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Utilization of Heavy Water


Utilization of Heavy Water of Nuclear Industry in Biology and Medicine

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-RWT/Radioactive Waste Treatment/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
NPO Mayak, Russia, Chelyabinsk reg., Oziorsk

Supporting institutes

  • Mendeleev Chemical Technological University, Russia, Moscow\nInstitute of Molecular Genetics, Russia, Moscow\nState Scientific Center of Genetics and Selection of Industrial Microorganisms (GosNIIGenetica), Russia, Moscow

Project summary

The project objective is to solve the task of the utilization of heavy water wastes (formed at the shut down of power and industrial nuclear installations), the catching of tritium at the atomic engineering enterprises by the chemical isotope exchange method and realization of synthesis labelled by deuterium and tritium compounds in connection with the biological and medical purposes on the basis of isotopic pure products during the reprocessing of these wastes.

Currently Russia does not have its own industrial production of heavy water and at the same time has vast heavy water wastes volumes. These wastes, containing remarkable amount of deuterium (more then 50 at. %) and as a rule impured by tritium (about 0.01-10 Ci/l), are formed as a result of overtime operation of nuclear reactors of perse usage or in the course of a number of special technological processes of nuclear industry'. Economic utilization of these water wastes, having isotope pure products (heavy water and gaseous tritium) as a result, will make it possible to supply a number of industries of Russia (for example, production of isotope labelled medical and biologically active compounds) by expensive raw materials and will also ensure export possibilities of Russia. One of the most effective ways of heavy water wastes reprocessing is the technology based on separation by the method of chemical isotope exchange between hydrogen and hydrogen-containing substance. Water is used as a hydrogen partner at: 1. the process of deuterium concentration up to practically pure deuterium 2. the initial concentration of tritium. For final concentration of tritium it is expedient to use hydrides of palladium or some intermetallic compounds.

Many years of research works, carried out at RChTU, have resulted in the creation of physico-chemical data base for mis technology and solving the main scientific problems connected with utilization of the above mentioned working systems of chemical isotope exchange. This made it possible to realize this process, at least, on experimental industrial scale. PA "Mayak" is supposed to create design documentation for the construction of the installation using this technology. At the same time RChTU will create the pilot separation module uniting both working systems and making it possible to carry out the isotopic purification of tritium containing heavy-water medium excluding the formation of radioactive wastes with simultaneous yield of conditional heavy water and gaseous tritium. The experience of this module operation will be taken into account while working out of design documentation. At the same time, it is supposed to use all separation module or its components for regeneration process of the wastes containing the corresponding isotope which are formed during the synthesis of biologically active and other labelled compounds which increases the economical benefit and ecological cleanliness of this production.

Thus, for example, imperfection of the known methods of obtaining of the compounds labelled by tritium including the successfully developed methods at IMG RAS is the formatting of highly active tritium containing wastes. It is possible to create practically wasteless technology of obtaining high active tritium labelled compound on the basis of the process of chemical isotope exchange in radioactive resistant systems with solid phase developed by RChTU.

The method of obtaining of high deuterium biologically active compounds by the biotechnological conversion of simple (low molecular labelled compounds) will be developed to make the production of compounds labelled by deuterium cheaper and to widen their nomenclature. This method is based on the research works carried out at SIGSIM and is included the use of specially selected stamms capable to sustain the metabolic processes in the medium with maximum level of deuterium content. With the use of methylotrophic bacterium being grown in СD3ОD and D2O medium it is supposed to achieve the amine acid, nucleining components of cells (inozine and timidium). The technological cycles also includes regeneration of deuterium containing wastes by the method worked out by RChTU.

Thus, as a result of the realization of the project, it is intended to create wasteless technology of separation of tritium containing isotope mixtures of hydrogen by the method of chemical isotope exchange. The pilot sample of universal separation module will be created for solving the above mentioned tasks and using this experience the project of experimental industrial installations will be worked out. Heavy water and gaseous tritium, obtained as a result of heavy water wastes reprocessing, will be used for working out of the new methods of obtaining of wide range of biologically active compounds and the medicine substances labelled by deuteruim and tritium. The isotope containing wastes formed at their synthesis will be also regenerated.

Potential role of foreign collaborator

Foreign collaborator will take part in working out of the equipment in accordance with the international standard of regeneration system of tririum wastes formed at the synthesis of compounds labelled by it.


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