Early Career Seminar: Reducing US Dependence on Foreign Mo-99: A Domestic Solution

As part of the Material Management and Minimization (MMM) Mo-99 Technology Development program, Argonne is helping to accelerate the domestic production of Mo-99.  Molybdenum-99’s daughter decay product, technecium-99m, is often referred to as the workhorse of nuclear medicine, and is used in roughly 80% of all diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures worldwide.  The establishment of a reliable domestic supply of Mo-99 is critical because the main Mo-99 producer in Canada will no longer produce medical isotopes after 2016.  With a loss of about 40% of the Mo-99 supply after 2016, a shortage is imminent unless a new Mo-99 producer fills the void.  Currently, SHINE Medical Technologies and NorthStar Medical Technologies are the top potential US producers. 

Today’s presentation will focus on the work being done at Argonne to support SHINE Medical Technologies in their efforts to produce fission-product Mo-99 via an accelerator-driven process.  Argonne’s mini-SHINE experiments will produce 2 Ci (phase 1) and 20 Ci (phase 2) of Mo-99 for shipment to SHINE’s potential Tc-99m generator manufacturer partners.  Mo-99 will be produced using a low-enriched uranium (LEU) uranyl-sulfate solution, an electron linac, and a tantalum target (phase 1) or depleted-uranium target (phase 2).  These experiments will continuously monitor pH, conductivity, and turbidity during irradiation as well as radiolytic-gas generation rates.  Additionally, these and other complementary experiments will provide data about precipitate formation, fission product speciation, and redox chemistry that will help SHINE make important decisions regarding solution clean-up, waste optimization, and cooling time before Mo-99 separation and purification.

July 23, 2015 at 10:00 am

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