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Radionuclide Production

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Radionuclide Production

The SLOWPOKE reactor can be used to produce significant amounts of radioactivity for use as tracers in industrial processes. When exposed to the neutrons in the reactor core some nuclei will capture a neutron becoming radioactive. The process is identical to that used for neutron activation analysis. For example, sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) can be irradiated in the reactor, producing 24Na. The radioactive sodium carbonate is chemically identical to normal sodium carbonate. Once injected into a process the gamma-rays emitted by the 24Na can be observed with many types of detectors and the flow of the tracer through the process can reveal valuable information about flow blockages and structure problems inside sealed vessels. The process is similar to taking an x-ray photograph of a process. The 24Na has a half-life of 14.959 hours so after a week the activity of the 24Na will have decayed to 1.2% of the original activity. After three weeks the 24Na will be completely gone.

The SLOWPOKE Facility only produces the radionuclides and doesn't run tracer experiments. Contact us and we can refer you to professionals who can advise you.

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