PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP1293991 24.04.2003
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 1293991
Titel Verfahren zur Schwefelsdestillation um radioaktiven Phosphorkerne zu Herstellen
Anmelder Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, Daejeon, KR
Erfinder Han, Hyon Soo, Taejon-si 305-390, KR;
Park, Ul Jae, Gangnam-gu, KR;
Shin, Hyeon Young, Taejon-si 305-755, KR;
Yoo, Kwon Mo, Taejon-si 305-729, KR
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, BG, CH, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, IE, IT, LI, LU, MC, NL, PT, SE, SK, TR
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 12.07.2002
EP-Aktenzeichen 022549422
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 19.03.2003
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 24.04.2003
IPC-Hauptklasse G21G 1/06

Beschreibung[en]
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a method for distillation of sulfur for the preparing radioactive phosphorus nuclide. More particularly, the present invention relates to an economically favorable and efficient method in which sulfur is converted into radioactive phosphorus nuclide by neutron irradiation while unreacted sulfur is separated from the radioactive phosphorus nuclide by distillation and recovered at high efficiency, with the radioactive phosphorus nuclide remaining high in purity.

2. Background of the Related Art

Emitting β- radiation, nuclides such as 32P and 33P find many applications in various fields, including medical treatment, synthesis of labeling compounds, bioengineering experiments, etc.

The phosphorus nuclide (32P) can be prepared by the nuclear reaction of 32S(n,p)32P or 31P(n,γ)32P. In spite of its guaranteeing very simple chemical treatment after neutron irradiation, the (n,y) reaction is only adopted in special cases because the uses of the resulting 32P are limited due to its low specific radioactivity. For use in medical treatment or research experiments, the phosphorus nuclide 32P is usually obtained by separating it from the sulfur target after 32S(n,p)32P nuclear reaction.

Depending on physical and chemical statuses of the sulfur, separation of the 32P generally resorts to the following methods.

32P may be purified by a wet extraction method in which strong and weak acids are used to extract the phosphorus nuclide from the sulfur target. According to the wet extraction method, 32P is extracted from finely powdered sulfur irradiated with neutrons in boiling water in the presence of acid [Samsahl, K., Atompraxis 4, 14, 1958; Razbash, A. A. et al., Atomnaya Ehnergiya 70(4), 260, 1991]. In this regard, 2-octanol is used as a wetting agent. This method suffers the following disadvantages. The extraction yield varies with the particle size of the irradiation target sulfur and is significantly decreased when the target is melted or solidified due to the exothermal heat during neutron irradiation. Additionally, the use of acid induces impurities and leaves much solid waste behind, thus completion of the extraction requires additional purification processes.

Alternatively, 32P may be prepared by irradiating the sulfate or polysulphide target with neutrons, dissolving the target in water, and then adsorbing or coprecipitating the 32P thus formed. Because it requires multi-stage processes and produces low recovery yields, this method is scarcely used.

Suggested as an alternative which can solve the above problems were sulfur distillation methods which are generally classified into: atmospheric distillation in which sulfur is distilled at as high as 500 °C in a nitrogen atmosphere; vacuum distillation in which sulfur is distilled at as low as 180-200 °C under a pressure of 1-10 mmHg [Gharemano, A. R. et al., Radiochemical and Radioanalytical Letters Hungary 58(1), 49, 1983, Ye. A. Karelin et al., Applied Radiation Isotopes 53, 825-827, 2000]. The former employs an inert gas as a carrier in order to reduce the possibility of fire. In the latter method, distillation is carried out at a temperature lower than the ignition point of sulfur by reducing the pressure. These distillation methods are advantageous in that products of high purity can be obtained since no reagents are added upon the separation of phosphorus nuclide from sulfur. However, the methods require facilities such as a vacuum system, a gas-feeding apparatus and a cooling apparatus in order to distill the sulfur irradiated with neutrons in hot cells or glove boxes, as well as require the pressure and temperature to be controlled in relatively narrow ranges. Additionally, where concentrated sulfur is used, it is difficult to recover the whole amount of the highly expensive sulfur, which brings about an economic loss.

