The American company SHINE is coming to the municipality of Veendam with its European branch. SHINE announced this in a joint press conference with the municipality of Veendam and the province of Groningen.
SHINE makes medical isotopes, basic substances needed in research into cancer and its treatment, among other things. Through revolutionary technology, SHINE makes isotopes that no longer require a nuclear reactor. This makes the production process safer, cleaner and more reliable. SHINE's European facility will be built in the municipality of Veendam starting in 2023. The logistical possibilities were the deciding factor; Veendam came out on top after considering more than 50 possible site locations in various European countries. The arrival of SHINE will provide direct employment for approximately 200 people.
Cancer and cardiovascular disease are the leading causes of death worldwide. Four out of five seriously ill patients encounter radioactive substances in their examination and treatment process. This makes it possible to detect cancer and cardiovascular disease at an early stage. SHINE will make the basic substances for this, the medical isotopes. These are small quantities of radioactive substances with a medical application. By further developing available techniques, it is increasingly possible to detect and combat cancer cells and metastases using medical isotopes.
Until now, these medical isotopes are still mainly produced worldwide using nuclear reactors. SHINE produces these medical isotopes using its accelerator technology, making the production process much safer, much cleaner, much more reliable and much more cost-effective than the current production technique using nuclear reactors. Harrie Buurlage, director SHINE Europe: "With the coming of SHINE to Veendam and the development here of these medical isotopes, European patients will increasingly be able to be reliably and cost-effectively examined and treated with medical isotopes. The quality of life will improve significantly for many millions of European patients every year.'
Compact and safe without a reactor
To produce the medical isotopes, SHINE is building a plant in the municipality of Veendam. In it, a small amount of uranium will be split in a particle accelerator. The resulting material will be used in cancer research and treatment. SHINE's alternative technology ensures that this process does not require a nuclear reactor. With the accelerator, SHINE makes particles that are also made by a reactor.
With the area of half a soccer field, the plant in the municipality of Veendam has a compact size. In the plant, eight accelerators are placed in a row in a chamber underground. This is where medical isotopes are made. 'This is done in a very safe way in a closed system,' says Harrie Buurlage. 'The experience we have with our American plant in Janesville (Wisconsin) is also applied here. With the new SHINE technology, one hundred times fewer uranium splits are needed, the plant is much safer than research reactors and there is much less waste. The small amount of radioactive waste that remains is disposed of and stored according to the strict rules that also apply in the Netherlands. Just as happens now at the hospitals here in the region.'
Netherlands logistically advantageous and innovative
The choice of a European plant in the Netherlands has to do with its location and the innovative power of our country. The Netherlands is logistically convenient when it comes to supplying medical isotopes to countries in Europe. Moreover, the Netherlands has extensive experience in the production of medical isotopes by uranium fission. This is already done in Petten according to clear regulations and strict supervision by the Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Authority (ANVS). Waste disposal is also very safely regulated in the Netherlands by the Central Organization for Radioactive Waste (COVRA). In addition, the Netherlands has a frontrunner position when it comes to research into the application of radiotherapy. SHINE will compete on a level playing field with research reactors in Europe and around the world. In addition, SHINE will make regional use of the knowledge of the University of Groningen and the Hanzehogeschool, as well as the experience of the Nuclear Physics Accelerator Institute in Groningen.
SHINE will be located next to the Dallen II industrial park near Wildervank. In choosing the municipality of Veendam, infrastructure played a role. The supply and removal of SHINE products requires a good road network; something Veendam offers towards both Groningen/Randstad and Germany. Veendam also has a good connection to an airport nearby, Groningen Airport Eelde. Furthermore, Veendam has a center function in the region, giving it a good scale in terms of facilities. This applies both to the availability of labor and suppliers. The coming of SHINE to the municipality of Veendam will provide direct employment for approximately 200 people. This concerns all educational levels (mbo/hbo/university). In addition, there will be work for suppliers. During the construction of the plant, which will cost several hundred million euros, there will also be a lot of additional temporary employment. This will make use of local parties. The factory will be built between 2023 and 2025.
The mentality of the region was also an important aspect. Harrie Buurlage: "Veendam is comparable to the American town of Janesville and Groningen as a province to the state of Wisconsin. Like Groningen, this American region also has a down-to-earth doer's mentality with the necessary ambition. The commitment of both the province of Groningen and the municipality of Veendam also contributed to the choice of Veendam. Their open attitude made us feel welcome from the start. Of course, another factor is that I was born and raised in Groningen. I know the region and the mentality here. We are therefore very proud that we can establish our factory in Veendam.'
Gerard Lenstra, manager Life Sciences & Health NOM: "There is already talk of cooperation in the field of technology development. Logically this means cooperation with RUG and UMCG, but there will also be a lot of development work and cooperation with other universities and companies at home and abroad. Dina Boonstra, general director NOM adds: "The arrival of SHINE will secure the position of the Netherlands as a leading country in the field of medical isotopes. This contributes to the positioning of the Northern Netherlands as a region where innovative, clean and socially relevant companies can find a home."
In this whitepaper you will read:
- Why the TopDutch region is a great place to do business
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