NEA Mandates and Structures

High-level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR)

Chair(s): Jeffrey CHAMBERLIN, United States
Secretary:  Kevin CHARLTON
Vice-Chair(s): Tina EBOKA, South Africa
Participant(s): Argentina
Czech Republic
Euratom Supply Agency
European Commission (Under the NEA Statute)
Korea (Rep. of)
South Africa
United Kingdom
United States
Observer(s)(International Organisation): International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
By agreement
Date of creation:29 April 2009
End of mandate:31 December 2018

Mandate (Document reference):

Mandate (Document extract):

Extract from document NEA/NDC(2017)14


In April 2009, the NEA Steering Committee for Nuclear Energy established the High-level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR). During its first two mandates (2009‑2011 and 2011-2013), the HLG-MR, working with medical isotope stakeholders, examined the major issues that affect the short-, medium- and long-term reliability of 99Mo/99mTc supply. The group developed a policy approach based on six principles to help the supply chain to move to an economically sustainable basis. In June 2011, in conclusion of the first mandate, the HLG-MR released its policy approach and HLG-MR members agreed to implement it within three years (e.g. by June 2014).

Acting on a proposal by the HLG-MR, the NEA Steering Committee, while approving the second mandate in April 2011, agreed that the group would report to the Committee for Technical and Economic Studies on Nuclear Energy Development and the Fuel Cycle (NDC). Since then, the group’s activities have been included in the NDC programme of work. In October 2013, the third mandate of the HLG-MR was approved by the NDC at its 62nd meeting.

During the second and third HLG-MR mandates, the focus was on implementing the six principles in the HLG-MR policy approach and analysing the impact on the market of conversion from highly enriched to low-enriched uranium targets. As part of its work, the HLG-MR undertook two reviews of the 99Mo/99mTc supply chain, based on input from key supply chain participants, which was provided through self-assessment questionnaires. The reviews focused on progress with full-cost recovery and paid outage reserve capacity, and government’s role in the market. These identified those supply chain participants that were implementing or making good progress towards the implementation of the HLG-MR policy approach; they also highlighted those players that had not made significant progress (or had not yet started). These reviews confirmed that overall progress was slow, and it was concluded that it was unlikely that the supply chain itself would take the necessary actions without some further direct actions from governments.

In that context, the NEA at the meeting of the HLG-MR held on 21-23 January 2014 was asked to look at developing a more formal statement of commitment to the HLG-MR principles. Discussions were held with member countries and a consensus document, the Joint Declaration on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes was developed and on 17 December 2014 the OECD Council formally noted that eleven countries had officially signed up to the Joint Declaration on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes; subsequently two more countries confirmed their adherence. The Joint Declaration provides a co-ordinated political commitment by countries involved in the production and use of medical radioisotopes to bring about necessary changes across the supply chain and to encourage others to do likewise.

Recognising that continued action is required to implement the HLG-MR policy approach in a context of international co-operation, HLG-MR members have requested that the NEA involvement in the field of medical radioisotopes be continued with a fourth mandate (2015-2017) for the HLG-MR. The work during the fourth mandate will address specific issues affecting the full implementation of the policy approach, such as full-cost recovery, the provision and payment for reserve capacity, sufficient isotope reimbursement and government’s role in the market. This is a period identified as having a relatively high level of risk of further supply disruption and the NEA will regularly review and report upon the anticipated demand and supply situation in the medium-term period (e.g. the next 5‑6 years).

The High-level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR): Follow-up Implementation Mandate

1. Requested Mandate from the Nuclear Development Committee, 25-26 June 2015

The Fourth Mandate of the HLG-MR will allow an extension of its work in the field of security of supply of medical radioisotopes and is based on a proposal by the HLG-MR at its last meeting held on 3-4 February 2015.

The HLG-MR will continue to report to the Committee for Technical and Economic Studies on Nuclear Energy Development and the Fuel Cycle (NDC). The group’s activities will be included in the NDC programme of work.

2. Objectives of the HLG-MR

The objectives of the HLG-MR during its follow-up implementation mandate are to continue working towards increasing the long-term security of supply of 99Mo and 99mTc by focusing on specific issues that prevent the full implementation of the six principles in the HLG-MR policy approach. This work includes actions to increase and maintain transparency of market demand and supply, global market developments, continued communication with the supply chain participants and end-users, evaluation of progress towards implementation, and provision of additional information and analysis where necessary. The HLG-MR will meet twice a year to share information and to discuss ongoing policy issues. The adjustment and possible addition of further policy principles will also be considered.


Mandate Extension (2017)

The HLG-MR in the 3rd Meeting of the 4th Mandate [NEA/SEN/HLGMR(2017)3] requested that the NEA prepare to support the HLG-MR activities for an additional period of approximately 1 year with extension of this existing mandate.

The NEA Secretariat has chosen the extension period to be 14 months, i.e. to 31 December 2018, to enable the seamless transfer of some HLG-MR activities into the NDC programme of work (e.g. 2019-2020), if considered appropriate and agreed by the NDC in the future.