Date of Award

8-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Nuclear Engineering

Major Professor

Lawrence H. Heilbronn

Committee Members

Lawrence W. Townsend, Laurence F. Miller

Abstract

There is an intense interest in the availability of radioactive isotopes that could be developed into nuclear batteries. Promethium-147 is one of the isotopes of interest for use in nuclear batteries as well as in other compact low power applications. Pm-147 is a pure beta (β-) emitter with a half-life of 2.62 years. For this research, Pm-147 was produced from enriched Nd-146 via the neutron capture method in the Hydraulic Tube facility of HFIR at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Radioisotopic impurities produced via the neutron capture method have significant effects on its potential final use for nuclear battery applications. This research provides information on the co-production levels of the radioisotopic impurities in the samples containing Pm-147 and their effects on the required shielding. Gamma spectroscopy analysis served as the primary method in the evaluation of the impurities. Previous research had identified the presence of these impurities but it had not studied them in detail.

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