The “fuel,” which is to invoke a separation reaction in the liquid homogenous reactors, is the “uranyl salt,” composing of maximum 19.75% uranium-253 isotope (enriched uranium). The “liquid solution” prepared with this salt, which easily dissolves in water, is poured into a spherical or cylindrical container after being prepared in mass capable of self-sustaining the nuclear reactions. The temperature emerging during the nuclear separation reaction must be mitigated out of the setting to prevent the solution temperature from exceeding 90°C.
Aside from Molybdenum-99, other valuable radioisotopes of the nuclear medicine, such as Xe-133, Sr-89, Y-90, I-131, are among the separation products emerging during the separation of the uranium. During the process, a certain amount of uranyl nitrate solution is extracted and involved in the “chemical cleaning” process to ensure continuous separation of these radioisotopes. The figure below demonstrates the chart of ARGUS Solution Reactor which is operated at the Kurchatov Institute in Russia.
Dating back to as far as 45-50 years, 30 Solution Reactors have been manufactured up until now. A wide operational knowledge and data is available regarding the operation of these reactors, whose thermal powers range between 0,05 Watt and 5 MW.
Based on the calculations, the Solution Reactors are positioned to attract interest once again, thanks to their features such as high Mo-99 production efficiency, low cost, small need for “critical mass,” passive security systems, simplified fuel processes, and cleaning characteristics.
International Atomic Energy Agency has also suggested the Solution Reactors as a serious alternative* to ensure more efficient use of medical radioisotopes (Mo-99), whose supply has been constrained due to the closure of the expired production reactors around the world, for human health purposes.
The fact that the manufacturing and design calculations of the Solution Reactors involve codes such as ANSYS CFX 14 is an important driving force for FİGES to assume a leading role in this field.
* IAEA, Production and Supply of Molybdenum-99, Nuclear Technology