In Wisconsin, Hopes Rise for Production of a Lifesaving Radioactive Isotope

Inside the strange, global relay race that delivers (and sometimes fails to deliver) moly-99, a cancer-detecting necessity to America’s hospitals.

JANESVILLE, Wis. — In a cornfield here, past the shuttered General Motors plant and the Janesville Terrace trailer home park, a facility not seen in the United States in three decades could soon rise: a manufacturing plant that will make a vital radioactive isotope used to detect cancer and other potentially fatal maladies in millions of people every year.Nuclear medicine imaging, a staple of American health care since the 1970s, runs almost entirely on Molybdenum-99, a radioisotope produced ...