Therefore, there remains a need for an improved method that can prepare phosphorus nuclides of high purity easily and very economically.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Leading to the present invention, the intensive and thorough research into the preparation of phosphorus nuclides, conducted by the present inventors in an aim to solve the above problems encountered in prior arts, resulted in the finding that a temperature gradient formed over a target tube irradiated with neutrons allows sulfur to move toward the low temperature site and thus be easily separated from phosphorus nuclide which remains high in purity.

Thus, it is an object of the present invention to provide a method for safely and efficiently distilling sulfur for preparing radioactive phosphorus nuclide of high purity.

It is another object of the present invention to provide radioactive phosphorus nuclide with high purity.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a method for distilling sulfur using a target tube having thermal profiles.

Based on the present invention, the above object could be accomplished by a provision of a method for distillation of sulfur for preparing radioactive phosphorus nuclide, comprising the steps of:

  • (a) charging powdered sulfur into a distillation zone of a target tube, said target tube being designed to have an upper neck, and a bottom neck which functions as a separation zone, dividing the target tube into a distillation zone and a cooling zone;
  • (b) degassing the target tube to form a vacuum therein, followed by heating the upper neck to seal the target tube;
  • (c) irradiating neutrons into the sealed target tube to produce radioactive phosphorus nuclide;
  • (d) heating the distillation zone to distill the remaining unreacted sulfur, but not the phosphorus nuclide and to allow the gasified sulfur to move over the bottom neck into the cooling zone; and
  • (e) cleaving the target tube at the bottom neck to separate the distillation and the cooling zone from each other, the separated zones containing the radioactive phosphorus nuclide and the unreacted sulfur, respectively, whereby the radioactive phosphorus nuclide of high purity can be prepared while the sulfur can be recovered at high efficiency.

In one embodiment according to the present invention, an apparatus for distilling sulfur for preparing radioactive phosphorus nuclides comprises:

  • (a) a distillation heater with heat coils for providing heat to the target tube;
  • (b) a heat controller for controlling the heat transferred to the target tube in conjunction with a temperature measurer;
  • (c) a tubular vessel for adapting the target tube to the distillation apparatus; and
  • (d) a heat insulator for insulating the tubular vessel.

In one another embodiment according to the present invention, a target tube of the claim designed to have an upper and a bottom neck is used.

In still another embodiment according to the present invention, the target tube is manufactured by designing to have an upper and a bottom neck; degassing to for a vacuum; and heating to seal the upper neck.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above and other objects, features and other advantages of the present invention will be more clearly understood from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

  • Fig. 1 is a process flow showing the preparation of radioactive phosphorus nuclide by the distillation of sulfur of the present invention;
  • Fig. 2 is a schematic view showing the structure of a target tube useful in the present invention, the charging of sulfur in the target tube, and the sealing of the target tube;
  • Fig. 3 is a schematic diagram showing the structure of a distillation system useful in the present invention;
  • Fig. 4 is a photograph showing the migration of sulfur from a distillation zone to a cooling zone after the distillation of sulfur in the target tubes, which are inserted to lengths of 7 cm (a) and 8 cm (b) into the distillation heater of the distillation system;
  • Fig. 5 provides thermal profiles showing a thermal gradient throughout the tubular vessel of the distillation system;
  • Fig. 6 is a schematic view showing a procedure of treating the target tube upon and after the distillation of sulfur;
  • Fig. 7 is a schematic view showing the division of the target tube into three discrete zones: a distillation zone (a), a separation zone (b), and a cooling zone (c), according to temperatures;
  • Fig. 8 is a photograph showing positions of sulfur after sulfur is distilled at 240 °C in a target tube, which is sealed at atmospheric pressure (a) and at 180 °C in a target tube, which is sealed under vacuum and inserted to a length of 7 cm into a distillation tube (b);
  • Fig. 9 is a gamma spectrum of H332PO4 prepared by the distillation method of sulfur in accordance with the present invention; and
  • Fig. 10 is a chromatogram obtained after a paper chromatography of H332PO4, which was prepared by the distillation method of sulfur in accordance with the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

It is also to be understood that the terminology employed herein is used for the purpose of describing particular embodiments only and is not intended to be limiting since the scope of the present invention will be limited only by the appended claims and equivalents thereof.

