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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Development of a Large-Scale Iodine-125 Production System at UC Davis/MNRC


The demand for iodine-125 (125I) as a medical radioisotope for use in the treatment of prostate cancer continues to increase. However, due to uncertainties with current commercial production facilities, potential supply issues have emerged prompting several reactors worldwide to consider the development and installation of large-scale 125I production facilities. In 2002, MNRC installed and operated successfully for ~ 1.5 years, a closed loop system using aluminum material for containment of the enriched 124Xe (99%) target during irradiation. However, problems with design features and restrictions on serviceability and repairs ultimately forced MNRC to abandon it as a first target failure resulted in high contamination levels in the whole system which further restricted personnel accessibility. Today, a new target and a multi-compartment (modular) transport and decay system with automatic operation and dispensing of high-level batches of 125I and with ready access for maintenance and repairs have been designed to resume 125I production activities. The new operating conditions provide ample opportunities for increased production with shorter irradiation times.

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