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Author: Subject: Sourcing of metallic technetium and radium in Canada
itsallgoodjames
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[*] posted on 26-12-2020 at 21:18
Sourcing of metallic technetium and radium in Canada


I'm trying to find a source of these two elements for my element collection. The requirement of each of my samples in the collection is it must be in elemental form. My first idea for the radium was from old radium watches. The issue I ran into is that I'd need huge amounts of watches to get any reasonable quantity of radium metal, and then there's the problem of making it into it's elemental form. So that route obviously isn't feasible. My next thought was to refine it from uranium ore. I intended to refine about a hundred grams of uranium metal from ore in the near future, and I had the thought that maybe there might be some radium in it, as radium 226 is part of uranium's decay chain. Unfortunately, google tells me that generally a maximum of 200 milligrams of radium is present per ton of ore. This makes the process unfeasible for me to attempt, as I'd need 100s of kilograms of uranium ore to even get a visible amount of radium, and I suspect the Canadian government would come knocking on my door if I managed to acquire a fraction of that. So I'm out of ideas. And for technetium, I am unable to find anything resembling a practical source. There's no way I can get uranium 235 or molybdenum 99 to turn into technetium, for obvious reasons. I have a family member who works in nuclear medicine, though as expected, I was told they weren't able to give me any radioisotope samples. Not surprising, but still mildly disappointing.

So yeah, I have no clue where to get these two elements in metallic form. Thanks in advance for the help.

edit - I've done a bit of research, apparently radium is a bit too radioactive to have a reasonably sized sample on my wall. I guess I'll just use some radium paint as my sample instead... I'm still looking for technetium though.

[Edited on 27-12-2020 by itsallgoodjames]

[Edited on 27-12-2020 by itsallgoodjames]




Nuclear physics is neat. It's a shame it's so regulated...

Now that I think about it, that's probably a good thing. Still annoying though.
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j_sum1
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[*] posted on 26-12-2020 at 22:11


For Ra, I have a 1960s alarm clock. It still gliws, but only just. The ZnS is just about done for. I doubt you will be able to do much better than that.

For Tc, I would be more than satisfied with a labelled empty bottle of medical isotope. I have not been able to source one for myself. Again, I doubt most people would be able to do better than that. If you have contacts in the field, that might be what you settle for, or what you use in the interrim.
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itsallgoodjames
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[*] posted on 26-12-2020 at 22:31


Quote: Originally posted by j_sum1  
For Ra, I have a 1960s alarm clock. It still gliws, but only just. The ZnS is just about done for. I doubt you will be able to do much better than that.

For Tc, I would be more than satisfied with a labelled empty bottle of medical isotope. I have not been able to source one for myself. Again, I doubt most people would be able to do better than that. If you have contacts in the field, that might be what you settle for, or what you use in the interrim.


For the technetium, NovaElements sells a sample, but it's $1000 for a quantity measured in micrograms. According to google, technetium is a large component of nuclear waste, so it's interesting that it's so expensive. I guess it's a supply and demand issue. No one is buying it, so no one is selling it. Unfortunate really.

For the radium, I'm sure I can get some old broken watches and (extremely carefully) remove the paint with a solvent. then I can add some new zinc sulfide doped with copper, so it can glow nice and brightly in the container. My logic is if I can't have elemental radium, I might as well have a nice glowing sample.

edit - I should clarify, I'm unwilling to spend $1000 on a single sample for my collection. that's twice my budget for the entire table, so I'm looking for a different way.

[Edited on 27-12-2020 by itsallgoodjames]




Nuclear physics is neat. It's a shame it's so regulated...

Now that I think about it, that's probably a good thing. Still annoying though.
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itsallgoodjames
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[*] posted on 27-12-2020 at 15:23


For Ra: I've aquired 6 broken radium watches, and plan to remove the radium paint, and mix it with a phosphor in the near future. Pre-prepared ZnS doped with copper seems to be hard to find, which is rather surprising, and I'm not super comfortable working with large amounts of H2S. Would europium based phosphor work as a replacement, as that seems to be much easier to find?

For Tc: So I was doing a bit of research, and found that natural molybdenum consists of approximately 25% molybdenum 98, and most of the remainder is lighter isotopes. Knowing this, would it be possible to irradiate molybdenum with neutron radiation, turning it into Mo 99, then the molybdenum decays into technetium? The technetium can then be chemically extracted in a yet to be determined way. Does this shound like something that would be practical, or am I just grasping at straws?




Nuclear physics is neat. It's a shame it's so regulated...

Now that I think about it, that's probably a good thing. Still annoying though.
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unionised
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[*] posted on 28-12-2020 at 08:56


Quote: Originally posted by itsallgoodjames  
Knowing this, would it be possible to irradiate molybdenum with neutron radiation, turning it into Mo 99, then the molybdenum decays into technetium? The technetium can then be chemically extracted in a yet to be determined way. Does this shound like something that would be practical, or am I just grasping at straws?


Do you have a nuclear reactor?
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phlogiston
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[*] posted on 28-12-2020 at 13:41


It's possible, but if you were able to do it, you would be asking different questions.

Perhaps another option to obtain an actual (but non-visible amount) of technetium is to collect the urine from someone that was administered tc-99m in a hospital. If you work quickly, you can maybe even purify it to some extent, before it has all decayed to tc-99, at which point it probably becomes undetectable.

[Edited on 28-12-2020 by phlogiston]




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