In describing and claiming the present invention, the following terminology will be used in accordance with the definitions set out below.

As used herein, 'sulfur' means elementary sulfur (32S), including any forms, without limitation, powder, if need, purified by conventional methods.

As used herein, a 'target tube' means a tubular vessel, without limitation, designed to being able to contain a target material (32S) with a neck including any sizes.

As used herein, 'phosphorus nuclides' mean 32P and 33P prepared by the nuclear reaction of 32S(n,p)32P or 33S(n,p)33P.

With reference to Fig. 1, the preparation of radioactive phosphorus nuclides by the distillation of sulfur is briefly described in a process flow diagram, according to the present invention. As seen, the preparation of radioactive phosphorus nuclides starts with the charging of sulfur into a target tube designed to have an upper and a bottom neck. In this regard, the weight of the mixture must be controlled relative to the dose of neutron radiation to be emitted. Then, the tube is degassed to form a vacuum. The upper neck is heated to seal the target tube, followed by placing the vacuum-sealed target tube in a shielded environment. Subsequently, neutrons are irradiated to the charged sulfur to cause a nuclear reaction. Using a distilling apparatus, unreacted sulfur, except for phosphorus nuclides, is transferred into a cooling zone. Afterwards, the target tube is cleaved at the bottom neck to recover unreacted sulfur and the phosphorus nuclide thus formed, separately. The recovered phosphorus nuclide is purified to higher homogeneity by a process including an acid treatment.

With reference to Fig. 2, there is shown a target tube 10 useful in the present invention, which is in an open state, and, after being charged with sulfur 100, in a sealed state. As seen in the schematic diagrams of Fig. 2, the target tube 10 in an open state is structured to have an upper neck 11 and a bottom neck 12 and divides into three parts (10a, 10b and 10c). After being charged with powdered sulfur 100, the target tube 10 is degassed with the aid of a vacuum machine, to form a vacuum therein. Heating the upper neck 11 with a torch then seals the target tube 10 (10a+10b).

In order to irradiate neutrons into the sulfur 100, the sealed target tube 10 is placed in a shielded environment. The irradiation of neutrons converts the sulfur 100 into a phosphorus nuclide 300. The shielded environment may consist of a general shielding apparatus well known in the art. Upon neutron irradiation, a 32S(n,p)32P nuclear reaction (or 33S(n,p)33P nuclear reaction) is caused to produce 32P 300 (or 33P) which exists, together with the unreacted sulfur 10a, in a distillation zone of the target tube 10.

Most of the non-sublimate materials remaining after the neutron irradiation behave like phosphorus nuclides 300, so that the sulfur powder 100, used as the target, must be of high purity. That is, sulfur 100 for use in the present invention must be in a concentrated form or must be purified to high homogeneity. Depending on the vacuum machine used, the pressure of the sealed, vacuum target tube 10 preferably falls within the range of about 0.1 to 0.01 torr.

By heating, the upper neck 11, as described above, is melted to seal the target tube 10, while the bottom neck 12 functions to prevent the countercurrent of the unreacted sulfur 100a from the cooling zone upon distillation of said unreacted sulfur 100a.

The target tube 10 used in the present invention is not particularly limited if it can transmit the neutron radiation to convert sulfur 100 into phosphorus nuclides 300, and is preferably made of hard glass. Most preferable is a quartz tube. It is obvious to those skilled in the art that the size of the target tube 10 and the position and height of the necks 11, 12 can be adjusted depending on the neutron irradiator and the content of the sulfur 100.

After completion of the neutron irradiation, the target tube 10 is mounted onto a distillation apparatus 200 in which the unreacted sulfur 100a mixed with the phosphorus nuclide 300 is moved over the bottom neck 12 into the opposite zone within the target tube 10. Referring to Fig. 3, there is shown a distillation apparatus 200 useful in the present invention, in which the target tube 10 is mounted. The distillation apparatus 200 comprises a distillation heater 201 with a heat coils 201b for providing heat to the target tube 10, a heat controller 203, for controlling the heat transferred to the target tube 10, in conjunction with a temperature measurer 202 with a temperature probe 202a, a tubular vessel 201a for adapting the target tube 10 to the distillation apparatus 200 and a heat insulator 201c. In order to receive the target tube 10, the tubular vessel 201a with a conductor i.e, metal is designed to have an open side and an inner diameter larger than the outer diameter of the target tube 10.

