Sunday, July 5, 2009

B&W Seeks Isotope Facility Approval

Babcock & Wilcox in Lynchburg is seeking federal approval for a new Campbell County facility to create medical isotopes that would be used in procedures that detect cancer and heart disease, among disorders.

B&W is not seeking federal money. The facilities are becoming increasingly important because of a potential looming shortage of the isotopes used thousands of times daily in medical procedures. B&W wants congress to clear regulatory requirements and approve the facility before the initially projected 2014 deadline.

According to published reports the B&W facility would use nuclear reactors to produce Molybdenum-99. The Molybdenum-99 would then be used by a medical supply firm to produce Technitium-99 to be used in medical procedures.

Because of the nature of the production, both the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Food and Drug Administration will need to approve the project. B&W is looking for Commonwealth and Campbell County incentives to help build the facility, which could provide as many as 60 full-time jobs, officials say.

B&W hopes to provide half the nation’s supply (much of which is foreign-supplied now) and the University of Missouri has proposed a project that could produce the other half.

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