National Research Council of Canada. NRC Institute for National Measurement Standards
Drawing on work carried out at the Idaho National Laboratory in the 1990s, we show that a single national facility operating two 35 MeV, 100 kW electron accelerators to produce ⁹⁹Mo using the ¹⁰⁰Mo photoneutron reaction could supply all of Canada’s requirements for ⁹⁹ᵐTc. Suitable industrialgrade accelerators are available from Mevex Corporation, and NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes has developed a ⁹⁹ᵐTc separator for low-specific activity material. An economic analysis indicates that the production cost of ⁹⁹ᵐTc would be less than the present market price. Using the NRC 35 MeV linac, we have tested all the steps in the process. Attractive features of the (γ, n) approach include: no use of uranium of any kind; simple chemistry for target dissolution; no significant radioactive waste; less than 24 hours between end-of-bombardment and the shipping of ⁹⁹Mo solution to nuclear pharmacies; and no significant change to the operation of nuclear medicine departments and pharmacies.