To adapt the target tube 10 to the distillation heater 201, the distillation zone containing a mixture of the unreacted sulfur 100a and the nuclear reaction product phosphorus nuclide 300 is fitted into the closed portion of the tubular vessel 201a, while the cooling zone for recovering the unreacted sulfur 100a is positioned in the open position.

After being distilled by the heat provided from the heater 202, the unreacted sulfur 100a moves to the cooling zone positioned in the open portion of the tubular vessel 201a, and is air-cooled therein.

The position of the tubular vessel 201a relative to the target tube 10 mounted into the distillation apparatus 200 is found to have a great influence on the distillation time and yield. In order to examine the effect of the position of the target tube 10 on the separation of sulfur 100, distillation was carried out at 180 °C at 0.1 torr in target tubes 10 inserted in the tubular vessel 201a to different lengths. With reference to Fig. 4, there are shown the results obtained from the target tubes inserted 7 cm (a) and 8 cm (b) into the tubular vessel 201a. As can be seen, when a greater length of the target tube is inserted, the sulfur is moved to and condensed at a site of the cooling zone (10b), which is more distant from the distillation zone. The results show that, when the temperature distribution inside the target tube 10 is not uniform, but forms a gradient such that the temperature is higher than 180 °C at the distillation zone and lower than 180 °C at the cooling zone, the unreacted sulfur 100a readily moves from the distillation to the cooling zone. Additionally, like the neck of the target tube 10, a physical barrier (separation zone) must be provided between the distillation zone and the cooling zone. This physical barrier plays an important role in separating the unreacted sulfur 100a from the product phosphorus nuclide 300. Because the unreacted sulfur 100a is cooled at lower than 160 °C into a liquid phase in the cooling zone and has an increased viscosity, there is the possibility that the unreacted sulfur 100a might move backwardly into the distillation zone. However, although the unreacted sulfur 100a moves leftward form the start point of the cooling zone as shown in Figs. 4a and 4b, the countercurrent into the distillation did not occur due to the presence of the neck in the target tube 10.

A detailed description will be given of the distillation process of the present invention, below.

Heating the target tube 10 in the distillation apparatus 200 gasifies the sulfur 100. All the gas moves into the cooling zone, whereas the product 32P 300 still remains attached to the inner wall of the target tube 10 within the distillation zone. When the distillation zone of the target tube 10 is heated at 160-240 °C, the unreacted sulfur 100a, except for the produced phosphorus nuclide 300, is distilled in the distillation zone and condensed in the cooling zone. The distillation temperature is preferably on the order of 180 to 220 °C. This distillation temperature is high enough to distill the sulfur, considering the distillation point of sulfur 100 and that the inner pressure of the target tube 10 ranges from 0.1 to 1 torr. Preferably, the distillation is carried out at 180 °C when the inner pressure of the target tube 10 is 0.1 torr. For example, at a temperature below the lower limit of the distillation range, the sulfur 100 is not sufficiently distilled and is difficult to recover in its entirety, resulting in economic loss.

The time it takes to distill the sulfur 100 is dependent on the quantity of the sulfur 100 in the target tube 10. According to embodiments of the invention, it was found that it takes approximately 1.5-2 hours to completely distill 1 g of sulfur powder 100 at 180 °C at 0.1 torr in a target tube 10 with a dimension of 1.1 x 12 cm (outer diameter x length).

Once gasified, the sulfur 100a moves over the physical barrier, that is, the neck 12 (separation zone), into the cooling zone and then is condensed to solidify. In the cooling zone, the unreacted sulfur 100a is increased in viscosity and condensed into a liquid phase, which might move backwardly into the distillation. In the target tube 10, the bottom neck 12, as demonstrated in Figs. 4a and 4b, prevents the countercurrent.

The target tube 10 may be divided into three zones: distillation (a), separation (b) and cooling zones (c). There is a temperature gradient throughout from the distillation zone to the cooling zone upon distillation, as depicted in Fig. 5. According to the temperature profiles of Fig. 5, a temperature gradient from approximately 180 to 200 °C is formed over the distillation and cooling zones, allowing the gasified sulfur to be effectively recovered in a powder form. The cooling of the target tube 10 may resort to an external cooling water feeder, although this be sufficiently accomplished by allowing the target tube 10 to remain in contact with external air at room temperature.

