Springs ATG Awarded Follow-on Contracts by NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes
(Westminster, CO) December 2020 – Springs Advanced Technology Group (ATG), LLC was awarded follow-on contracts by NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, LCC (NorthStar) to continue to engineer, design, and fabricate several portions of NorthStar’s Molybdenum-99 accelerator production system including a hot cell, target insertion mechanism, target assembly, and local target shielding. The ATG Team has been working with NorthStar on this system since September 2019 with delivery scheduled in 2021.
The hot cell houses equipment used to insert the Mo target into the target chamber and later retrieve it. This transit is accomplished via the target assembly which is a shielded vacuum tube which transects the outer vault shielding and terminates within the local target shielding. The target chamber is internally cooled by high pressure/velocity helium. Excess heat generated by the accelerator process is further diffused by a shielded water-jacket internal to the local target shielding.
In order to enable efficient maintenance, NorthStar proposed a modular approach to the local target shielding, which could be easily dismantled. ATG developed several concepts which coalesced into a nested 2 system design. Heat dissipation is handled via a high-flow water jacket integrated with the beamline, which is in turn ensconced within stacked low-flow shielding boxes which handle the radiation. This arrangement allows for fine tuning of flow by zone, and rapid dismantling of the shielding elements for beamline maintenance access.
ATG has taken an active role as the primary contractor to manage the overall project and guide the design effort. ATG has partnered with outside engineering firms MBraun USA and Walsh Engineering to produce plug & play solutions for NorthStar. MBraun has been tasked with design of the hot cell, target insertion mechanism, target assembly, and the overall control system, while ATG has tapped its internal engineering department to develop the local target shielding. Walsh has provided structural, thermal, and flow analysis, integrating heat deposition data developed by the Argonne National Laboratory into actionable 3D models.
A full-size proof-of-concept model was constructed by ATG to prove out ergonomics within the hot cell. MBraun provided 3D-printed components of internal tools and jigs. After successful trials were conducted, the POC was shipped to NorthStar to be used for training staff. ATG has also built prototypes of critical items, such as the target holder and conducted in-house testing. Together, ATG and MBraun will install and integrate the finished system at the NorthStar production facility in Beloit, Wisconsin. ATG will handle the physical installation of the system. MBraun will integrate the hot cell control system with that of the facility.
NorthStar is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NorthStar Medical Technologies, LLC, a privately held nuclear medicine technology company committed to providing domestically sourced radioisotopes to meet patient needs and advance clinical research.
Springs ATG, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Machine Build Technologies, LLC, a small business that specializes in custom nuclear, biohazard, and chemical containment systems, including hot cells, gloveboxes, enclosures, and isolators with services including testing and systems integration. Springs ATG, LLC also provides similar engineered systems and equipment to the Department of Energy.