A thermal hydraulics analysis of a molybdenum production element for implementation in TRIGA reactors Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/fx719s71f

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  • The metastable isotope of technetium-99 (Tc-99m) is an important diagnostic tool used in the field of nuclear medicine due to the isotope's 6.0 hour half-life, 140.5 keV γ-decay mechanism, and multiple oxidation states [1,2]. Approximately 70% of the world’s nuclear medicine procedures involve the use of Tc-99m [3]. The conventional source of Tc-99m comes from the β-decay of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), an isotope which may be produced via the fission of uranium-235 (U-235) atoms [2]. As Mo-99 has a half-life of 2.7 hours [2]; it is difficult to produce anything but short-term stockpiles of Tc-99m. A handful of geographically dispersed facilities maintain a continuous production of Mo-99 via U-235 fission as a means to satisfy the demand of nuclear medicine worldwide [4]. However, 96% of all Mo-99 production is concentrated among only 4 facilities [4]. This centralized production dynamic has been shown to leave the world susceptible to Tc-99m shortages in the event of multiple reactor shutdowns [5]. Oregon State University (OSU) has undertaken a study to investigate the safety of implementing a fueled experiment, known as the molybdenum element, within the OSU TRIGA® reactor (OSTR) for the purpose of producing Mo-99. This study investigates both steady-state and select transient conditions within the OSTR core with the use of the lumped parameter code RELAP5-3D version 2.4.2. Key thermal hydraulic parameters which may impact the safety of the OSTR are identified and presented, and discussed herein.
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