Irradiation of the LEU targets in CVŘ

The LVR-15 reactor is one of the facilities where the radionuclides for medical purposes are produced. One of those radionuclides is technetium, which is used in many types of organs’ scanning devices and thus allows medical professionals to carry out reliable diagnostics of diseases such as tumors, heart or breathing problems.

The process of supply from the production point is complicated by the quick process of degradation of 99mTc, which half-life is 6 hours.  Because of that it is impossible to stock technetium and to transport it to long distances.  That is why first the enriched uranium is irradiated in the reactor, it leads to the creation of Molybdenum (99Mo), which half-life is 66 hours. The half-life of 99Mo is sufficient for its processing and transportation to world destinations.

Most of the produced 99Mo nowadays is based on the irradiation of highly enriched uranium.  According to the general trend of lowering of the uranium enrichment in order to minimize the risk of its misuse the process is also subject to downblending. The LVR-15 reactor is one of a few reactors which are fully adjusted for the irradiation of the low enriched targets (see picture).