Technetium-99m transport and immobilisation in porous media: Development of a novel nuclear imaging technique

Claire L. Corkhill, Jonathan W. Bridge, Philip Hillel, Laura J. Gardner, Steven A. Banwart, Neil C. Hyatt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

5 Citations (Scopus)


Technetium-99, a β-emitting radioactive fission product of 235U, formed in nuclear reactors, presents a major challenge to nuclear waste disposal strategies. Its long half-life (2.1 × 10 5 years) and high solubility under oxic conditions as the pertechnetate anion [Tc(VII)O4] is particularly problematic for long-term disposal of radioactive waste in geological repositories. In this study, we demonstrate a novel technique for quantifying the transport and immobilisation of technetium-99m, a γ-emitting metastable isomer of technetium-99 commonly used in medical imaging. A standard medical gamma camera was used for non-invasive quantitative imaging of technetium-99m during co-advection through quartz sand and various cementitious materials commonly used in nuclear waste disposal strategies. Spatial moments analysis of the resulting 99mTc plume provided information about the relative changes in mass distribution of the radionuclide in the various test materials. 99mTc advected through quartz sand demonstrated typical conservative behaviour, while transport through the cementitious materials produced a significant reduction in radionuclide centre of mass transport velocity over time. Gamma camera imaging has proven an effective tool for helping to understand the factors which control the migration of radionuclides for surface, near-surface and deep geological disposal of nuclear waste.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationScientific Basis for Nuclear Waste Management XXXVI
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event2012 MRS Fall Meeting - Boston, MA, United States
Duration: 25 Nov 201230 Nov 2012

Publication series

NameMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0272-9172


Conference2012 MRS Fall Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston, MA


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