Finally, to recover the 32P 300 (or 33P) and the unreacted sulfur 100a, the target tube 10 is cleaved, followed by a suitable chemical treatment. The unreacted sulfur 100a may be reused without further treatment.

The 32P 300 (or 33P) remaining in the target tube 10 is leached by the addition of acid, and the leachate is purified to afford a highly pure radioactive isotope at a high purity. The purification may be carried in a conventional manner, and preferably by chromatography.

After the cleavage of the target tube 10, the tube fragment 10b containing the unreacted sulfur 100a may be joined to a remaining portion by use of a torch to give a fresh target tube 10 useful in the present invention.

In accordance with the present invention, the movement of the unreacted sulfur 100a is found not to occur when the target tube 10 is not vacuumed by degassing. By contrast, all of the unreacted sulfur 100a moves into the cooling zone in the presence of a temperature gradient over the vacuum target tube 10, which leads to the unreacted sulfur 100a recovery yield of 99.9 % or higher.

Therefore, without requiring complex distillation apparatuses 200 and vacuum and cooling systems, the distillation method of the present invention is very simple in comparison to conventional distillation methods, as well as being able to easily distill sulfur in the presence of a temperature gradient which is formed from the distillation to the cooling zone according to the vacuum level of the target tube 10. Additionally, the method of the present invention can be industrially utilized because it can be easily scaled up for the mass production of phosphorus nuclides 300.

The phosphorus nuclides (32P) 300 prepared in accordance with the present invention is found to show a nuclide purity of 99 % or higher and a radiochemical purity of 99 % or higher, with a solid content of 0.2 mg/ml or less. Highly pure phosphorus nuclides (32P) 300 has many applications in various industries, including radiotherapy, synthesis of radioactive labeling compounds, bioengineering research, etc.

Having generally described this invention, a further understanding can be obtained by reference to certain specific examples, which are provided herein for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to be limiting unless otherwise specified.

EXAMPLE 1 1. Purification of Sulfur

Powdered sulfur (Merck Art 7892) was charged into a subliming reactor, followed by heating at 150°C to melt the sulfur. The subliming reactor was connected with a vaporizing apparatus, reduced pressure to 100mm of Hg and then heated to at 300°C. The sublimed sulfur was moved to and condensed at receiving flask to obtain an yellowish pure sulfur. The highly pure sulfur was prepared repeatedly three times in this procedure, and the purity (99.99%) was determined by NMR detection.

2. Degassing and Distillation

The sulfur purified in the above step 1) was ground and charged into a target tube, which was made of quartz in a variety of sizes (see Table 1). After being charge with sulfur, the target tube was degassed with the aid of a vacuum machine to form a vacuum state. The target tube was then sealed by heating with a torch, as described in the procedure of FIG 2. After sealed target tube was placed in a distillation apparatus, distilling was carried out until the sulfur could no longer be seen in the distilling zone. The conditions of inner pressure and temperature of target tube are as follows. No. amount of sulfur (g) target tube dimensions

(diameter × length)
Temperature (°C) inner pressure of target tube

(torr)
distilling time

(hours)
1 0.5 1.1cm × 7.3cm 180 0.1 1 2 1 1.1cm × 12cm 240 atmospheric - 3 1 1.1cm × 12cm 180 0.1 2.3 4 1 1.1cm × 12cm 180 0.1 2.2 5 1 1.1cm × 12cm 220 0.1 1.5 6 1 1.1cm × 12cm 240 0.1 1.2 7 3 2.6cm × 7.3cm 240 0.1 3

EXPERIMENTAL EXAMPLE 1 1. Recovery Yield of Sulfur

To determine yield of the sulfur distilled followed by recovering in the above Example 1, the amount of sulfur in the cooling zone of the each target tube was weighed using a precision balance. As a result, it was confirmed that the each yield of sulfur recovered in item Nos. 1-7 of Table 1 was over 99.9%.

