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Isotope Sciences Program


Hot Cell work

We prepare and ship ultra-pure strontium-90 for various medical, industrial, and research applications. Strontium-90 is a radioactive isotope of the element strontium. Strontium-90 is produced in nuclear reactor fuel as a uranium fission product. It has a physical half-life of 28.8 years. Strontium-90 decays by pure beta-emission (100%, Emax = 0.546 MeV) to its daughter product yttrium-90.

We prepare strontium-90 chloride from strontium carbonate that was originally produced at the Hanford Site north of Richland as a waste byproduct of uranium fission during the plutonium-production era. Highly purified strontium-90 has been stripped of uranium, plutonium, and other trace contaminants associated with plutonium production.

Strontium-90 has both medical and industrial applications. Strontium-90 titanate (or fluoride) in large amounts generates much heat and can be used in a shielded configuration as an electrical power source. Strontium-90 radioisotope thermal generators have been used in Alaska, Canada, and Russia to provide continuous electrical power at remote monitoring locations.

Strontium-90 is used medically as the radioactive source in arterial stents (in patients with blocked arteries) to help maintain blood flow.

Stainless steel probes tipped with strontium-90 are used to treat excess capillary growth in the eye as a treatment for wet-form macular degeneration. Strontium-90 is also the primary source of its decay daughter-product yttrium-90, which has many applications as a radiopharmaceutical in cancer treatment.

Isotope Program