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Carbon-14 Recovery


Recovery of Carbon-14 from Low-Content Waste Originating from Operation of Medical Facilities, Biology Research Institutions and Labeled Compounds Producing Enterprises, as well as of Other Origin

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-RWT/Radioactive Waste Treatment/Environment

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Tocheny L V

Leading Institute
Khlopin Radium Institute, Russia, St Petersburg

Supporting institutes

  • VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov


  • Institut fuer Umwelttechnologien GmbH (I.U.T), Germany, Berlin

Project summary

The work proposed hereby is related to conversion activities of "Centrotech-EHZ" STC and SUE "K.R.I. SPA", and dedicated to development of technology and sets of equipment necessary for Carbon-14 (14C) recovery from low-content waste originating from operation of medical facilities, biology research institutions and labeled compound producing enterprises, as well as from materials of other origin.

Carbon-14 labeled compounds are used in medicine, biology, chemistry, ecological studies as well as in industrial applications. Long half-life of this beta-emitting isotope (5730 years) is an extra limitation to its use, due to radioactive waste quantity build-up. The radioactive waste (both organic and inorganic) contains this radionuclide diluted in stable carbon down to a few per mil. For many countries, storage of this kind of waste is impossible. As a consequence, labeled compound producing laboratories are limited by constant increase of waste volume. Yet, producers of Ba14CO3 are unable to take the waste back. These circumstances set a limit to growth of the technology area.

The I.U.T. (Institut Fur Umwelttechnologien GmbH, Berlin, Germany) institute possesses a know-how for transformation of organic and inorganic waste into CO2 and BaCO3 by means of a plasma technology.

Should one be able to verify that no further dilution of isotopes ratio occurs in the process, the mentioned plasma technology could then be used for primary treatment of 14C-containing waste prior to isotope enrichment of 14CO2 chemical form by 14C isotope. One can expect then that, by means of centrifuge, or by lasers or chromatographic technology the 14C concentration could be raised from a few per mil up to virtually 100%.

In Russia, "Centrotech-EHZ" STC, St. Petersburg, holds a know-how for isotope separation technique by means of centrifuge. Test of the method in the present Project on a pioneering facility in laboratory conditions, with subsequent introduction into industrial process, may play a decisive role in the positive resolution of 14C recovery from low-content waste.

The following sequence is proposed for the Project objectives:

1. Development of and agreement upon technical requirements related to various stages of 14C recovery process.

2. Creation, modification and adaptation of equipment and facilities for demonstrating the 14C recovery technological chain.
3. Development of 14C recovery technology process.
4. Experimental check for separate stages of 14C recovery process, obtaining experimental portion of enriched product (ca. 50 Ci of 14C).
5. Production and testing of pioneering portion of a labeled compound, with recovered 14C as label.
6. Establishment of procedures for waste and enriched material transportation between the collaborators. Development of a set of recommendations related to crossing the national borders of the countries involved procedure optimization. Preliminary Business plan establishment.


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