Iran manufactures caesium-137

30 August 2023

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says caesium-137 (Cs-137) has been produced at laboratory scale. AEOI head Mohammad Eslami says the new domestically produced radionuclide is the product of six months of tireless efforts and coordination.

Cs-137, with a half-life of 30 years, does not exist naturally and is mainly found in used nuclear fuel and radioactive waste. It is used in brachytherapy and radiotherapy and in small amounts for calibration of radiation detection equipment. In larger amounts, it is used in medical radiation therapy devices for treating cancer. It is also in industrial gauges that detect the flow of liquid through pipes, as well as in other industrial devices that measure the thickness of materials such as paper or sheets of metal. It can also be used for irradiation of blood products, cosmetics, food, and other products.

Eslami said "This announcement is the result of six months of work. It is important that we don’t stop. In the past years, we faced problems obtaining caesium and molybdenum and there have been delays in our progress. But now we have produced it ourselves at the Nuclear Science & Technology Research Institute …. The entire oil and gas and medical industries will benefit from this product." He noted that domestic production ends Iran’s dependence on other countries for imports of the radioisotope.

Image courtesy of AEOI

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