Production of radioactive tracers at Amersham Int.

Production of radioactive tracers at Amersham Int.

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Credit: DAVID PARKER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Preparation of technetium-99m (Tc-99m) isotope generators, used as sources of radioactive tracers for gamma ray scintigraphy in hospital nuclear medicine departments. Here at Amersham International, radioactive molybdenum-99 (a fission product of a nuclear reactor) is dispensed by remote control into the columns of the generators inside a "shielded facility". The glass windows contain a lead compound, which accounts for their yellow-green colour. Tc-99m is short- lived (its radioactive decay rate, or half-life, is 6 hours), so a generator fuelled by its longer-lived parent isotope, molybdenum-99, is utilised as a continuous, short-term source.

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Keywords: amersham international, amertec ii generator, energy, handle, handling, hazard, industry, isotope, lead, nuclear medicine, processing, radiation, radiation shield, radiation shielding, radioactive, radioactivity, tc-99m, technetium generator, technology

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