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Reduced Enrichment for Research and Test Reactors
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Abstracts and Available Papers Presented at the
2002 International RERTR Meeting

THE LEU TARGET DEVELOPMENT AND CONVERSION PROGRAM FOR THE MAPLE REACTORS AND NEW PROCESSING FACILITY

G. R. MALKOSKE, B. Sc. Eng., P. Eng.

Vice-President, Engineering & Technology
MDS Nordion
447 March Road
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K2K 1X8

ABSTRACT

Historically, the production of molybdenum-99 in the NRU research reactors at Chalk River, Canada has been extracted from reactor targets employing highly enriched uranium (HEU). A reliable supply of HEU metal from the United States used in the manufacture of targets for the NRU research reactor has been a key factor to enable MDS Nordion to develop a secure supply of medical isotopes for the international nuclear medicine community. The molybdenum extraction process from HEU targets provides predictable, consistent yields for our high-volume molybdenum production process. Each link of the isotope supply chain, from isotope production to ultimate use by the physician, has been established using this proven and established method of HEU target irradiation and processing to extract molybdenum-99.

To ensure a continued reliable and timely supply of medical isotopes, MDS Nordion is completing the construction of two MAPLE reactors and a New Processing Facility. The design of the MAPLE facilities was based on an established process developed by Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) extraction of isotopes from HEU target material. However, in concert with the global trend to utilize low enriched uranium (LEU) in research reactors, MDS Nordion has launched a three phase LEU Target Development and Conversion Program for the MAPLE facilities. Phase 1, the Initial Feasibility Study, which identified the technical issues to convert the MAPLE reactor targets from HEU to LEU for large scale commercial production was reported on at the RERTR- 2000 conference.

The second phase of the LEU Target Development and Conversion Program was developed with extensive consultation and involvement of experts knowledgeable in target development, process system design, enriched uranium conversion chemistry and commercial scale reactor operations and molybdenum production. This paper will provide an overview of the Phase 2 Conversion Development Program, report on progress to date, and further discuss the challenges in converting the MAPLE facilities to molybdenum production from LEU targets.

The second phase will be completed by the end of calendar year 2003 and would lead into the third phase, the implementation of the LEU Target Development and Conversion Program, which, if technically and economically feasible, is expected it would be completed in 2007.


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Contact:
Mr. Grant Malkoske

Vice President
MDS Nordion
Engineering and Technology
447 March Road, Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K2K 1X8,
Phone: (1 613) 592 3400, ext. 2041
Fax: (1 613) 591 7449
E-mail: gmalkoske@mds.nordion.com

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Last modified on July 29, 2008 11:34 +0200