The National Nuclear Regulator (NNR) has ordered the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa)‚ to shut down production at its NTP Radiochemicals Complex for violating safety procedures. An inquiry is under way and NTP’s MD and two senior executives have been placed on special leave. NTP has had to source medical radioisotopes from competitors outside the country in order to maintain supplies to cancer patients and is losing about R3.5m a day. NTP is one of a handful of global suppliers of medical radioisotopes, which are used for diagnostic imaging and treatment, and has customers in more than 50 countries. "We concluded they were prioritising production over safety," said the NNR’s manager for nuclear waste projects Thiagan Pather. NTP’s hydrogen-monitoring systems had failed on October 27, but it notified the regulator only on October 30, he said. The NNR regarded this delay as a significant breach of safety procedures. "Our preliminary investigation identified a number of...

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