NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes Signs Emissions Pledge with Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization

NorthStar Pledges that its Production of Medical Radioisotopes will not Emit any Radioxenon

MADISON, Wis. – June 30, 2014 – NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes LLC has signed a pledge with the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) designed to help the CTBTO detect nuclear testing.

In signing the Radioxenon Emissions Pledge, NorthStar stated that its production of the medical radioisotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) does not result in the emission of radioxenon, a radioactive noble gas. Based in Madison, Wis., NorthStar is one of only six producers of medical radioisotopes to have signed the pledge.

Radioxenon is one of the products measured by the CTBTO in its effort to detect nuclear testing. It also, however, may be emitted during the peaceful production of radioisotopes used in medical diagnostic imaging. Readings from both events look similar, making it more difficult for the CTBTO to identify potentially dangerous activities.

Mo-99 is the parent isotope of technetium-99m (Tc-99m), the most widely used radioisotope in medical diagnostic imaging. Currently, nearly all Mo-99 is generated using highly enriched uranium (HEU) and a fission-based process. NorthStar is pursuing two non-uranium- and non-fission-based, production processes that would help establish a reliable domestic source of Mo-99. Neither process results in the emission of radioxenon and both generate only a benign waste stream.

“The CTBTO’s work in minimizing radioxenon gas emissions is extremely important to the world community,” said NorthStar President and Chief Executive Officer George P. Messina. “We are pleased that our technology will help the world’s nuclear test-ban monitors focus on detecting nuclear explosions. Signing this CTBTO pledge is consistent with our effort to minimize our waste footprint by virtue of our unique, non-uranium, non-fission processes which produce no real waste by-products of consequence.” 

“I welcome the pledge of NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes,” CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo said. “NorthStar is the sixth producer to cooperate with the CTBTO in our efforts to reduce the effects of radioactive releases on the detection of nuclear tests. The CTBTO will remain engaged with all medical isotope producers to mitigate xenon emissions for test-ban verification.”

NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes LLC
Based in Madison, Wis., NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes LLC (northstarnm.com) was founded in 2006 to address the needs of the nuclear medicine market in the United States. A wholly owned subsidiary of NorthStar Medical Technologies LLC, the company is committed to resolving industry-wide supply challenges that have caused shortages of vital medical isotopes, negatively impacting patient care and stalling clinical research. Its patented technologies include innovative non-uranium based molybdenum-99 production methods, a novel separation chemistry system and tools for the nuclear medicine market.

Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) bans nuclear explosions by everyone, everywhere – on the Earth's surface, in the atmosphere, underwater and underground. It makes it difficult for countries to develop nuclear weapons for the first time, and for countries that already have them to make more powerful weapons. It also prevents the damage to humans, animals and plants caused by radioactivity from nuclear explosions.

Since the Treaty is not yet in force, the organization is called the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (ctbto.org). Based in Vienna, it was founded in 1996 and has more than 260 staff members from more than 70 countries. Its primary tasks are the promotion of the Treaty and the build-up of the verification regime so that it is operational when the Treaty enters into force.