Rosatom to Build Cyclotron in Thailand

Rosatom and Kinetics Corporation Ltd. (Thailand) signed a contract to construct a cyclotron facility that will be used to fabricate radiopharmaceuticals for the Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology (TINT). The signing ceremony was held on 7 September 2017 in Bangkok. The contract provides for building a cyclotron with Rosatom’s engineering input.

The facility will be operated by the Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology to produce isotopes for medical use. According to the contract, Rosatom’s subsidiary Rusatom Healthcare and Thailand’s Kinetics Corporation Ltd will jointly construct and commission a center for the production of radiopharmaceuticals.

The facility will be located at the Ongkharak Nuclear Research Centre in Nakhon Nayok Province. With an area of over 5,400 sq m, the new facility will house a cyclotron and several laboratories for the production of radioisotopes for medicine and other purposes. The center will also serve as a platform for research and development in radiation technology and innovation.

At present, Thailand imports all isotopes for single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Some local hospitals, however, produce isotopes for positron emission tomography (PET), but they cannot satisfy all the existing demand. The new cyclotron to be supplied by Rosatom will enable the Southeast Asian country to fabricate isotopes on its own, driving research and development in nuclear medicine and application of radiation solutions in various industries.

“We are happy to be part of the project that will help save lives and stimulate innovation in Thailand. Rosatom has decades of experience in designing and producing solutions for nuclear medicine and research. There are 14 radionuclide production facilities operating in Russia”, said Alexander Merten, President of Rusatom International Network (RIN).

RIN is a Rosatom Group company operating a global network of Rosatom’s representative offices, including an office for Southeast Asia in Singapore. It was RIN that facilitated the deal.

The isotope manufacturing facility in Thailand will use Rosatom’s MCC-30/15 cyclotron with the proton energy of 30 MeV. The unit will fabricate isotopes for PET and SPECT, two techniques that can accurately diagnose cancerous, cardiac and neurological diseases and, in many cases, are almost the only way to choose appropriate treatment.

According to Alexander Merten, the project in Thailand exemplifies Rosatom’s sustained efforts to diversify its portfolio of international contracts by marketing new products and services offered by the Russian nuclear industry. He noted that the promotion of Russia’s nuclear products and services on foreign markets was a key goal of Rusatom International Network, and cited the deal with Thailand as a good example of the company’s work.

“Of course, this project can hardly be compared to building a nuclear plant, yet it is highly important for Rosatom and unparalleled in many respects,” Mr. Merten stressed. “Firstly, this contract is the first of the kind for Rosatom. We will definitely use this facility as a reference project for the construction of cyclotron-based radionuclide production facilities abroad. It will give us experience needed to bid for similar projects all over the world. Secondly, this is Rosatom’s first contract in Thailand which both allows us to enter the Thai market and is important for the Russian-Thai trade cooperation. In fact, we are opening a door to Thailand and thus expanding our footprint in Southeast Asia to secure more possibilities for marketing other products in the region. As a matter of fact, this is the first hi-tech project for 120 years of diplomatic relations between our countries.”

When asked why Kinetics was selected as a partner, Mr. Merten noted that the company had been on the market since 1986 and had extensive expertise in R&D and laboratory equipment supplies. “The company boasts skilled engineers and researchers and is doing well on the Thai market. Kinetics acts as an integrator of the cyclotron construction project, with core equipment to be supplied by Rosatom”, he said.