Overview of Argonne’s Progress in Technology Development for Mo-99
As part of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) program, Argonne is assisting in the conversion of HEU (high enriched uranium) to LEU (low enriched uranium) for the international production of Mo-99 and helping to establish a dependable domestic supply of Mo-99 without the use of HEU. At the international level, Argonne has developed annular LEU-foil targets to replace current HEU targets and designed and warm-tested chemical processing methods for using LEU foils. In an effort to accelerate the domestic production of Mo-99, Argonne is currently assisting three potential Mo-99 producers.
The potential producers are utilizing different avenues for Mo-99 production, which include neutron activation of Mo-98, accelerator-driven g/n reaction of Mo-100, accelerator-driven production of fission product Mo-99, and target-fuelled reactor production of fission-product Mo-99. The establishment of a reliable domestic supply of Mo-99 is critical because the main producer of Mo-99 in Canada will no longer produce medical isotopes after 2016. With a loss of about 40 percent of Mo-99 after 2016, a shortage is imminent unless a new Mo-99 producer fills the void.