The tungsten-188/rhenium-188 generator: Effective coordination of tungsten-188 production between the HFIR and BR2 reactors.

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    • Abstract:
      The rapidly increasing therapeutic applications of 188Re in nuclear medicine, oncology and interventional cardiology require routine production of large, multi-Curie levels of the 188W parent. The capability and effective coordination of back-up production sites is important to insure that high level 188W/188Re generators are continually available. We have coordinated 188W production at the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR - Oak Ridge, US) with production at the BR2 Reactor (Mol, Belgium) characterized by peak thermal neutron fluxes of 2.51·015 (HFIR) and 1·1015 (BR2) neutrons/cm2·sec, respectively. The long 69-day physical half-life permits receipt of 188W from BR2 within 0.25 T1/2's, even after the 12-day post irradiation cooling required for 187W decay (T1/2 = 24 hours). Since 188W production by double neutron capture of enriched 186W is a function of the square of the thermal neutron flux, HFIR production (4-5 Ci 188W/g 186W/cycle) is higher than at the BR2 (1.0-1.1 Ci/g 186W/cycle). However, the specific activity (SA) of BR2-produced 188W is still about 0.8-0.9 Ci/g after processing at ORNL following shipment from Belgium. This SA is sufficiently high to permit fabrication of 1 Ci generators suitable for clinical use, since simple post elution concentration of the saline bolus (30-50 ml) obtained from the generator can provide samples with high specific volume (1 ml volume). The time periods from reactor “push' in Mol and completion of processing, fabrication and shipment of generators from Oak Ridge have been 19-21 days. Six “campaigns' have been successfully completed since 1998, with processed levels of 188W in Oak Ridge from 8-26 Curies/campaign. 188W has been provided to MAP Medical technologies Oy (Tikkakoski, Finland) for fabrication and distribution of generators for use at IAEA-supported research projects in developing countries. We have thus established and demonstrated an effective collaboration between the Studiecentrum voor Kernenergie-Centre d'Etude de l'Energie Nucléaire (SCK·CEN) and ORNL for back-up production of 188W. This collaboration continues to be especially helpful during periods when interruption of HFIR operation is necessary for maintenance and upgrades. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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