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Isotope Sciences Program


yttrium-90 Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed a process to make ultrapure yttrium-90, an important material for cancer therapy.

Yttrium-90 is an ideal medical isotope: short physical half-life (64 hours) and pure beta-emitter with a high average beta energy (934 keV), suitable as the therapeutic agent on a monoclonal antibody for targeting cancer cells or as the active ingredient in glass microspheres used in treating liver tumors. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed improved chemistry for producing ultra-pure yttrium-90 for medical applications. Yttrium-90 is produced by high-purity separation from strontium-90, a fission product of uranium in a nuclear reactor. PNNL's technology has been licensed to industry resulting in Y-90 being available for sale from the commercial sector.

Isotope Program