Electrochemical separation techniques are not widely used in radionuclide generator technology and only a few studies have been reported [1-4]. Nevertheless, this strategy is useful when other parent-daughter separation techniques are not effective or not possible. Such situations are frequent when low specific activity (LSA) parent radionuclides are used for instance with adsorption chromatographic separations, which can result in lower concentration of the daughter radionuclide in the eluent. In addition, radiation instability of the column matrix in many cases can affect the performance of the generator when long lived parent radionuclides are used. Intricate knowledge of the chemistry involved in the electrochemical separation is crucial to develop a reproducible technology that ensures that the pure daughter radionuclide can be obtained in a reasonable time of operation. Crucial parameters to be critically optimized include the applied potential, choice of electrolyte, selection of electrodes, temperature of electrolyte bath and the time of electrolysis in order to ensure that the daughter radionuclide can be reproducibly recovered in high yields and high purity. The successful electrochemical generator technologies which have been developed and are discussed in this paper include the 90Sr/90Y, 188W/188Re and 99Mo/99mTc generators. Electrochemical separation not only acts as a separation technique but also is an effective concentration methodology which yields high radioactive concentrations of the daughter products. The lower consumption of reagents and minimal generation of radioactive wastes using such electrochemical techniques are compatible with ‘green chemistry’ principles.
Keywords: Electrochemical separation, No-carrier-added, Radionuclide generator, 99Mo/99mTc generator, 90Sr/90Y generator, 188W/188Re generator, radioisotope, Electrochemical generator, radiopharmacy, HEU