Shine CEO: Chrysalis to be world’s largest medical isotope producer

Greg Piefer, PhD, founder and CEO of Janesville, WI, fusion technology company Shine Technologies, says the company is about two years away from launching a new facility called Chrysalis, which is poised to become the world’s largest producer of medical isotopes.

“It will be located right here in the middle of the United States and I think it will probably be the way we produce neutron-based isotopes for the next 50 years,” he said, in an interview with AuntMinnie.com.

U.S. supplies of medical isotopes for imaging and therapy have historically been at risk, with supply chains relying on feedstock from foreign countries such as Russia and aging fission-based reactors in Europe, Australia, and South Africa.

In 2012, Congress passed the American Medical Isotopes Production Act (AMIPA), which directed the National Nuclear Security Administration to work with companies to establish domestic supplies of molybdenum-99. Although the program has experienced setbacks, its investments in Shine appear to be about to pay off.

Moreover, in a deal with the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR), the Chrysalis facility will also produce lutetium-177 and will be able to meet increasing demands for the isotope in the booming field of theranostics, Piefer noted.

Ultimately, Shine’s goal is to “change the way humans make energy,” and its focus on medical isotopes has been one step in a phased approach to commercialize its novel fusion technology to produce clean energy, Piefer said.

“By practicing, we actually did find a way to get the cost per neutron low enough that we could apply it to transmutations – turning elements from low value to high value – and isotopes were an absolute perfect fit for that capability,” he said.

You can listen to the full audio of the interview by clicking below.

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