Alternative technologies for producing radioisotopes for medical and industrial use
Synthetically produced radioisotopes are widely used in medical and industrial applications. Historically, these isotopes have been produced in specially designed and constructed nuclear reactors. However, with aging reactors due to shut down in the coming decades, a new arena of research has emerged regarding alternative technologies for producing radioisotopes for medical and industrial applications.
Isotope manufacturing research is a broad term that covers any form of research into alternative means of producing radioisotopes of the species typically used for medical and industrial applications.
This encompasses a very wide field, including (but not limited to) linear accelerator technology and refinement, target design, target material optimisation, irradiation pattern optimisation and chemical separation. These in turn are associated with conventional and radiological hazards, which may subsequently require engineered safety measures such as shielding, access interlocks and radioactive waste and decommissioning strategies.
Due the scheduled shutdown of the current, main production facilities for isotopes, it is important that alternative solutions are found so that the supply of isotopes, particularly with regards to key medical applications, is not affected.
Whilst a new fleet of reactors could provide the supply, recent developments in LINAC technology have improved both feasible operating duration and reliability. LINACs offer the opportunity to produce isotopes with a reduced radioactive waste footprint compared with a reactor and can produce a much purer product that requires less post-processing to separate from unwanted by-products.
Performing detailed calculations in an effort to improve understanding of how isotope yield changes with various parameters and understanding of what by-products are likely to be produced can greatly assist with design feasibility and risk mitigation. Shielding requirements and radioactive waste inventories can be produced via calculation to ensure that the facility design has the potential to operate safely and within regulatory requirements.
TÜV SÜD can offer a range of serviced to support isotope production research, including:
How to qualify your safety critical nuclear equipment
Why are we not embracing alternative energies faster?
Discover the compliance of your safety critical nuclear equipment.
Find out how to carry out a successful decommissioning project.
Select your location
Bosnia and Herzegovina