Monona's Phoenix, SHINE break global record

Two Wisconsin nuclear fusion companies have gone where no company on this planet has gone before. In July, Monona-based Phoenix LLC and SHINE Medical Technologies in Janesville broke a world record for a nuclear fusion reaction in a steady-state system, the strongest of its kind on the planet, eclipsing the previous record by 25 percent.

In July, the two companies ran a 132-hour test that validated the performance and reliability of SHINE’s production of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) and other isotopes. Medical isotopes are used in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. About 1 percent of the world’s supply of Mo-99 decays every hour, which is why it needs to be produced continuously. According to a release, current production is limited to only a handful of government-owned nuclear research reactors, most located overseas.

The significance of this nuclear milestone is expected to enable further advances in medicine, manufacturing, and clean energy. SHINE anticipates that isotope production of Mo-99 will begin in 2021.