Atkins Nuclear Secured’s Isotek Systems Strengthens Partnership to Advance Cancer Treatment Research

Source: MarketScreener | Release | April 13, 2021

SNC-Lavalin’s Isotek Systems, LLC (Isotek) business is pleased to announce that its sales agreement with nuclear innovation company TerraPower, LLC has been expanded to further refine thorium (Th-229). The new agreement will further aid the nuclear innovator in its cancer treatment research by delivering an enhanced purified product and add to the over $90 million taxpayer dollars saved under this innovative public-private partnership.

Isotek, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Atkins Nuclear Secured, is the Department of Energy (DOE) contractor responsible for preparing the nation’s inventory of uranium-233 (U-233) for transportation and disposal. In November 2019, DOE, TerraPower, and Isotek announced a public-private partnership called the New Life for Cancer Research. The partnership consists of Isotek extracting a rare isotope of Th-229 when processing U-233 and providing that Th-229 to TerraPower. TerraPower will use it to generate Actinium-225 (Ac-225) medical isotopes for next-generation cancer research and treatment.

‘It’s important to extract Th-229 from U-233 because Th-229 only comes from U-233,’ said Sarah Schaefer, Project Manager, Isotek. ‘Since most of the world’s supply of U-233 is stored at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, once this material is dispositioned, there will be no more Th-229 available.’
‘This expanded contract reflects our current success at extracting Th-229,’ said Tom Jouvanis, President, Atkins Nuclear Secured. ‘We are proud to be working with the DOE and TerraPower to further accelerate this vital work for the community.’

Under the new contract, Isotek will now purify the extracted Th-229 before it is sent to TerraPower, which will speed up the availability of Ac-225 to medical researchers. This addition to the workflow will start in 2021 when Isotek moves its processing to hot cells for full-scale processing. By the end of processing, Isotek expects to provide enough Th-229 to produce 100 times more cancer treatment doses from Ac-225 per year than the 4,000 doses currently available worldwide.

Isotek, in partnership with the Oak Ridge Office for Environmental Management, was recently awarded the Secretary of Energy Achievement Award for their work related to the New Life for Cancer Research project. The award is one of the highest honors DOE employees and contractors can receive for their service and contributions to the DOE’s mission and the benefit to the country.

An operations technician removing a centrifuge tube of Th-229 product.