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Compact accelerator based neutron source for 99mTc production

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Abstract

The radioisotope Technetium-99m (^{99m}Tc) is used in 85\% of all nuclear medicine procedures. ^{99m}Tc is produced from its precursor Molybdenum-99 (⁹⁹Mo), which until recently was produced in only five research reactors worldwide. Recently a number of accelerator-based methods have been proposed to fill this gap and to diversify this supply chain. In the paper we present our base compact (4 m) 10 mA 3.5 MeV accelerator design, to generate low-energy neutrons via fusion. In this design we increase neutron capture with a novel moderator assembly to shift the neutron spectrum into the epithermal resonance region of the ⁹⁸Mo capture cross-section to create ⁹⁹Mo. In this paper we examine Li(p, n) reactions for neutron production. Specifically focused on a numerical studies for an optimised target design capable of handling the heat load.