2. Effect on Distilling Temperature

To determine effect on distilling temperature, the distillation of sulfur carried out as follows.

After the insertion of a probe into a glass rod of the same size as the target tube (FIG. 3), the probe was heated to various temperatures, i.e., 80V (145°C), 82V (160°C), 85V (180°C), 90V (210°C), using a slighdax as a temperature-controller. The variation of temperature at each voltage was detected at intervals of 1cm relative to the total length of the target tube, thus obtaining the result shown in FIGs. 5 and 7. FIG 5, in particular, shows the thermal gradient throughout the tubular vessel of the distillation system at each voltage, and FIG 7 illustrates the division of the target tube into three discrete zones. As shown in FIGS. 5 and 7, the target tube has a thermal profile (or temperature gradient) in which the inner temperature of the target tube degrades gradually, divides into each fractional zone ―(a) a distillation zone; (b) a separation zone; and (c) a cooling zone according to its inner temperature. Concretely, since the difference between (a) distilling zone and (c) condensing zone is about 180∼200°C, it may be preferably possible to control the distillation of sulfur using the target tube designed to in accordance with the present invention.

3. Effect on Inner Pressure of the Target Tube

To determine effect on inner pressure of the target tube, the distillation of sulfur in a variety of inner pressure and its temperature carried out as follows.

FIGs. 8A and 8B show two-type target tubes as the positions of sulfur after sulfur was distilled at 240 °C in a target tube, which was sealed at atmospheric pressure (FIG 8A) and at 210 °C in a target tube that was sealed under 0.1 torr and inserted into a length of 7 cm into a distillation tube (FIG 8B). As shown in FIG 8A, it is found that the molten sulfur does not move to the cooling zone (c), wholly remaining in the distillation zone (a). On the contrary, FIG 8B shows that total amount of the molten sulfur is move to the cooling zone. This is evidence that it can be more effective to distill sulfur when the target tube is degassed and sealed.

EXAMPLE 2 1. Preparation of Radioactive Phosphorus (32P)

Radioactive phosphorus was prepared according to the method of the present invention.

Five grams of elementary sulfur (powder) was charged into a target tube having a dimension of 1.1cm×12cm (diameter × length). The tube was degassed with the aid of vacuum machine to reach an inner pressure of 0.1 torr, and then sealed by heating with a torch. To irradiate radical rays, the target tube was inserted into an aluminum capsule immersed in a bath of cooling water. After cooling down, the aluminum capsule was sealed by cold rolling and transferred to the irradiation reactor.

The sealed capsule was inserted into an irradiation reactor (IP No. 15) in a HANARO reactor (kept by the inventor) for producing an isotope and then was irradiated radical rays for 72 hours. The fast neutron flux of irradiation hole was 2.38×1012n/cm2s. The used sulfur is highly purified in the same procedure as described in Example 1 (purity >99%).

After the completion of irradiating, the target tube isolated from the aluminum capsule was inserted into the distillation apparatus, heated to maintain the temperature around the neck to 180°C under regulated voltage and then distilled for one hour. As the distillation of sulfur was progressed, the yellowish powdery sulfur was observed the in cooling zone. After the completion of distillation, the powdery sulfur was present in the cooling zone. In contrast, any phosphorus nuclides (32P) in the distilling zone were not observed.

After the target was cleaved at its neck to recover phosphorus nuclides (32P) and unreacted sulfur thus formed, separately, the sulfur in the half-target tube (of cooling zone) was charged into a storage that was previously weighed.

To recover the obtained phosphorus nuclides, a chemical treatment carried out as follows.

A mixture of 20ml of 0.1N HCl and 0.1ml of 30% H2O2 aqueous solution was added to the half-target tube (with 32P present) and the remaining 32P was leached out at 70°C for two hours.

A form of orthophosphoric acid (H332PO4) dissolved in the HCl aqueous solution was present in the obtained leachate. To delete the radiated cation in the leachate, purification of the leachate carried out using column chromatography. After a cation exchange resin (Bio Rad AG50W-X8H+, 100-200 mesh) was poured into a water to fully swell, thus the swelled resin was filled with column (Bio Rad Chromatography Column, 0.8×4cm) in a volume of 2ml and then washed with 2ml of 0.05M HCl aqueous solution. Passing the leachate through the column, H332PO4 solution was recovered. In order to obtain further H332PO4 remaining in the column, 2ml of 0.05M HCl aqueous solution was past through the column, repeatedly twice in this procedure. The obtained mixture was combined with the earlier recovered H332PO4 solution.

