The U.S. Department of Energy has proposed an isotope production and research center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory that could be important for medical, national security, and research projects.
In a budget request released in February, DOE said its supply of certain key enriched stable isotopes has been depleted, making the United States more dependent upon foreign imports for enriched stable isotopes. Isotopes are forms of an element that have the same number of protons but different number of neutrons in their nuclei.
DOE said the demand for enriched stable isotopes continues to grow substantially, including for the medical, national security, and fundamental research projects.
The new center at ORNL, the U.S. Stable Isotope Production and Research Center, would reduce the nation’s dependence upon foreign countries for those isotopes, DOE said.
DOE approved the mission need for the facility in January 2019. Although the cost range could change, the current project estimate is between $175 million and $298 million.[Read more…]