OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — Editor's note: This story was updated to correct the name of the facility from Stable Isotope Research and Development Center as initially reported by ORNL to U.S. Stable Isotope Production and Research Center.
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory helped the Department of Energy start building a new facility meant to supply valuable isotopes used in a variety of critical medical treatments and industries. Officials held a groundbreaking event on Monday for the U.S. Stable Isotope Production and Research Center.
The center will enrich isotopes used in cancer treatments, heart disease treatments, renewable energy technologies, space exploration and basic research on climate sciences and quantum computing.
“Isotopes are so essential to helping diagnose and treat diseases like cancer and for identifying nuclear threats,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm in a release. “With support from the President’s Inflation Reduction Act, the world-class U.S. Stable Isotope Production and Research Center will help establish a reliable domestic supply of isotopes critical to the health and safety of Americans in every corner of the nation.”
According to a release from the DOE, the U.S. is heavily reliant on foreign supply chains for these kinds of isotopes. The new center is meant to help industry and medical leaders meet current and anticipated demands for the isotopes and address gaps in the supply chain.
They said it will provide several production systems to enrich a range of stable isotopes. It will also have space to add new systems and they will be able to expand the building as demand increases, according to the release.
The center will be a part of the DOE's Isotope Program, which creates and sells isotopes that are in short supply or are only produced by the DOE.