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Yttrium-90 Generator Creation for the Medical Purposes


The Study of Strontium and Yttrium Extraction Separation Conditions, and Yttrium-90 Generator Creation for the Medical Purposes

Tech Area / Field

  • FIR-ISO/Isotopes/Fission Reactors

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Khlopin Radium Institute, Russia, St Petersburg

Project summary

Isotopes of strontium-89 and yttrium-90 are finding more and more application for the purposes of nuclear medicine thanks to their properties such as a short half-life period (Т1/2 89Sr = 53,6 days, T1/2 90Y = 64,3 hours), high energy of beta-particles, absence of gamma-quanta, possibility to obtain isotopes of high specific activity without carrier.

At the present time no any simple and reliable method to obtain these isotopes is available. Chromatographic and extraction methods serve as the main methods to reach these isotopes. These methods are applied to separate strontium-89 from stable yttrium-88 after irradiation of yttrium oxide target in nuclear reactor and also for yttrium-90 separation from strontium-90 parent isotope. Strontium-90 isotope is to be extracted from spent nuclear fuel, where it is contained in sizeable quantities.

Imperfections of methods applied for the extraction of strontium-89 and yttrium-90 isotopes are mainly determined with the fact that strontium and yttrium separation degrees are not enough high that causes the necessity to realize processes at a lot of extraction or sorption stages, as well as generation of large amounts of special and remainder solutions making difficulties for further procedure conduction.

The extragent based on chlorinated cobalt dicarbollide (CCD) and polyethylene glycol (PEG) efficiently extracts strontium from aqueous solutions of various compositions. At that it is possible to reach optimal conditions, when all yttrium will be remained in aqueous phase. In addition, extragent based on CCD and PEG is characterized with a very high radiation stability that makes it to be favorably differed from a lot of other extragents. This property is to be especially important in processes with radioactive isotopes, which radiation brings destructive effect to extragents.

It is supposed to carry out the complete cycle of laboratory researches studying strontium and yttrium extraction behavior, and to create and to test yttrium-90 generator. The planned work will include:

  • The study of strontium and yttrium extraction from solutions of various compositions to the extragent based of CCD.
  • Mathematical model development, and designing of optimal operation conditions for the generator of yttrium-90.
  • Creation of yttrium-90 generator on basis of extraction and extraction-and-chromatographic technique, and testing of the generator of yttrium-90 containing tens millicurie of strontium-90 during several months of operation.
  • Elaboration of proposals for further improvement of generator.


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