Continued funding for PALLAS

9 December 2020

The Foundation Preparation Pallas-reactor (PALLAS) will receive a loan of 18 million euros from the Dutch government to continue its activities in the coming months. Private funding on the basis of conditions acceptable to the government is not feasible at the moment. Minister Van Ark for medical care and sport announced this today. The minister also reported that the cabinet considers it important that a decision is made in the short term on how the security of supply of medical isotopes can be safeguarded in the future. By, on the one hand, gaining a good insight into the costs, revenues and associated risks of the public variant for PALLAS and, on the other hand, by gaining a good picture of the alternatives. In the spring of 2021, the minister will provide further information to the House of Representatives. You can find the letter (in Dutch) here.

Bertholt Leeftink (CEO PALLAS/NRG): “Conversations with potential investors show that a number of parties remain interested in financing PALLAS. The personal union and the agreements that PALLAS and NRG have made in this context about their joint future have contributed to this. Investors do ask for more clarity on a number of points. This includes certainty about obtaining the necessary permits, the future decommissioning of the High Flux Reactor, the responsibility for processing the historical radioactive waste and insight into the expected costs, revenues and (construction) risks. Since that clarity cannot be given at the moment, private funding is currently not feasible.”

The additional loan enables PALLAS to continue working on finalising the basic design of the reactor, applying for various permits and preparing for construction. PALLAS is also currently negotiating with construction consortium ICHOS to start the third and final design phase of the PALLAS-reactor in 2021 as strongly as possible. This negotiation is necessary to limit risks and cost overruns and to realise the construction phase and transition phase in the coming years. In 2021, PALLAS expects to start the detailed design together with ICHOS.

Hermen van der Lugt (Managing Director PALLAS): “We are now finalising the basic design of the reactor. Evaluations are part of this. For example, we conduct external audits that focus on risks and costs. In the context of safety, risk management and control, a thorough evaluation takes place in the nuclear sector after each design phase of a new installation. Additional safety requirements and the growth of the therapeutic isotope market necessitated changes in the second phase of the design. However, the adjustments in the field of robustness and innovations also have a downside: activities have changed and the expected costs and risks have increased. We have come to the conclusion that adjusted agreements with ICHOS are necessary to start the final phase of the design strongly. This way, we can limit the risks and substantial cost overruns, and improve mutual cooperation.” ICHOS and PALLAS are designing an innovative reactor that will guarantee large-scale diagnostic and therapeutic isotopes for millions of patients worldwide for the coming sixty years. The arrival of the PALLAS-reactor will enable the Netherlands to continue and further expand its role as a top global producer of radiopharmaceuticals. The construction of a reactor for the medical world is unique. It has been sixty years since the High Flux Reactor was built in the Netherlands and the PALLAS project is the most advanced initiative in Europe. The project has unique challenges that continuously require intelligent solutions from more than 300 people who work on this every day.

Follow this link for an addition to the RIVM study into the security of supply for medical radionuclides (in Dutch).