Dept. of Energy awards millions to two state companies

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.

See the SHINE release

See the NorthStar release