not expect to resume production until late October, at the earliest.

Citing a need for repairs, the facility was closed temporarily last month. This set off alarm around the world, with many questioning whether halted production would lead to a global shortage of molybdenum-99, or Mo-99. Mo-99 is the precursor to technetium-99m, which is the most widely used isotope in nuclear medicine.

According to NRG, it is “working with great effort to enable a restart,” and several teams are running parallel investigations to reach possible solutions. “Because of these efforts, the number of solution scenarios has now been reduced to a reasonable amount,” the statement reported.

NRG anticipates that this delay will have an impact on the medical isotope market, and it is contributing to the search for alternative supply routes. The group said it is in frequent contact with other isotope producers to discuss the possibilities for adjusting production plans.