- On 25/06/2020
- cobalt, cobalt gun, Corona virus, COVID-19, nuclear, nuclear reactor, rosatom, russian nuclear industry
In Russia, the practical implementation of the isotope business development program has begun, which will make it possible to occupy up to 30% of the world market in the coming years. It’s about the production of the cobalt-60 isotope, around which there are many legends, but which suddenly became super-demanded throughout the world. How this is connected with the cobalt bomb, cobalt gun, and coronavirus – we will analyse in today’s issue.
This is Fantastic!
Russia has launched a program that will increase our share of the global market for cobalt-60 isotope producers from 15% to 30%. How this will be implemented, we will describe further, but first, let’s recall what this isotope is and what it is for.
Cobalt-60 is a radioactive nuclide of a chemical element of cobalt. It is produced artificially in reactors and is widely used in various fields. Since the middle of the last century, he came into the view of science fiction writers and became the hero of many works. Basically, as a filling for the so-called “Dirty cobalt bomb,” which can destroy all life on the planet. Although in the real world such a bomb does not exist, however, the heroes of comics and movies with enviable regularity tear it out of the hands of crazy terrorists. This gave the isotope a bad and undeserved glory while the truth is its peaceful use is greatly beneficial to humanity. However, although no cobalt bomb exists, the cobalt gun is quite real. We will talk about it after a brief roundup of news.
The Ministry of Defence has completed the construction of 16 multifunctional medical centres in 15 regions of the country to provide assistance to infected coronaviruses.
The new Russian deep-sea vehicle Vityaz-D sank for the first time to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
Zvezda shipyard launched the first Russian Aframax tanker.
A new wind farm has been launched in the Rostov Region.
A new stage in the localisation of gas turbine production has begun at the Nevsky Plant.
According to the results of the international competition, where the strongest teams of the planet competed, the Russian speech recognition technology from the CSTs company is recognised as one of the best in the world.
The Useful isotope
A cobalt gun is a medical therapeutic device that helps fight malignant tumours. Tumour cells are bombarded by gamma rays, and as a result, their reproduction and activity are suspended. Cobalt-60 is also used in the so-called gamma knives for radio-surgery of tumours in the brain. As you see, he is called not to kill but to save people. However, the isotope gained particular relevance as a result of the ongoing pandemic of the coronavirus.
Have you ever thought that all those medical masks, gloves, and suits that are used to protect against the virus, especially in medical facilities, should initially be absolutely sterile? The same applies to transport systems, or, more simply, tubes used for tests for coronavirus. All these and other objects are sterilised using special emitters and cobalt-60.
That work was undertaken by Rosatom, which today has already disinfected over 20 million masks and 300 thousand transport systems. Without the ability to independently produce cobalt-60, this would be impossible. So where and how is it produced?
Not only cobalt
Cobalt-60 is produced in special reactors, mainly as part of nuclear power plants. In Russia, these are the Kursk, Leningrad and Smolensk NPPs, and soon Beloyarsk, where this year the first batch of the highly active cobalt-60 isotope will be obtained. It is the Beloyarsk NPP reactor that provides a large neutron flux and allows you to get a product with high specific activity faster. Thanks to him, Russia plans to double the share in the global market. After all, not only medical devices are sterilised with an isotope, but also all kinds of waste, even planting agricultural material and food.
However, when Russia claims to expand the production of isotopes, they mean not only cobalt but also many others. We took cobalt-60 just as an actual example. But without neutron emitters, it is impossible to develop space, military equipment, and even electric vehicles and renewable energy sources. The fact is that silicon alloying is carried out in research nuclear reactors. The material thus obtained is used for the production of high voltage power semiconductors. And already they are an integral part of modern high-tech products.
Russia has accumulated enough groundwork in order to launch its offensive in the isotope market and squeeze out competitors