Radioactive Waste Issues Related to Production of Fission-based 99Mo by using Low Enriched Uranium (LEU)

저농축 우라늄을 사용하는 핵분열 몰리브덴-99 생산에 관련된 방사성 폐기물 연구

  • Received : 2014.12.05
  • Accepted : 2015.05.11
  • Published : 2015.08.31


Technetium-99m (99mTc) is an important, short-lived decay product of molybdenum-99 (99Mo), and it is considered the backbone of the modern nuclear diagnostic procedures. Since fission of 235U is the main source of production of 99Mo, either highly-enriched uranium (HEU) targets or low-enriched uranium (LEU) targets are irradiated in the research reactors. The use of LEU targets is being promoted by the international community to avoid the proliferation issues linked with the use of HEU. In order to define the waste management strategy at the planning stage of establishment of an LEU based 99Mo production facility, the impact of the use of LEU targets on the radioactive waste stream of the 99Mo production facility was analyzed. Because the volume of uranium waste is estimated to increase six times, the use of high uranium density targets and the utilization of hot isostatic pressing were recommended to reduce the increased waste volume from the use of LEU based targets.


Molybdenum-99;Low Enriched Uranium;Target;Radioactive Waste


  1. E.R. Vance, S.A. Moricca, and M.W.A. Steward, “Progress at ANSTO on a SYNROC plant for intermediate-level waste from reactor production of 99Mo”, Advances in Science and Technology, 94, 38-48 (2014).
  2. R. M. van Kleef, K. A. Duijves, and H. D. K. Codée, “Radioactive Waste Treatment from Mo-99 Production Facility in the Netherlands”, Proc. of WM’01 Conference, February 25-March 1, Tucson, AZ, 2001.
  3. M.E.M. Rego, R. Vicente, and G. Hiromoto, “Temporal evolution of activities in wastes from Mo-99 production” International Nuclear Atlantic Conference - INAC 2011, October 24-28, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil, 2011.
  4. International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA), “Production and Supply of Molybdenum-99”, 1, Vienna, Austria (2010).
  5. T. W. Bowyer, R. Kephart, P. W. Eslinger, J. I. Friese, H. S. Miley, and P. R. J. Saey, “Maximum reasonable radioxenon releases from medical isotope production facilities and their effect on monitoring nuclear explosions,” J. Environ. Radioact., 115, 192–200 (2013).
  6. International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA), "Preliminary investigations for technology assessment of 99Mo production from LEU targets", IAEA-TEDOC-515, 99-114, Vienna, Austria (1989).
  7. D.Wu, S. Landsberger, B.A. Buchholz, and G.F. Vandegrift, “Processsing of LEU Targets for Mo-99 Production – Testing and Modification of the CINTICHEM Process” International meeting on reduced enrichment for research and test reactors, September 18-21, Paris, France, 1995.
  8. H.J. Ryu, Y.J. Jeong, J.M. Nam, and J.M. Park, “Metallurgical considerations for the fabrication of low-enriched uranium dispersion targets with a high uranium density for Mo-99 production”, J. Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, 305, 31-39 (2015).
  9. H.J. Ryu, C.K. Kim, M.S. Sim, J.M. Park, and J.H. Lee, “Development of High-Density U/Al Dispersion Plates for Mo-99 Production using Atomized Uranium Powder”, Nuclear Engineering and Technology, 45, 979-985 (2013).
  10. International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA), IAEATECDOC-1051, Management of radioactive waste from 99Mo production, 1, Vienna, Austria (1998).
  11. U.S. Department of Energy, "RERTR: Reduced Enrichment of Research and Test Reactors", Accessed April 21, 2015. Available form:
  12. Committee on Medical Isotope Production without Highly Enriched Uranium, "Medical Isotope Production without Highly Enriched Uranium," National Research Council Report, 103-104, The National Academies Press, Washington, DC (2009).
  13. A. Mushtaq, M. Iqbal, and A. Muhammad, “Management of radioactive waste from molybdenum-99 production using low enriched uranium foil target and modified CINTICHEM process,” J. Radioanal. Nucl. Chem., 281, 379–392 (2009).
  14. R. Muenze, G. J. Beyer, R. Ross, G. Wagner, D. Novotny, E. Franke, M. Jehangir, S. Pervez, and A. Mush taq , “The Fission-Based 99Mo Production Process ROMOL-99 and Its Application to PINSTECH Islamabad”, Science and Technology of Nuclear Installations, 3 (2013).
  15. International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA), GSG-1, Classification of Radioactive Waste, 11-15, Vienna, Austria (2009).
  16. International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA), "Feasibility of Producing Molybdenum-99 on a Small Scale Using Fission of Low Enriched Uranium or Neutron Activation of Natural Molybdenum", IAEA Technical Reports Series No. 478, Vienna, Austria (2015).
  17. S. Dittrich, “History and Actual State of Non-HEU Fission-Based Mo-99 Production with Low-Performance Research Reactors”, Science and Technology of Nuclear Installations, vol. 2013, Article ID 514894, 9, 2013. Available from: doi:10.1155/2013/514894.
  18. R.M.van Kleef and K.A. Duijves, “Radioactive Waste Treatment from Mo-99 Production Facility in the Netherlands”, WM’01 Conference, Feb 25-Mar.1, Tucson, AZ, USA, 2001.
  19. A. Mushtaq, “Specifications and qualification of uranium/aluminum alloy plate target for the production of fission molybdenum-99”, Nuclear Engineering and Design, 241, 163-167 (2011).
  20. S. Jayaraman and L.H. Lanzl, Clinical Radiotherapy Physics, 2nd ed., 40, Springer, New York (2004).
  21. F.N. Von Hippel and L.H. Kahn “Feasibility of Eliminating the Use of Highly Enriched Uranium in the Production of Medical Radioisotopes”, Science & Global Security: The Technical Basis for Arms Control, Disarmament, and Nonproliferation Initiatives, 14(2-3), 151-162 (2006).