Origin of radioactive space material finally identified

Two small stars that collided thousands of years ago are at least partly responsible for a strange signature astronomers are seeking to understand.

Over 2,500 years ago, two small stars collided. The collision produced an outburst called a red nova, which then slowly cooled, producing molecular gas and dust. By the time the light from the nova reached Earth in 1670, astronomers were already keenly observing heavens with telescopes. They noted the event and kept records as the outburst faded over nearly two years. Recently, astronomers took a closer look at the remnant and saw a something never seen in space before — an object producing radioactive elements. Read more.

Tumour treatment isotope to be made at Bruce-8

Bruce Power is set to place medical-grade cobalt into unit 8 of its nuclear power plant in Ontario, meaning all four Bruce B units will now produce high specific activity (HSA) cobalt, which is used to treat brain tumours worldwide.

HSA cobalt is used as an alternative to traditional brain surgery and radiation therapy for the treatment of complex brain conditions through a specialised, non-invasive knife, which uses gamma radiation to focus 200 microscopic beams of radiation on a tumour or other target. It minimises damage to healthy tissue and lowers side-effects compared to traditional therapy in some cases. Read more.

Modular fluidic system developed to supply radioisotope used in targeted alpha therapy

Astatine-211 shows promise for treating certain cancers, but it's hard to get enough to study. Researchers developed a better way by creating an automated process. The team translated a complex manual chemical process for isolating astatine-211 into three modules that work quickly and efficiently to produce a high-quality product. Currently, the system is being evaluated for its performance and consistency. Read more.

Newly launched TRACER center offers enhanced dating and tracer capabilities

A ribbon-cutting ceremony has been held to formally open the Argonne TRACER Center (Trace Radioisotope Analysis Center) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory. The TRACER Center provides a new, permanent home for the nation’s only laser-based krypton atom-counting machine. The center employs a novel technique called Atom Trap Trace Analysis (ATTA) that captures and counts isotopes of the rare element krypton (Kr) to determine the age of ice and groundwater. One of only a few such devices in the world, it provides valuable information about the dynamics, flow rates and direction of water in aquifers, particularly those vital to arid regions. Read more.

Thorium: A Source of Multiple Medical Isotopes

Proton-irradiated thorium targets are successfully mined for therapeutic radium isotopes.

Researchers developed a new method to recover radium isotopes for cancer treatment. The process begins with the dissolved proton-irradiated thorium target solution. The process then takes the solution through a series of columns. In each column, different isotopes bind to the different substrates the column contains. With the anticipated scale-up to large thorium targets, dozens of patient treatment doses would be available for recovery from a single production process. Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Isotope Team devised the method with collaborators from Brookhaven National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Read more.