Cobalt-60 is an artificial radioisotope with a wide range of applications in many industries for its high intensity gamma-rays and longer half-life. It may be produced in research reactors from the stable isotope cobalt-59 by neutron activation when a fission neutron is absorbed in the Co-59 nucleus. The ETRR-2 research reactor is designed with an in-core neutron flux trap that accommodates space for placement of an irradiation box, which makes it suitable for the production of radioisotopes as an in-core fixed facility. This simulation study compares the production yield of Co-60 for different Co-59 pencil configurations within the irradiation box inside the in-core neutron flux trap. IAEA reference for Co-60 specifications was used to set the comparison criteria for generating different configurations. Reactor geometry and calculations were carried out using OpenMC Monte Carlo code to obtain the effective multiplication factor Keff, the flux distribution, and the production yield of Co-60 with respect to time. Results show that the ETTR-2 is capable of producing Co-60 with a specific activity of 83.89 Ci g−1 in 263 ± 14 days following the placement of eight Co-59 pencils with 0.77 cm diameter, 32 cm in height, and 74.506 g each. It was also shown that a higher production rate may be achieved by decreasing the diameter of the pencils and increasing their number while Co-59 mass is kept constant.
Author contribution: Abdulrahem Judaibi: Conceptualization, Methodology, Software, Validation, Formal analysis, Investigation, Writing – original draft, Project administration. Abdelfattah Y. Soliman: Conceptualization, Methodology, Software, Validation, Formal analysis, Investigation, Writing – original draft, Supervision.
Research funding: None declared.
Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this article.
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