Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya Energetika

The peer-reviewed scientific and technology journal. ISSN: 0204-3327

Experience in the Production of 99Mo from Low Enriched Uranium

12/16/2023 2023 - #04 application of nuclear tech

Kochnov O.Yu. Stepanov V.I. Pakholik D.A. Kolesov V.V. Nikulin E.V.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.26583/npe.2023.4.09

UDC: 621.039

The key industrial method for producing 99Mo is production of the radionuclide as one of the 235U fission fragments. 235U is irradiated with neutrons in a nuclear reactor (both heterogeneous and homogeneous nuclear reactors can be used) and then processed in radiochemical laboratories, where 99Mo is chemically extracted from fission products.

Both highly enriched uranium (HEU) and low enriched uranium (LEU) can be used to produce 99Mo by the fragmentation method. To date, almost all world producers, with the exception of Russia, are either in the final stages of transferring production from highly enriched uranium to low enriched uranium, or are already producing 99Mo using LEU. This is due to the problems of non-proliferation of nuclear materials and the prevention of the likelihood of terrorist threats.

A number of experimental studies have been carried out on the basis of the VVR-ts research reactor. Experimental studies included the study of the effect of LEU targets on the reactivity reserve of the VVR-ts reactor, irradiation of these targets in experimental channels and separation of 99Mo from them.

The paper presents the results of producing and separating of 99Mo from targets with LEU material. It is shown that it is necessary to improve the processing technology to increase the production of fragmented 99Mo from LEU.


  1. World Nuclear Association. Radioisotopes in Medicine. Available at: https://www.world-nuclear.org (accessed July 10, 2022).
  2. Molybdenum-99. Russian Nuclear Community. Available at: www.atomic-energy.ru (accessed Jul. 12, 2022) (in Russian).
  3. Review of Potential Molybdenum-99/Techetium-99m Production Technologies. Nuclear Energy Agency. OECD, 2010, 74 p.
  4. Non-HEU production technologies for molybdenum-99 and technetium-99m. Vienna. In-ternational Atomic Energy Agency, 2013, 75 p.
  5. R.G. Muranaka. Conversion of research reactors to low enriched uranium fuel. IAEA Bulletin. V. 25, no. 1, pp. 20–24. Available at: https://www.iaea.org/sites/default/files/25105381821_ru.pdf (accessed Jul. 20, 2022) (in Russian).
  6. Program for converting civilian nuclear research reactors and molybdenum-99 production targets from HEU to LEU. Moscow. GK Rosatom Publ., 2012 (in Russian).
  7. Zevyakin A.S., Kolesov V.V., Sobolev A.V., Kochnov O.Yu. Possibility for using a low enriched target to produce 99Mo in the MAK-2 research channel of the VVR-ts reactor. Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya energetika. 2022, no. 1, pp. 35–44. DOI: https://doi.org/10.26583/npe.2022.1.03 (in Russian).
  8. Pakholik D.A., Kochnov O.Yu., Chusov I.A., Kolesov V.V. Computational study into thermal-hydraulic characteristics of container units for 99Мо production. VANT. Ser. Fizika yadernykh reaktorov. 2021, iss. 2, pp. 77–83 (in Russian).
  9. Kochnov O.Yu., Pakholik D.A., Nikulin Ye.V., Kolesov V.V. Determining the temperature reactivity coefficient of the VVR-ts reactor in the operating temperature range. Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya energetika. 2022, no. 4, pp. 19–27. DOI: https://doi.org/10.26583/npe.2022.4.02 (in Russian).
  10. Technetium-99m generator of the GT-4K type. Available at: http://www.karpovipc.ru/index.php/2-uncategorised/75-generator-technecia-99t?ysclid=ln1x5ejee410024742 (accessed Aug. 20, 2022).

fragmentation 99Mo research reactor VVR-ts highly enriched uranium low enriched uranium target for 99Mo production

Link for citing the article: Kochnov O.Yu., Stepanov V.I., Pakholik D.A., Kolesov V.V., Nikulin E.V. Experience in the Production of 99Mo from Low Enriched Uranium. Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya Energetika. 2023, no. 4, pp. 111-118; DOI: https://doi.org/10.26583/npe.2023.4.09 (in Russian).