ITD develops and manufactures the technology and equipment for safe production of [131I]sodium iodide solution.
Our equipment for [131I]iodine production enables the safe, reliable and quickly repeatable production of up to 740 GBq of [131I]iodine (20 Ci) and the accompanying tellurium target activity per batch and production box. Several production runs can be carried out per day. The capacity amounts to 150-180 g of irradiated tellurium dioxide per batch within ~ 1.5 to 2 h. The equipment for the safe [131I]iodine production is used for the release of [131I]iodine from neutron-irradiated tellurium dioxide in a quartz furnace by a dry distillation process, the separation of airborne dust and tellurium dioxide by an electrically heated separator and the highly efficient absorption of [131I]iodine in weakly alkaline, aqueous buffer solution contained in a two partite, high-efficient winding absorber. The obtained [131I]sodium iodide solution is suitable to prepare a non-sterile [131I]sodium iodide solution for oral nuclear medical application or for different [131I]iodine labeling procedures in nuclear medicine.
The [131I]iodine production facility consists of two lead-shielded hot cells as shown in figure 1. The production hot cell and the dispensing hot cell are lead-shielded. The inner containments are airtight and made of stainless steel, connected through a double door lock. Both containments are installed in a steel frame which is simultaneously used as frame for the lead shielding. The lead shielding is 100 mm at the side walls, 70 mm at the ceiling and bottom and 50 mm for the filter casing and the wall between the boxes. At the operator side each hot cell is equipped with a 230 mm thick lead-glass window (density 5.2 g/cm³) and two ball tong manipulators with a vast operating range inside the hot cells. The rear lead shielding of the hot cells can be lowered and lifted by an electromechanical driving unit, in order to access the inner containments. The hot cells are connected by airlocks and equipped with access doors at the rear sides for installing the equipment. In-air and exhaust air connections, electric lighting fixtures, path-through ducts for pressure air and liquids as well as electric interconnections are installed in the ceilings of the boxes.
The production hot cell is equipped with an airlock in the bottom to introduce the irradiation cans with radioactive starting substances (irradiated tellurium dioxide) into the box and to remove the solid radioactive waste. The dispensing hot cell is equipped with two bottom ports and an airlock in the sidewall. The lateral airlock is used to take out the samples for quality control. The bottom ports of the dispensing box are used for the measuring of the activity of the samples with the dose calibrator, taking the small vials out and packing them in lead-shielded containers of the type KT. The bottom ports and lateral airlocks may also be used for introducing non-radioactive reagents, vials, rubber stoppers, aluminum caps etc.
The equipment is tailor-made for the dry distillation of [131I]iodine. The [131I]iodine production starts with non-radioactive preliminaries outside the boxes: purification of target material, preparation of targets and of various non-radioactive solutions.
Inside the production box the irradiated target cans (aluminum) are taken out of the target container and opened by a special tool. The irradiated target material (tellurium dioxide powder or pellets) is filled into porcelain crucibles, and set into the quartz furnace. [131I]iodine is separated from the radioactive tellurium dioxide by a dry distillation process (volatilization) according to a definite temperature program and transferred into the iodine traps by carrier air. The carrier air containing gaseous [131I]iodine passes an separator, which reliably retains tellurium dioxide impurities and dust particles. The purified gaseous [131I]iodine is then absorbed in the iodine traps by weakly alkaline buffer solution. The obtained product is a weekly alkaline [131I]NaI stock solution. In the dispensing box, the stock solution is distributed in portions and dispensed in vials. The vials are closed with stoppers and aluminum caps, measured in the dose calibrator and locked out through the bottom port into the transport containers.
During the import and export of equipment and products the hot cells are maintained airtight to the environment due to an advanced airlock system. Operations with gaseous radioactive [131I]iodine requires adequate shielding and airtight enclosure in a box as well as additional precautions to protect the operator from radiation exposition and from airborne [131I]iodine contamination in the operator’s room and surroundings. Two separate containments guarantee a safe and reliable process for the dry [131I]iodine distillation:
The production facility can be offered also as large scale one. The large scale facility is designed for handling of higher 131I activity and accompanying by-product activities regarding more than 100 Ci 131I. Therefore the facility is equipped with a thicker lead shield and master slave manipulators. It can be also designed as redundant system for higher throughputs and/or more reliable production processes to avoid production interruption. Therefore the amount of hot cells will be raised. ITD offers advisory services in order to determine the exact room and hot cell arrangement, specifically for the customer’s needs.
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