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Seminar: An Approach to Designing Isotope Production Capsules for Research Reactors

Dr. Richard Howard, Oak Ridge National Labs
Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 11:10 am to 12:05 pm
E141 Scott Lab
201 W. 19th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43210

Over the last decade global radioisotope supply chains were shown to be somewhat vulnerable to disruption. The most obvious instance of instability was the 2009 interruption of production of 99Mo which yields 99mTc; a radiotracer used for various medical diagnostic procedures. In order to avoid future shortages of valuable radioisotopes, various organizations have strived to develop alternate sources for production. This effort includes utilizing research reactor sites, with the necessary production and processing infrastructure, to establish production facilities to guarantee current and future supply chains remain uninterrupted. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is spearheading much of this work in the US, developing isotope production capsules for use in domestic irradiation facilities such as the High Flus Isotope Reactor (HFIR), Advanced Test Reactor (ATR). This discussion describes the various processes used to design and qualify irradiation capsules for use in research reactors; with HFIR as the template. Specific capsules include High Specific Activity 60Co and 192Ir production formats, but others will be discussed in less detail to provide context.

About the Speaker

Richard Howard is a research staff engineer with the Thermal Hydraulics and Irradiation Engineering Group (THIEG) in the Reactor and Nuclear Systems Division (RNSD). He joined the THIEG in 2011 to design and manage irradiation experiments to be performed at the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR). His work supports the life extension of nuclear reactors, creates isotopes for industrial and medical uses, and progresses of Fuel Cycle R&D. While with the THIEG, Richard worked to successfully develop and improve several high visibility programs such as domestic 238Pu production, Used Fuel Disposition, resumption of domestic High Specific Activity 60Co production, and the Accident Tolerant Fuels; among others. To date he has authored or co-authored over 30 refereed journal articles, technical reports and conference papers.

Mr. Howard is currently pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Tennessee. He received a Master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering at North Carolina State University in 2012, where he focused on computational thermal-hydraulics coupled with neutron transport models to simulate and enhance reactor core performance. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Auburn University in 2009.

Hosted by Professor Raymond Cao and Professor Vaibhav Sinha