The following can be attributed to a spokesperson for the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO):
“Last Friday morning, ANSTO ceased manufacturing Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) after contamination was detected on the outside of a container holding 42 millilitres of Mo-99.
“Mo-99 is the parent isotope of Technetium-99m, which is used in hospitals and nuclear medicine centres to diagnose a variety of heart, lung, organ and muscular-skeletal conditions.
“Three ANSTO workers were attended to by radiation protection personnel, and initial indications are that two of these workers received a radiation dose above the statutory limit.
“An investigation commenced on Friday, and both the nuclear regulator, ARPANSA, and Comcare have been informed. An estimate of the radiation dose will be confirmed in coming weeks.
“Early calculations indicate that the radiation dose received by two of the workers involved in medicine processing, was equivalent to that of a conventional radiation therapy treatment.
“An occupational physician will continue to provide ongoing observation. All three workers involved are receiving ongoing support from ANSTO.
“Vital supplies of Molybdenum-99 nuclear medicine are currently being provided through alternative facilities at ANSTO, while the investigation is underway.”
Media Contact: Phil McCall 0438 619 987