Laser Isotope Enrichment for Medical and Industrial Applications

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Laser Isotope Enrichment for Medical and Industrial Applications by Jeff Eerkens (University of Missouri), Jay Kunze (Idaho State University), and Leonard Bond (Idaho National Laboratory) The principal isotope enrichment business in the world is the enrichment of uranium for commercial power reactor fuels. However, there are a number of other needs for separated isotopes. Some examples are: 1) Pure isotopic targets for irradiation to produce medical radioisotopes. 2) Pure isotopes for semiconductors. 3) Low neutron capture isotopes for various uses in nuclear reactors. 4) Isotopes for industrial tracer/identification applications. Examples of interest to medicine are targets to produce radio-isotopes such ... continued below

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Bond, Leonard July 1, 2006.

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Laser Isotope Enrichment for Medical and Industrial Applications by Jeff Eerkens (University of Missouri), Jay Kunze (Idaho State University), and Leonard Bond (Idaho National Laboratory) The principal isotope enrichment business in the world is the enrichment of uranium for commercial power reactor fuels. However, there are a number of other needs for separated isotopes. Some examples are: 1) Pure isotopic targets for irradiation to produce medical radioisotopes. 2) Pure isotopes for semiconductors. 3) Low neutron capture isotopes for various uses in nuclear reactors. 4) Isotopes for industrial tracer/identification applications. Examples of interest to medicine are targets to produce radio-isotopes such as S-33, Mo-98, Mo-100, W-186, Sn-112; while for MRI diagnostics, the non-radioactive Xe-129 isotope is wanted. For super-semiconductor applications some desired industrial isotopes are Si-28, Ga-69, Ge-74, Se-80, Te-128, etc. An example of a low cross section isotope for use in reactors is Zn-68 as a corrosion inhibitor material in nuclear reactor primary systems. Neutron activation of Ar isotopes is of interest in industrial tracer and diagnostic applications (e.g. oil-logging). . In the past few years there has been a sufficient supply of isotopes in common demand, because of huge Russian stockpiles produced with old electromagnetic and centrifuge separators previously used for uranium enrichment. Production of specialized isotopes in the USA has been largely accomplished using old ”calutrons” (electromagnetic separators) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. These methods of separating isotopes are rather energy inefficient. Use of lasers for isotope separation has been considered for many decades. None of the proposed methods have attained sufficient proof of principal status to be economically attractive to pursue commercially. Some of the authors have succeeded in separating sulfur isotopes using a rather new and different method, known as condensation repression. In this scheme a gas, of the selected isotopes for enrichment, is irradiated with a laser at a particular wavelength that would excite only one of the isotopes. The entire gas is subject to low temperatures sufficient to cause condensation on a cold surface. Those molecules in the gas that the laser excited are not as likely to condense as are the unexcited molecules. Hence the gas drawn out of the system will be enriched in the isotope that was excited by the laser. We have evaluated the relative energy required in this process if applied on a commercial scale. We estimate the energy required for laser isotope enrichment is about 20% of that required in centrifuge separations, and 2% of that required by use of "calutrons".

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  • 14th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering,Miami, FL,07/17/2006,07/20/2006

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  • Report No.: INL/CON-06-01302
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 911877
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc881464

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  • July 1, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Oct. 19, 2016, 4:46 p.m.

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Bond, Leonard. Laser Isotope Enrichment for Medical and Industrial Applications, article, July 1, 2006; [Idaho Falls, Idaho]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc881464/: accessed October 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.