Isotope Program Facilities

Isotope Program Facilities

The DOE Isotope Program stewards two production facilities as well as several separation facilities to supply priority isotope products and perform related services.  Priority isotopes are those which are in short supply and are critical to the Nation.  These two accelerator-based radioisotope production facilities operate in a highly collaborative and supportive manner to ensure adequate, reliable supplies of these important materials. In addition to the facilities stewarded by the program, the Isotope Program also supports operations of facilities outside of its portfolio for isotope production. Examples of such facilities include the High Flux Isotope Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Advanced Test Reactor at Idaho National Laboratory. The DOE Isotope Program also supports isotope production at a number of university sites. The Isotope Program also supports the conduct of research related to isotope production at these facilities.

Isotope Research Facilities

Brookhaven Linac Isotope Producer (BLIP)


BLIP beamline with the target room in the background

The BLIP facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory consists of a beam line and target area that shares proton bunches from the 200 MeV 120 mA linear injector accelerator for the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC).  The proton beam’s interaction with specific target materials enables the production of a variety of isotopes to distribute to the nuclear medicine and industrial communities for research and commercial purposes.  It also is used in an R&D capacity to develop new and improved isotope production capabilities and to perform non-isotope irradiations such as materials research.  Multiple targets are irradiated in a water-cooled holder, and then raised from the accelerator vault to a hot cell with remote handling.  Once appropriately packaged, irradiated targets are transported on site to a dedicated hot-cell processing facility that includes 8 hot cells as well as supporting infrastructure and radiochemistry laboratories.

The facility recently initiated efforts to upgrade beam diagnostics, raise the beam current to ~140 mA, and add rastering of the beam on the target to enable irradiation of targets at greater beam currents.

More information can be found at the BLIP Homepage.

Isotope Production Facility (IPF)

Isotope Production Facilities

BLIP beamline with the target room in the background

The Isotope Production Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory produces radioisotopes using the 100 MeV, 250 mA proton beam produced at the front end of the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) linac facility.  Its water-cooled target holder contains space for several targets, arranged to take advantage of the decreasing energy still available after the beam traverses a target.  Like the BLIP Facility, there are on-site hot cell, chemical processing, and packaging capabilities to convert the produced material into a form suitable for use by its customers.  Also like BLIP, the IPF is used to perform research to develop new and improved isotope production capabilities.

More information can be found at the IPF Homepage

If you are interested in purchasing isotopes or checking on their availability, please visit the NIDC Website.