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Research in Chemistry Division
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Isotopes for Medicine and Science

Los Alamos National Laboratory routinely produces substantial quantities of a number of radioisotopes during the operating cycle of the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) linear accelerator. This accelerator is approximately 1 kilometer long and generates 1 milliamp of 800 MeV protons that are used to produce isotopes via spallation processes. The Isotope Production Facility is located in the beam stop area of the accelerator. Minimum irradiation time is 7 days per target. A new 100 MeV Isotope Production Facility is being constructed and will be operational in 2003.

Encapsulated target materials are irradiated at the LANSCE beam stop. Nine target stations are available for irradiations. Targets are transported to the main Radiochemistry Site, TA-48, RC-1, where they are chemically processed to recover radioisotope products. Chemical processing procedures include dissolution, chemical separation, typically by ion exchange, precipitation, electrochemistry, distillation, and chromatography. Products are manufactured according to FDA cGMP practices. Waste is managed at the facility, and then transported to either the Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility at TA-50 or the Radioactive Solid Waste Management Facility at TA-54 for treatment and disposal.

The development of new products and services and the improvement of existing products are the main objectives of the Isotope Program’s research and development efforts. Ongoing projects include:

New Isotope Products. Included are Fe-55, Hf-178m2, V-49, and others.

Chemistry Process Development. New processes for Si-32 and improved processes for Fe-55 and Ge-68

Radioactive Sample Isotope Separator. Development of an electromagnetic isotope separator installed in the Wing-9 hot cells of the Chemistry Metallurgy Research building.

Virtual Isotope Center. Collaborate with the Brookhaven National Laboratory supplemented by international collaborations with TRIUMF (Vancouver, Canada), Institute of Nuclear Research (Troitsk, Russia), National Accelerator Centre (Faurve, South Africa), and the Paul Scherrer Institute (Villigen, Switzerland) to irradiate targets for processing in the TA-48 hot cells.

Waste Minimization. Ongoing activities to eliminate, reduce volumes, or find new markets for radioisotopes would otherwise be disposed of.


Isotope Production Facility

Build a replacement target station at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center
(LANSCE) for the production of isotopes needed for research and medicine.


  • Design and construct a new beam line on the north side of the existing LANSCE accelerator.
  • Design and build a new isotope production target station and target remote handling systems.
  • Design, fabricate, and install a beam switching magnet for the 100 MeV Transition Region of the LANSCE accelerator to allow IPF to operate without impacting other LANSCE users.
  • Design and construct a new building to house the beam line, target station, and supporting systems.
  • Implement the Authorization Basis and obtain authorization to operate the completed facility.


  • Assured, continuous supply of medical isotopes used for vital diagnostic procedures and research radioisotopes.
  • Support the Office of Isotopes for Medicine and Science program mission to continue to supply essential isotopes that may otherwise be unavailable.
  • Enhanced production capabilities for short-lived isotopes because of capability to insert and withdraw targets while the main LANSCE beam is in operation.
  • Enhanced safety and waste reduction as compared to the existing Isotope Production Facility.
  • Reduced environmental emissions and better ALARA compliance.
  • Use of extensive existing infrastructure, including processing facilities and waste disposal capabilities.


Previous Highlights


ICON Facility to reopen under new management

Isotope Production Facility
Web Page





  • Aluminum-26
  • Arsenic-72, 73, 74
  • Beryllium-7
  • Bismuth-207
  • Cadmium-109
  • Copper-67
  • Gadolinium-148
  • Germanium-68
  • Hafnium-172
  • Mercury-194
  • Rubidium-83
  • Selenium-72, 75
  • Silicon-32
  • Sodium-22
  • Strontium-82
  • Tantalum-179
  • Technetium-95m
  • Titanium-44
  • Vanadium-48, 49
  • Yttrium-88
  • Zinc-65
  • Zirconium-88


Chemistry Division | C-ADI | C-AAC | C-PCS | C-ACS | C-INC | C-ACT | C-SIC | C-FM


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