Subcritical Fission Mo99 Production
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Subcritical Fission Mo99 Production



A brief summary of a method to produce fission product Mo-99 without the need for a nuclear reactor.

A brief summary of a method to produce fission product Mo-99 without the need for a nuclear reactor.



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Subcritical Fission Mo99 Production Subcritical Fission Mo99 Production Presentation Transcript

  • Solution  Target  Radioisotope  Generator Technical Review
    May 27th 2009
    Dr. John Gahl, University of Missouri
    Michael Flagg, University of Missouri
  • Welcome
    Thank you to our partners at Advanced Medical Isotope Corporation (AMIC).
    Dr. John Gahl is the interim Chair of Chemical Engineering at MU, Program Manager for Materials Science at MURR, serves as core faculty for Nuclear Engineering and is co-inventor of the IP discussed today.
    Michael Flagg is a nuclear engineer, project manager at MURR and co-inventor of the radioisotope generator patent.
  • Part 1 The Need
  • Mo-99 Production
    Mo-99 is the single most important imaging radioisotope used today
    Supply is insecure
    Over 10,000 “6 day Curies” used in the U.S. each week
    No producer of Mo-99 in the United States
    “Fission Product Mo-99” is the most efficient way of obtaining high specific activity Mo-99
    Bulk of current Supply is made from HEU
    Over 90% of fission product Mo-99 is made at facilities that are at least 40 years old
  • Part 2The Technology
  • The Core Concepts
    When a photon with an energy of at least 2.224 MeV strikes a deuteron, a “photoneutron” is ejected from the deuteron’s nucleus.
    Photons can be generated by accelerating electrons into a High-Z target. The number of photons generated by the electron accelerator increases linearly with the strength of the accelerator.
    Uranium Salts are soluble in water. Uranyl Nitrate and Uranyl Sulfate have been used in Aqueous Homogenous Reactor Designs since the 1940’s.
    Whenever U-235 fissions, Mo-99 makes up 6% of the fission products.
  • The Intellectual Property
    The University of Missouri (MU) holds the rights to two pieces of IP relevant to the core concepts:
    IP #1: A photoneutron generator made up of a photon source driven by an electron beam accelerator targeted on a tank of D2O. Patent filed.
    IP #2: A radioisotope generator composed of the above IP with fissile material salts as a target material dispersed in the D2O. Patent filed.
    AMIC holds an option on both pieces of IP
  • System Overview
    Solution Target Radioisotope Generator
    Subcritical loading of Uranium Salts in Heavy Water (D2O)
    Commercial Electron Beam Accelerator and standard High-Z electron target to generate photons
    Photoneutrons are generated, causing fission in the Uranium Salts
    System is boosted by fission neutrons and reflectors
    Extraction via columns or other separation techniques
  • Generating Photoneutrons
  • Irradiation
    Molybdenum Extraction Station
    Treatment and Sampling Station
    Other Isotope(s) Extraction Station(s)
    Simple, Direct Processing
    Mo-99 extracted using special polymer sorbent material or alumina columns
    No proliferation risk as the extraction stations can be tailored to pull only specific isotopes
  • Production of Mo-99
    All equipment is either simple to fabricate or off-the-shelf – no new science
    Tank, pumps, piping, fission product gas handling, shielding, etc.
    Strength of Electron Beam Accelerator determines number of photons
    LEU is assumed
    Loading of U-235 drives production of Mo-99
    Optimized reflectors will significantly boost production
  • Mo-99 Production Estimates
    10MeV 1.0mA electrons
    20kg Uranium
    D2O fills chamber
    LEU at 19% enrichment homogeneously mixed in D2O
    150hour irradiation (6.25days)
    100 cm x 100 cm tank
    Reflector Material Varies
  • Production Slides Removed, Propriety Data
  • Extraction
    Mo-99 has been extracted from uranyl sulfate solution in Russia using sorbent columns (Ball, Pavshook, et al, 1998)
    Various methods exist to remove Mo-99 and concentrate it to meet European Pharmacopeia standards (no official US Pharmacopeia standards for Mo-99 as bulk API)
  • Part 3The Prototypes
  • Prototype 1
    Used existing accelerator infrastructure at Idaho State University
    Tested and collected data on configurations of heavy water and reflectors – no fissile target material
    Proved the principle of significant photoneutron production in heavy water
    Established that computer codes used to predict neutron flux (MCNPX) were accurate
  • Prototype 2
    Production facility to test system with fissile salts present and produce relevant amounts of Mo-99 for sale
    Would include series of cold runs and benchtop chemistry to confirm removal of alpha-emitting impurities
    Siting critical to rapid construction and testing of Prototype 2
  • Rapid Path to Market
    Subcritical system
    NOT a reactor
    Less onerous regulatory regime
    Waste stream far less than hard target fission Mo-99 production
    $1 million/year for every increment of 100 6-day Curies produced and sold at $200/Ci
  • Questions?