Dr. Dale Dewar, a long-time no nukes activist in SK, shares information about an alternative to using highly enriched uranium to produce Mo-99, the medical isotope that had Canadian Parliament declare itself a nuclear outlaw when it voted to restart the Chalk River reactor despite safety concerns expressed by Canada’s nuclear regulator.
While I don’t pretend to know the science of it, I would think it important that our Parliamentarians explore and contemplate any and all alternatives.
The Society for Nuclear Medicine published this little blurb (below) about a patent to develop a method that was not dependent upon highly enriched uranium (HEU) to produce Mo-99, the precursor of Tc-99m used in so many medical tests. Scientific American published a lengthy article in Feb 2006 arguing that all scientific and nuclear power reactors should change from HEU to decrease the international threat of nuclear terrorism (bombs). Good article. Buried by the nuclear industry community because the nuclear industry is actually based upon weapons production – all the rest, nuclides, power, are secondary.
An alternative method of producing Mo-99?
A method of producing molybdenum-99 comprising:
providing a target comprising molybdenum-100; and
directing a photon beam onto the target to isotopically convert at least a portion of the molybdenum-100 of the target to molybdenum-99 having specific activity of at least 1.0 curies/gram, the photon beam having intensity of at least 50 microamps/cm2 and photons of energy of at least 8 MeV.
More to think about.
Dale Dewar, BSc, MD, CFPC, FCFP
More to think about indeed!