Radionuclides production

ILL is the leading European research centre in neutron science and technology. ILL operates the most intense neutron source in the world supplying neutrons to a suite of over 40 high-performance instruments mainly for neutron scattering. Some 1500 researchers from over 40 countries visit the ILL each year in fundamental and applied science. The ILL high-flux reactor RHF also provides in-pile positions – the V4 beam tube – with up to 1.5·1015 n.cm-2s-1, the highest thermal neutron flux available in Europe, ideal for production of radionuclides with high specific activity.

ILL performs neutron irradiations to transmute part of the sample to the intended radionuclides. The active sample is then shipped in a shielded cask to the collaborating partner, usually an experienced radiochemistry laboratory, to perform a radiochemical separation/purification before final use. The ILL reactor belongs to the global network of high-flux reactors that are irradiating samples to produce Lu-177 and W-188 (as generator of Re-188). In bilateral collaborations with external partners (PSI, DTU, NCBJ, CERN, etc.), ILL pioneered production of non-conventional radionuclides for scientific and medical applications that are not commercially available: Sc-47, Pd-103, Ag-111, Cs-131, Tb-161, Er-169, Yb-175, etc. These collaborations enabled first radiochemical or preclinical experiments demonstrating the advantages of the respective radionuclides.

Within PRISMAP, ILL will perform irradiations of solid or gaseous samples with subsequent radiochemical separation at other PRISMAP facilities.