14 MeV neutrons for99Mo/99mTc production: Experiments, simulations and perspectives

Title14 MeV neutrons for99Mo/99mTc production: Experiments, simulations and perspectives
Publication TypeArticolo su Rivista peer-reviewed
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsCapogni, M., Pietropaolo A., Quintieri L., Angelone Massimo, Boschi A., Capone M., Cherubini N., De Felice P., Dodaro A., Duatti A., Fazio A., Loreti S., Martini P., Pagano G., Pasquali M., Pillon M., Uccelli L., and Pizzuto A.
Keywordschemistry, cyclotron, Cyclotrons, devices, Emission-Computed, Molybdenum, Molybdenum-99, Nuclear energy, Nuclear Fission, pertechnetic acid tc 99m, radioisotope, Radioisotopes, radiopharmaceutical agent, Radiopharmaceuticals, single photon emission computed tomography, Single-Photon, Sodium Pertechnetate Tc 99m, technetium, Tomography

Background: the gamma-emitting radionuclide Technetium-99m (99mTc) is still the workhorse of Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) as it is used worldwide for the diagnosis of a variety of phatological conditions.99mTc is obtained from99Mo/99mTc generators as pertechnetate ion, which is the ubiquitous starting material for the preparation of 99mTc radiopharmaceuticals.99Mo in such generators is currently produced in nuclear fission reactors as a by-product of235U fission. Here we investigated an alternative route for the production of99Mo by irradiating a natural metallic molybdenum powder using a 14-MeV accelerator-driven neutron source. Methods: after irradiation, an efficient isolation and purification of the final99mTc-pertechnetate was carried out by means of solvent extraction. Monte Carlo simulations allowed reliable predictions of99Mo production rates for a newly designed 14-MeV neutron source (New Sorgentina Fusion Source). Results: in traceable metrological conditions, a level of radionuclidic purity consistent with accepted pharmaceutical quality standards, was achieved. Conclusions: we showed that this source, featuring a nominal neutron emission rate of about 1015 s− 1, may potentially supply an appreciable fraction of the current99Mo global demand. This study highlights that a robust and viable solution, alternative to nuclear fission reactors, can be accomplished to secure the long-term supply of99Mo. © 2018 by the authors.


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