Feasibility of Eliminating the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium in the Production of Medical Radioisotopes

  title={Feasibility of Eliminating the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium in the Production of Medical Radioisotopes},
  author={Frank N. von Hippel and Laura H. Kahn},
  journal={Science \& Global Security},
  pages={151 - 162}
Significant quantities of highly enriched uranium (HEU)—more than enough to make a Hiroshima bomb—are used annually as neutron target material in Canadian, European, and South African reactors to produce the short-lived fission products used in nuclear medicine. The most important of these fission products is 99Mo, which decays into 99mTc, which is the most widely used medical radioisotope. The U.S. supplies weapon-grade uranium to the Canadian radioisotope producer and might in the future… Expand
How the radiologic and nuclear medical communities can improve nuclear security.
The radiologic and nuclear medical communities could make a tremendous contribution to a safer world by supporting the replacement of HEU with low-enriched uranium (LEU), which is just as cost effective as HEU for the manufacture of technetium-99m and does not contribute to the risk for nuclear terrorism. Expand
The Production of Medical Isotopes without Nuclear Reactors or Uranium Enrichment
This article examines the current capability of accelerator technology, which is rapidly improving, to produce medical isotopes. A detailed analysis of 12 medical isotopes that are in activeExpand
This article examines the production of metastable technetium-99 (Tc-99m), the world's most important radiopharmaceutical, focusing on reliability of supply and risks of nuclear terrorism. Only fourExpand
Global Xenon-133 Emission Inventory Caused by Medical Isotope Production and Derived from the Worldwide Technetium-99m Demand
Emissions from medical isotope production are the most important source of background for atmospheric radioxenon measurements, which are an essential part of nuclear explosion monitoring. ThisExpand
Sustained Availability of 99mTc: Possible Paths Forward
The breadth of technologies and new strategies under development to provide 99Mo and 99mTc reflects both the broad interest in and the importance of the pivotal role of 99MTc in diagnostic nuclear medicine. Expand
In 2007, 334 nuclear reactors (including for naval propulsion) and isotope production facilities employed highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel or target material. One year of operations at theseExpand
Production and Supply of Molybdenum-99 A. Background
    Over 80% of diagnostic nuclear medical imaging uses radiopharmaceuticals containing technetium-99m (99m Tc), entailing over 30 million investigations per year. The excellent nuclear characteristicsExpand
    Cyclotron 99mTc Production and Quality Control for Medical Applications
    A new production method of 99mTc using a high-current solid target was tested. The separation and purification setup was developed to produce high quantity and high specific activity of 99mTcO4−Expand
    Cyclotron Production of (99m)Tc using (100)Mo2C targets.
    An investigative study of the (100)Mo (p,2n)(99m)Tc reaction on a medical cyclotron using (100)Mo2C is reported. This is the first report of this compound being used as a target for this reaction.Expand
    Breaking America's dependence on imported molybdenum.
    The clinical importance of technetium-99m and the authors' tenuous dependence on the foreign supply of molybdenum are addressed, along with potential measures that may be taken to ensure that America's supply chain remains unbroken. Expand


    A Comprehensive Approach to Elimination of Highly-Enriched-Uranium From All Nuclear-Reactor Fuel Cycles
    Over a period of about a decade after President Eisenhower's “Atoms for Peace” speech, the U.S. and Soviet Union exported research reactors to about 40 countries. By the mid-1970s, most of theseExpand
    Facts and myths concerning {sup 99}Mo production with HEU and LEU targets.
    Currently, most of the world's supply of {sup 99}Mo is produced from the fissioning of {sup 235}U in targets of high-enriched uranium (HEU). Conversion of these targets to low-enriched uranium (LEU)Expand
    The hazard from plutonium dispersal by nuclear‐warhead accidents
    NUCLEAR WEAPONS are carefully designed to have an extremely low probability of exploding accidently with an appreciable nuclear yield-even if they are involved in a high-speed crash, struck by aExpand
    Bomb-Grade Bazaar
    99 Mo sales in 2004 were $150 million for 20 million doses of 99m Tc
    • Bio-Tech Systems Inc. personal communications
    • 2005
    Annual Information Form for the period ending October 31
    • Annual Information Form for the period ending October 31
    • 2005
    Application to continue operation of the National Research Universal (NRU) reactor beyond December 31, 2005: Record of proceedings, including reasons for decision
    • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
    • 2005
    Proceedings of the International Conference on Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors
    • Proceedings of the International Conference on Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors
    • 2005
    does not inform the U.S. of transfers of this material within the EU when it is no longer needed for its original purpose, such to fuel a critical facility
    • National Energy Policy Act
    • 2005
    DOE Needs to Take Action to Further Reduce the Use of Weapons-Usable Uranium in Civilian Research Reactors
    • U.S. Government Accountability Office report
    • 2004