Production of Mo-99/Tc-99m via Photoneutron Reaction using Natural Molybdenum
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The current shortage of the widely used radionuclide ^99mTc has raised many concerns in the nuclear medicine industry. The shortage is caused by the outdated method of production using highly enriched uranium (HEU) and nuclear reactors. This production method is no longer feasible due to the restrictions on the use of HEU. Alternative methods of production must be addressed to ensure the uninterrupted supply of this key radionuclide. This research analyzes an alternative production method of ^99mTc using an accelerator-generated ^99Mo, which is the parent element of ^99mTc. The radionuclide ^99mTc has a short half-life of 6 hours. However, ^99Mo, the parent nuclide has a much longer half-life of 66 hours. Usually, a medical facility receives a ^99Mo/^99mTc generator. Technetium-99m would be obtained from the ^99Mo provided through chemical separation, which is conducted at the medical facilities. The main issues to be addressed include the production of ^99Mo using the photonuclear reaction, the containment and exclusion of unwanted decay products, ensuring the integrity of the end-product ^99Mo/^99mTc post chemical separation, and assessing the economic feasibility of the complete strategy, including life cycle. If feasible, this production route would eliminate the use of HEU and nuclear reactors, guarantee an unwavering supply of the radionuclide at a lower cost, and assist on the regional growth of the radionuclide production industry worldwide.
Harahsheh, Talal Bader (2017). Production of Mo-99/Tc-99m via Photoneutron Reaction using Natural Molybdenum. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from