Two Wisconsin companies have gotten millions of dollars from the U.S. Department of Energy to help develop isotopes used in medical imaging.
The two companies — SHINE Medical Technologies and NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes LLC — hope to produce a stable domestic source of molybdenum-99 without using weapons-grade highly enriched uranium. Most of the current moly-99 supply is made outside the country and comes from enriching uranium at that level.
The awards from the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration are both 50-50 cost-sharing agreements, meaning the companies have to match the amount awarded. The NNSA awards for each agreement, which hope to reduce weapons-grade nuclear material, are capped at $25 million.
SHINE, based in Monona, got an additional $1 million award from the DOE, which has now awarded $15 million to SHINE through the agreement. The company is in the final stages of getting approval to build a plant in Janesville and said the award will help them finish the permitting process.
NorthStar, meanwhile, got $11.75 million through two separate awards due to the two different technologies they’re using to produce moly-99.
The Beloit company will use one $8.86 million award to expand its neutron capture production process. That agreement has now reached the $25 million cap from NNSA awards, making it the first company to do so. NorthStar’s other technology, the accelerator production process, got $2.89 million in funds, bringing the total award so far from NNSA to $5.7 million.