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Isotopes Recovery for Te-125 Generator


Development of Methods for Antimony-125 Recovery from Spent Fuel and Separation of Tellurium-125m from Antimony-125 for Production of Te-125m Radionuclide Generator

Tech Area / Field

  • FIR-ISO/Isotopes/Fission Reactors

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Novozhilov V V

Leading Institute
Khlopin Radium Institute, Russia, St Petersburg

Project summary

Antimony-125 is a radionuclide with a half-life of 2.76 years. According to gamma-spectrum properties (the most intensive components) this radionuclide resembles the well known cesium-137. Taking into consideration the difference in their half-life, gamma-sources for intratissual and intraperivisceral radiation therapy of significantly smaller size can be produced on the base of 125Sb, rather then 137Cs at a similar activity. Decrease in the size of the source is the most important for intratissual therapy, i.e. for medical treatment of the wide-spread breast-cancer.

Nowadays antimony-125 compounds are produced from neutron-irradiated tin-124 basically for production of Moessbauer-sources. The objective of the project proposed is investigation of processes of antimony-125 extraction from the wastes of nuclear fuel reprocessing, and development of a method suitable for production of considerable volume of this radionuclide under conditions of hot cell.

It’s also known that of b-decay antimony-125 generates tellurium-125m. The gamma-spectrum of this radionuclide is practically coincident with that of iodine-125, which is used for intratissual ray therapy.

With regard to the fact, that tellurium has a lower volatility than iodine as well as a lower category of radiation hazard, study of the processes of separation of antimony-125 and tellurium-125m is planned as one of the stages of the work proposed.

It is supposed to carry out research of chemical behavior of antimony (III, V) and tellurium (IV, VI) in various aqueous and organic environment including in the presence of fussion elements, namely:

- study of extraction and extraction-chromatographic systems for separation and purification of fission antimony-125;
- research of sorption of fussion elements with known and newly synthesized inorganic sorbents with reference to the problem of extraction of 125Sb from wastes of reprocessing of nuclear fuel;
- analysis of known and development of new sorption extration and thermochromatographic methods for separation of antimony and tellurium.

The final of these studies is development and perspective production of a radionuclide 125mTe high-power generator based on fission antimony-125.

Commercial worth of the proposal is determined by promising production of radionuclide sources and antimony-125 and tellurium-125m compounds for medical and technical needs.

Scientific importance of the proposal lies in gaining new information about these elements, insufficiently studied under conditions of reprocessing of radioactive wastes.

Participating in the project of experts who worked in the field of nuclear technologies before (incl. work for military needs) makes it possible (even if partly) to reorientate their activity for the questions connected with developing public health.

In the studies of extraction equilibria, ion exchange, sorption on inorganic sorbents and extraction chromatography, and thermochromatography of the systems under consideration radiometry, a -, b-, g-spectrometry, X-ray diffraction analysis, UV-vis, IR and Msbauer spectroscopy is going to be used.

Los-Alamos National laboratory (USA) and some companies putting out radionuclide production are interested in realization of this project.


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