SHINE passes internal milestone

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Jim Leute
Monday, August 11, 2014

SHINE Medical Technologies and Phoenix Nuclear Labs are one step closer to production of medical isotope in Janesville.

The partnering companies said they recently ran their second-generation neutron driver prototype for 24 consecutive hours with nearly 100 percent up time.

Completion of the milestone is an important demonstration of the reliability and robustness of the neutron driver, which is a key enabling technology for SHINE's isotope production facility.

SHINE is working toward regulatory approval to build an $85 million medical isotope plant on Janesville's south side.

The plant would use low-enriched uranium in a series of eight accelerators to produce molybdenum-99, a medical isotope used in more than 30 kinds of diagnostic imaging procedures and more than 40 million medical imaging tests each year.

The company wants to fill a void expected when two other nuclear reactors that use highly enriched uranium to produce isotopes are taken out of service in 2016 and 2020. The plants in Canada and the Netherlands are the world's leading isotope suppliers.

The Janesville plant is expected to offer 150 high-paying jobs, open in late 2016 and generate annual revenues of $200 million in 2017.

Greg Piefer founded the company in 2010.

Five years earlier, he founded Phoenix Nuclear Labs, which has developed a proprietary, particle accelerator-driven, nuclear fusion technology that has applications ranging from medicine to national defense.

“I'm very excited PNL has demonstrated the reliability of their accelerator technology,” Piefer said. “Their team continues their strong track record of achievement, having reached this important milestone sooner than expected.

“This specific accomplishment proves something we have been confident in all along—that the accelerator technology can work reliably at the power levels needed by our plant for extended periods of time.”

Katrina Pitas, SHINE's vice president of business development, said the two companies are working toward a continuous run of 132 hours for its accelerator.

That's the amount of time necessary to produce one batch of Mo-99, she said.

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