In addition, H332PO4 was prepared in the same manner as the above procedure except for cooling time (5.7 days).

EXPERIMENTAL EXAMPLE 2 1. Test for Radionuclidic Purity

Because 32P is a pure beta radiator, the identification of the obtained 32P solution was accomplished by a measurement of its half-life.

Five milliliters of H332PO4 solution charged into an ample (volume 10ml, thickness 0.6mm) was inserted into ionization chamber (Capintec "127-R"), which was previously calibrated using a standard source and then measured for its radioactivity using a beta counter (Capintec "beta eta C").

To detect impurities, the vial with a volume of 10ml containing a small portion of H332PO4 solution was inserted into a plastic box having a thickness of 3cm to shield Bremsstrahlung radiation radiated from the 32P. A gamma radiation spectrum was recorded using a multiple-channel analyzer equipped with an HPGe detector. The results are summarized in Table 2 and in FIG 9. No. Amount of sulfur Irradiation time* Cooling time Radioactivity of 32P Yield observed Calculated** 1 5g 72 hours 25.7 days 1.42 mCi 1.45 mCi 97.9% 2 5g 72 hours 5.7 days 3.65 mCi 3.83 mCi 95.3%
* fast Neutron Flux: 2.38×1012n/cm2s ** cross section: 0.065b

As shown in Table 2, it was confirmed that 32P prepared according to the method of the present invention was highly pure, since the yield of 32P was over 95% relative to that of the calculated value.

In addition, in FIG 9, gamma-radiation impurities were detected at the lowest limit of 5×10-5% and not exceeding 0.001%. In FIG 9, K-40 (1460KeV) and T1-208 (2614KeV) are means a background radiation.

2. Test for Radiochemical Purity

To determine radiochemical purity of 32P prepared in Table 2 (item No. 2), paper chromatography was carried out as follows.

Since the leachate, 32P dissolved in 0.1N HCl, is present as a form of H332PO4, the inventors carried out a paper chromatography to identify the radiochemical purity of 32P. As a stationary phase, Whatman paper No. 1 was used before the paper washed with diluted HCl aqueous solution followed by air-drying. As a mobile phase, the mixture of isopanol, H2O, trichloro acetic acid, and ammonia (in quantities of 75ml, 25ml, 5g, and 0.3ml, respectively) was used. On the paper was pointed one drop of the mixture, dried, and then developed for two hours. Using a beta chromatogram scanner, the Rf value was measured, and the thus obtained chromatogram is show in FIG 10.

FIG 10 shows that the radiochemical purity of H332PO4 was over 99% and impurities remained in small quantities. Although FIG 10 does not show compositions of the impurities, the presence of orthophophate (Rf value: 0.76), metaphosphate (Rf value: 0.00), and pyrophosphate (Rf value: 0.40) was observed. This result is evidence that the 32P prepared according to method of the present invention is highly pure.

3. Test for Solid Content

To determine an amount of 32P obtained according to the present invention, a content of solid in the leachate was detected as follows.

The H332PO4 leachate was poured into a vial (1ml, 0.15mCi), which was previously weighed, and a solute was removed by evaporation under infrared lamp, and then the amount of the obtained solid was weighed (content: 0.2 mg/ml).

The characteristics of the 32P prepared according to method of the invention, therefore, are as follows:

Hence, the method according to the present invention is suitable for preparation of 32P and 33P with about 100mCi of radioactive concentration using costly and highly concentrated 32S. Especially, it is fully possible to prepare 1∼2Ci of 32P and 33P, when 2∼3g of 32S as a target material is used, by irradiating followed by chemical treatment.

Moreover, the obtained H332PO4 is preferably used for preparing 32P labeled nucleotides as well as bone pain palliation in metastasis.

