For the first time, a South African has been elected to be vice-chair of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) High-Level Group on the Security of Supply of Medical Radioisotopes (HLG-MR). This is despite the fact that South Africa is not a member of the OECD.
The new HLG-MR vice-chair is NTP Group MD Tina Eboka. The NTP Group is a subsidiary of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation, better known as Necsa. South Africa has been a member of the HLG-MR since it was set up in 2009, in recognition of the country’s importance as a manufacturer and processor of medical radioisotopes.
Eboka is also the first representative of a major isotope producer, from anywhere in the world, to be appointed to the HLG-MR executive. South Africa is one of the world’s top three producers of the Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) radioisotope and is responsible for more than 25% of global production. The HLG-MR was actually established by the NEA because of a worldwide shortage of Mo-99 at that time.
“This is more than just a great honour for South Africa,” affirmed NTP board chair Dr Namane Magau. “It signals that isotope producers – who carry the industry – should not take secondary roles in guiding the industry. Mrs Eboka’s appointment is a real acknowledgement of [the] NTP Group’s role in global leadership.”
The HLG-MR is composed of representatives of about 40 governments and international organisations, including the International Atomic Energy Agency. A new chair was also elected. She is Rilla Hamilton of the US National Nuclear Security Administration.