Used in nuclear medicine for diagnosis and therapy, radioisotopes are currently produced from uranium. The National Institute for Radioelements (IRE) has developed a way to produce radioisotopes without uranium, greatly reducing nuclear waste.
The initiative, called SMART (Source of MedicAl RadioisoTopes) requires 335 million euros and should be up and running in 2028.
The IRE is also investing in a new cyclotron. Scheduled for 2022, it will allow the institute to produce Germanium-68 at its site. This key raw material is essential to produce Gallium-68, an isotope that is increasingly used in hospitals to detect certain types of early-stage cancer.