Leningrad nuclear power plant to begin production of radioisotope Lutetium-177

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The Leningrad nuclear power plant (NPP), operated by the Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom subsidiary Rosenergoatom, has received permission from the country’s nuclear regulator Rostechnadzor to produce a new radioisotope – lutetium-177 – Rosatom announced earlier this week. 

Lutetium-177 has demonstrated high efficiency in the diagnosis and targeted therapy of several oncological diseases. These radiopharmaceuticals are used to effectively treat a variety of diseases, such as tumors that can appear in the stomach, rectum, pancreas, small and large intestine, adrenal glands and thyroid gland.  

“They are also increasingly used in the treatment of tumors of the meninges – meningiomas and prostate cancer. Treatment with lutetium-177 also works well for cases where the disease is in an advanced stage, metastases, in particular, with cancer that is resistant to hormonal drugs and chemotherapy, and if the tumor cannot be removed surgically,” a Rosatom statement said.  

The Leningrad NPP can currently rhythmically produce molybdenum-99 (activation), iodine-125, iodine-131 and samarium-153, used in the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases, the statement said.  

Rosenergoatom, the electric energy division of Rosatom, is expanding its line of production of radioactive isotopes at nuclear power plants. 

Rosenergoatom is one of the key producers of medical radioisotopes for the Russian market. In addition, the company produces about 30 percent of the world’s sterilization cobalt-60 consumption from nuclear power reactors, the statement added. 

Rosatom said production of the first pilot batches of lutetium-177 is planned until the end of 2023 and that the experience of producing isotopes for medical purposes is planned to be applied at the Kursk and Smolensk nuclear power plants. 

According to the statement, the market for the development of such technologies in the future is assessed by business experts as comparable to the nuclear energy market. This includes modern diagnostics in medicine, transport security systems, new means of water and air purification, microelectronics, light industry, metallurgy, and many other areas. 

Another Rosatom subsidiary, Rusatom Healthcare, supplies isotope products to more than 50 countries in the world, enabling diagnosis and treatment of about 2.5 million people every year.