Northwest Medical Isotopes (NWMI) is one step closer to building a production plant in Columbia.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission heard testimony Tuesday regarding Northwest Medical Isotopes’ application for a construction permit. The hearing signals that the commission is approaching its final decision on whether NWMI can build in Columbia.
The proceedings were concerned primarily with the Atomic Energy Act, which, according to the EPA’s website, was put in place to advocate “utilization of atomic energy for peaceful purposes to the maximum extent consistent with the common defense and security and with the health and safety of the public.”
NWMI produces Molybdenum-99, which is used as a radioactive tracer to detect diseases in bone, kidney, heart and lungs. The company is seeking approval to erect a medical radioisotope production facility in Columbia’s Discovery Ridge Research Park.
NWMI announced its intention to build in Discovery Park in 2014. Originally, NWMI expected to be up and operating by 2016, but the application process has taken longer than expected. A series of studies and evidentiary hearings in conjunction with the nuclear commission, including a 2016 review that determined building would have minimal environmental impact, has prolonged the launch date to 2020, commission Chairwoman Kristine Svinicki said in the hearing.
“It was going to be a long-term process because of the application process they had to go through,” Bernie Andrews, executive vice president of Columbia and Boone County’s Regional Economic Development Inc., said. “It’s taken longer than we expected, but we’re making progress.”
The plant would bring about 75-85 high-paying jobs to Columbia.
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