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Title: Target-fueled nuclear reactor for medical isotope production

Abstract

A small, low-enriched, passively safe, low-power nuclear reactor comprises a core of target and fuel pins that can be processed to produce the medical isotope .sup.99Mo and other fission product isotopes. The fuel for the reactor and the targets for the .sup.99Mo production are the same. The fuel can be low enriched uranium oxide, enriched to less than 20% .sup.235U. The reactor power level can be 1 to 2 MW. The reactor is passively safe and maintains negative reactivity coefficients. The total radionuclide inventory in the reactor core is minimized since the fuel/target pins are removed and processed after 7 to 21 days.

Inventors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1366488
Patent Number(s):
9,691,511
Application Number:
12/845,497
Assignee:
Sandia Corporation SNL-A
DOE Contract Number:
AC04-94AL85000
Resource Type:
Patent
Resource Relation:
Patent File Date: 2010 Jul 28
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS

Citation Formats

Coats, Richard L., and Parma, Edward J.. Target-fueled nuclear reactor for medical isotope production. United States: N. p., 2017. Web.
Coats, Richard L., & Parma, Edward J.. Target-fueled nuclear reactor for medical isotope production. United States.
Coats, Richard L., and Parma, Edward J.. 2017. "Target-fueled nuclear reactor for medical isotope production". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1366488.
@article{osti_1366488,
title = {Target-fueled nuclear reactor for medical isotope production},
author = {Coats, Richard L. and Parma, Edward J.},
abstractNote = {A small, low-enriched, passively safe, low-power nuclear reactor comprises a core of target and fuel pins that can be processed to produce the medical isotope .sup.99Mo and other fission product isotopes. The fuel for the reactor and the targets for the .sup.99Mo production are the same. The fuel can be low enriched uranium oxide, enriched to less than 20% .sup.235U. The reactor power level can be 1 to 2 MW. The reactor is passively safe and maintains negative reactivity coefficients. The total radionuclide inventory in the reactor core is minimized since the fuel/target pins are removed and processed after 7 to 21 days.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month = 6
}

Patent:

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  • In recent years there has been an unstable supply of the critical diagnostic medical isotope 99Tc. Several concepts and designs have been proposed to produce 99Mo the parent nuclide of 99Tc, at a commercial scale sufficient to stabilize the world supply. This work lays out a testing and experiment plan for a proposed 2 MW open pool reactor fueled by Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) 99Mo targets. The experiments and tests necessary to support licensing of the reactor design are described and how these experiments and tests will help establish the safe operating envelop for a medical isotope production reactor ismore » discussed. The experiments and tests will facilitate a focused and efficient licensing process in order to bring on line a needed production reactor dedicated to supplying medical isotopes. The Target Fuel Isotope Reactor (TFIR) design calls for an active core region that is approximately 40 cm in diameter and 40 cm in fuel height. It contains up to 150 cylindrical, 1-cm diameter, LEU oxide fuel pins clad with Zircaloy (zirconium alloy), in an annular hexagonal array on a {approx}2.0 cm pitch surrounded, radially, by a graphite or a Be reflector. The reactor is similar to U.S. university reactors in power, hardware, and safety/control systems. Fuel/target pin fabrication is based on existing light water reactor fuel fabrication processes. However, as part of licensing process, experiments must be conducted to confirm analytical predictions of steady-state power and accident conditions. The experiment and test plan will be conducted in phases and will utilize existing facilities at the U.S. Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories. The first phase is to validate the predicted reactor core neutronics at delayed critical, zero power and very low power. This will be accomplished by using the Sandia Critical Experiment (CX) platform. A full scale TFIR core will be built in the CX and delayed critical measurements will be taken. For low power experiments, fuel pins can be removed after the experiment and using Sandia's metrology lab, relative power profiles (radially and axially) can be determined. In addition to validating neutronic analyses, confirming heat transfer properties of the target/fuel pins and core will be conducted. Fuel/target pin power limits can be verified with out-of-pile (electrical heating) thermal-hydraulic experiments. This will yield data on the heat flux across the Zircaloy clad and establish safety margin and operating limits. Using Sandia's Annular Core Research Reactor (ACRR) a 4 MW TRIGA type research reactor, target/fuel pins can be driven to desired fission power levels for long durations. Post experiment inspection of the pins can be conducted in the Auxiliary Hot Cell Facility to observe changes in the mechanical properties of the LEU matrix and burn-up effects. Transient tests can also be conducted at the ACRR to observe target/fuel pin performance during accident conditions. Target/fuel pins will be placed in double experiment containment and driven by pulsing the ACRR until target/fuel failure is observed. This will allow for extrapolation of analytical work to confirm safety margins.« less