As herein above described and exemplified, the method in accordance with the present invention is practicable for a preparation method for radioactive phosphorus, which comprises inserting powdery sulfur into a target tube with neck, irradiating the powdery sulfur to convert radioactive phosphorus, and distilling the target tube with thermal profile followed by recovery. In addition, the method of the invention enables the effective preparation of radioactive phosphorus with high purity and safety. The method also enables recovery as almost total contents of the used sulfur, as it was, and reusing the used target tube subsequently so that can be directly drop in another preparation of 32P.

The embodiments are merely exemplary and are not to be construed as limiting the present invention. The present teachings can be readily applied to other types of apparatuses. The description of the present invention is intended to be illustrative, and not to limit the scope of the claims. Many alternatives, modifications, and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art.


Anspruch[en]
  1. A method for distilling sulfur to prepare radioactive phosphorus nuclide, comprising the steps of:
    • (a) charging powdered sulfur into a distillation zone of a target tube (10), said target tube being designed to have an upper neck (11), and a bottom neck (12) which functions as a separation zone, dividing the target tube into a distillation zone and a cooling zone;
    • (b) degassing the target tube to form a vacuum therein, followed by heating the upper neck to seal the target tube;
    • (c) irradiating neutrons into the sealed target tube to produce radioactive phosphorus nuclide;
    • (d) heating the distillation zone to distill the remaining unreacted sulfur, but not the phosphorus nuclide and to allow the gasified sulfur to move over the bottom neck into the cooling zone; and
    • (e) cleaving the target tube at the bottom neck (12) to separate the distillation and the cooling zone from each other, the separated zones containing the radioactive phosphorus nuclide and the unreacted sulfur, respectively.
  2. A method according to Claim 1, wherein the heating in the step d) is carried out at a temperature ranging from 160°C to 240 °C.
  3. A method according to Claim 2, wherein the heating in the step d) is carried out at a temperature ranging from 180°C to 220°C.
  4. The method of any of Claims 1 to 3, wherein after degassing in the step b), the inner pressure of the target tube ranges from 0.1 torr to 1 torr.
  5. A method according to any of Claims 1 to 4, wherein the depth of the bottom neck of the target tube is controlled relative to an amount of powdered sulfur to prevent the countercurrent of the sulfur from the cooling zone upon distillation of said sulfur.
  6. A method according to any of Claims 1 to 5, wherein the thus obtained radioactive phosphorus nuclides in the step e) are recovered by chemical treatment.
  7. A method according to Claim 6, wherein the chemical treatment comprises: extracting the radioactive phosphorus nuclides with acid solution to form H332PO4 followed by passing thus obtained mixture through column chromatography.
  8. A method according to any of Claims 1 to 7, wherein the unreacted sulfur in the step e) is reused in another preparation of radioactive phosphorus nuclides.
  9. A method according to any of Claims 1 to 8, wherein the cooling of unreacted sulfur in the step e) is carried out under air-cooling or by cooling water.
  10. An apparatus for distilling sulfur to prepare radioactive phosphorus nuclides by the method of any of Claims 1 to 9 comprising:
    • (a) a distillation heater (201) with heat coils (201b) for providing heat to a target tube (10) according to Claim 1 or Claim 2;
    • (b) a heat controller (203) for controlling the heat transferred to the target tube in conjunction with a temperature measurer (202);
    • (c) a tubular vessel (201a) for adapting the target tube to the distillation apparatus; and
    • (d) a heat insulator (201c) for insulating the tubular vessel.
  11. The apparatus of the claim 10, wherein the tubular vessel (201 a) is designed to have an open side and an inner diameter larger than the outer diameter of the target tube.
  12. The apparatus of the Claim 10 or Claim 11, wherein a cooling zone for recovering the unreacted sulfur is positioned in the open portion of the tubular vessel (201a).
  13. A target tube for irradiation of a substrate, comprising a tubular vessel formed of neutron radiation-permeable material and capable of withstanding an internal vacuum, comprising a first (lower) bulb (10a) interconnected via a first neck (12) to a second (upper) bulb (10b) itself interconnected via a second neck (11) to an open bulb (10c).
  14. A target tube according to Claim 13 wherein the tubular vessel is formed of quartz.
  15. A method of using the target tube according to Claim 14, comprising loading sulfur into the lower bulb (10a); degassing to form a vacuum; and heating to seal the upper neck (11).






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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