The Welsh Government has revealed plans to build the UK’s first nuclear medicine facility to produce cancer-fighting substances.
The laboratory in North West Wales will produce medical radioisotopes which are essential for diagnosing and treating diseases such as cancer as they are used in scanning and radiation therapy.
The UK has no domestic supply of most radioisotopes, relying on imports from European plants.
Many facilities have closed and it is believed that by 2030 the UK may not have any medical radioisotopes, with a significant impact on patient care.
The Project Arthur (Advanced Radioisotope Technology for Health Utility Reactor) facility would supply radioisotopes to the NHS in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland while improving the Welsh economy by creating high and low skilled jobs for several decades.
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “Today I am pleased to present a clear ambition to create the next major tech cluster here in Wales while tackling the rapidly looming crisis in healthcare around the world.
“This project will be crucial in helping us deliver on our commitment to creating a healthier and more prosperous Wales by creating the opportunities people need to build their future here in Wales.”
He said funding for the project had to be secured from a variety of sources, including the UK government, but added that the Welsh government had invested in a technical feasibility study.
Mr Gething said: “The scale of investment needed to bring Project Arthur to life is significant.
“I call on the UK Government to work together to support our efforts as this development benefits and supports future cancer diagnosis and treatment across the UK.
“Now is the time for decisive action and commitment. The consequences of inaction will be measured in people’s lives and in the long-term economic pressure on health services through unsustainable treatment.
“We are currently experiencing unprecedented economic pressure – but that is no excuse not to plan for this clear future need. We must prevent a future health and economic crisis.
“I am confident that our Project Arthur facility has the potential to become a global center of excellence and a source of pride for Wales and the UK for many decades to come.”