Isotope Production Alternatives Aim to Meet North American Demand
With the world's major producing reactors shutting down regularly or facing decommission, some enterprising solutions to medical isotope production are jockeying to pick up the slack in North America. Five organizations are set to compete for North American medical isotope production, including SHINE as well as Northstar, another Wisconsin-based company working to produce isotopes from molybdenum-98 targets in a reactor and to extract technetium from generators. A joint venture between Northstar and Prairie Isotope Production Enterprises entails a nuclear accelerator method that will bombard molybdenum-100 targets with photons and extract technetium in a new generator design. TRIUMF, Canada's national particle and nuclear physics laboratory at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and Advanced Cyclotron Systems are working to produce technetium from a cyclotron by accelerating protons and crashing them into molybdenum-100 targets. The latter two methods produce no reactor-associated nuclear waste and could avoid post-decommission price spikes on molybdenum from remaining reactors.
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