How to Make a 234mPa Radionuclide generator

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Procedure for Making a 234mPa Nuclide Generator

  1. Make a cation exchanger using Dowex 50-4: Put 4-5 g Dowex in 2 M HCl and pour it into the column. Refill with HCl as needed to make sure your column do not run dry. Cap the column to stop the HCl from flowing through your column. Your supervisor will explain the details.
 Lab Radionuclide generator column Pouring.jpg
Pouring of HCl into column filled with dowex.
  1. Dissolve about 4 g of uranium (in the form of the compound UO2(NO3)2) in 10 mL of HCl and pour the solution into the column. Let the solution flow through the column - uranium is negatively charged and will go straight through, but thorium is positively charged and will stick to the column. Refill with 2 M HCl as needed. Catch the uranium solution exiting the column in a separate beaker - it has to be treated as radioactive waste.

Lab Radionuclide generator column U02Ac.jpg
Column Filled with Uranyl. Ready to be rinsed with HCl
  1. Flush the column with 2 M HCl until there is no more uranium left - you test for uranium with a drop of NaAc + K4(Fe(CN)6) solution. Again, the solution exiting the column must be treated as radioactive waste.
  2. Now, we must remove the hydrochloric acid: Pour 5% citric acid through the column until there is no trace of HCl. You check for presence of HCl with AgNO3 solution.
  3. Fill up the column reservoir with citric acid and cap it.
  4. Wait a certain time (how long?) until 234mPa have reached its equilibrium amount.
  5. Remove the cap and use a pressure balloon to quickly force out 20 drops from the column into a counting disk.
  6. Replace the cap and start counting as fast as possible. Make sure the column is not leaking.