Urenco Stable Isotopes is continuously developing products for industrial use within the nuclear, non-destructive testing and semiconductor industry.
Our main industrial isotope is depleted 64zinc which is used widely in the nuclear industry. The addition of zinc to nuclear reactors greatly reduces corrosion processes, including stress corrosion cracking.
Zinc also reduces the amount of radioactive 60cobalt formed as a result of the activation of natural cobalt in the construction materials of the reactor. 60Cobalt is a major contributor to radiation build up in cooling systems and can cause elevated dose rates of maintenance personnel.
If natural zinc is injected, 64zinc forms the radioactive 65zinc which negates the beneficial reduction of 60cobalt. If the 64zinc isotope is removed prior to injection in the cooling system, full advantage can be taken from the 60cobalt level reduction and the average dose rates are substantially reduced.
We often provide large quantities of depleted 64zinc in the form of depleted zinc oxide pellets or powder for boiling water reactors and depleted zinc acetate for pressurised water reactors.
Non-destructive testing is often performed with gamma cameras. Several gamma sources are in use with 192iridium sources being the most common ones. 75Selenium sources have a slightly softer gamma spectrum and these are typically used for thin walled products.
192Iridium is mostly produced from natural iridium but for high specific activity, enriched 91iridium is used as a precursor. The radioisotope 75selenium is produced from enriched 74selenium. 191Iridium and 74selenium are both produced by us.
Within the semiconductor industry, a key priority is research and development. Urenco Stable Isotopes is able to and constantly looking for opportunities to contribute to these developments.
Germanium tetrafluoride is used in the semiconductor industry for the pre-amorphisation implant process. The use of germanium tetrafluoride, enriched in the isotope 72germanium, improves this process and increases the beam current. We supply germanium tetrafluoride enriched in 72germanium, tailored to the customer’s specific requirements.
Silicon is also widely used in the semiconductor industry. 28Silicon is currently used in various research and development projects, including the race to build quantum computers, machines that should offer immense processing power by exploiting the oddities of quantum mechanics.