Navigation Links
Peacetime use of radioisotopes at Oak Ridge cited as Chemical Landmark

The production and distribution of radioactive isotopes for peacetime uses at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will be designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark by the American Chemical Society in a special ceremony in Oak Ridge, Tenn., on March 6.

Bruce E. Bursten, Ph.D., president of the Society, will present a commemorative plaque to Thomas Mason, Ph.D., the director of ORNL. Bursten said the distribution of radioisotopes, which began in 1946, demonstrated the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, providing medical, scientific, and industrial benefits to society. These important activities at ORNL are among those that ultimately led President Eisenhower to make his famous Atoms for Peace speech to the United Nations in 1953. Because of its pivotal role in making nuclear energy a powerful tool for peaceful purposes, ORNL is clearly worthy of a National Historic Chemical Landmark. Bursten is Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The University of Tennessee and Battelle jointly manage ORNL for the U.S. Department of Energy.

The American Chemical Society (ACS), the worlds largest scientific society, sponsors the landmarks program. Only 60 chemical landmarks have been recognized nationwide in the fifteen years since the inception of this program. This makes ORNL a site of distinction, for contributions that reach far beyond the boundaries of scientific circles, touching many lives over many decades, said Judy Benham, Ph.D., chair of the ACS Board of Directors.

Clinton Laboratories, now Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was built during World War II as part of the Manhattan Project; it was the site of the worlds first operational nuclear reactor, called the Clinton Pile or the Graphite Reactor. But the end of hostilities in August 1946 left the fate of the lab in doubt as it was not at all clear whether the government would fund peacetime atomic research.

The production and distribution of radioisotopes became part of the answer to the question of what would happen after the end of World War II. Accordingly, on August 2, 1946, Eugene Wigner, the laboratorys director, stood in front of the Graphite Reactor and presented a small container of carbon-14 to the director of the Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital of St. Louis. Wigners presentation marked the beginning of the peacetime uses of atomic energy.

In the first year alone, the facility made more than a thousand shipments of radioisotopes, mostly of iodine-131, phosphorus-32, and carbon-14. Over the years, thousands of shipments left Oak Ridge, destined for use in research laboratories and medical centers. These isotopes had numerous scientific and medical applications as well as industrial and agricultural uses.

Perhaps the most common uses of radioisotopes are in medicine, for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Nuclear medicine began in the post-War years with doctors using iodine-131 to diagnose and then treat thyroid diseases, a very successful therapy.

Radioisotopes of carbon, cesium, cobalt, and many other elements have been used in cancer therapy. Technetium-99 has a multitude of uses in diagnostic imaging, and other radioisotopes are used as tracers in biological systems. These tracers are generally short-lived radioisotopes.

Plant hybridizers used radioisotopes to induce mutations in developing new horticultural varieties and to study the absorption of nutrients in plants. Radioisotopes have a number of industrial uses; one isotope, americium-241, for example, is used in smoke detectors.

The designation ceremony takes place on March 6 at 2:00 p.m. in the conference center, Tennessee Rooms A&B at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn. A second, identical plaque will be placed at the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge.

The American Chemical Society established the chemical landmarks program in 1992 to recognize seminal historic events in chemistry and to increase awareness of the contributions of chemistry to society. In 1995, the ACS designated the Chemicals from Coal Facility of Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tenn., as a National Historic Chemical Landmark.

Other landmarks named through this prestigious program have included the invention of Bakelite, the discovery of penicillin, the development of Tide laundry detergent, and the work of historical figures, including Joseph Priestley, Antoine Lavoisier, and George Washington Carver, among others. For more on the Landmark program, please visit


Contact: Charmayne Marsh
American Chemical Society

Related medicine news :

1. Concentric Medical Names Kimberly Bridges as Vice President of Sales, Announces Receipt of $15 Million Growth Funding
2. Free Book: Critically Acclaimed Book on Anger Management Now Available in Both Unabridged Audio and Print Form Worldwide
3. Bridges to Excellence Launches Medical Home Program
4. Breckenridge Pharmaceutical Settles Paragraph IV Litigation and Receives FDA Approval for its Oxcarbazepine ANDA
5. Breckenridge Pharmaceutical Signs Long Term Agreement with Helm AG (Hamburg, Germany)
6. Audio from Medialink and GlaxoSmithKline: Cleaning House ... Overhaul Your Fridge and Pantry to Lose Weight
7. Bridges to Excellence Announces New Implementation Programs for Health Plans and Additions to Board of Directors
8. Thoratec Announces Unanimous FDA Advisory Panel Recommendation for Approval of HeartMate II(R) for Bridge-to-Transplantation
9. Story tips from the Department of Energys Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Nov. 2007
10. The Cambridge Group Names Two New Principals
11. Abbott Broadens Use of i-STAT Handheld Blood Analyzer with CLIA Waiver Granted by FDA for CHEM8+ Test Cartridge
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/27/2016)... Aliso Viejo, California (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... that are fully customizable inside of Final Cut Pro X," said Christina Austin - ... with another unique style. Final Cut Pro X users can now reveal ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... Park, KS (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... in retailers of Eyeglasses . , Millions of individuals in the United States ... eyeglasses have become a way to both correct vision and make a fashion statement. ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by ... to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from ... the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, ... Mohs Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. ... skin cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, ... and his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained ... Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  In a startling report released today, National ... by lacking a comprehensive, proven plan to eliminate prescription opioid overdoses. ... of how states are tackling the worst drug crisis in recorded ... – Kentucky , New Mexico ... . Of the 28 failing states, three – Michigan ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Research and Markets ... Issue 52" report to their offering. ... treatment creates a favourable commercial environment for MedImmune to enter. ... base that will serve to drive considerable growth for effective ... serve to cap sales considerably, but development is still in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... the establishment of Astellas Farma Colombia (AFC), a new affiliate with operations headquartered in Bogota. Colombia ... ... Sandra ... ... Astellas is a pharmaceutical company ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: