Photoneutrons for neutron capture therapy
The paper is a summary of the presentation made at the RuPAC 2014 conference (Obninsk, Russia ). Possibilities of neutron capture therapy (NCT) based on a powerful mediumenergy electron accelerator are analyzed. An accelerator with 35 MeV of electron energy and 4 mA of average beam current has been selected. Similar accelerators are available in the world market. Gallium is chosen as an accelerator target, because of its small induced activity which falls down quickly enough; herein the neutron yield is sufficient for NCT.
Thus, for characteristic irradiation at NCT, the target activity decay up to the background level will occur practically during four days. Besides, liquid gallium offers excellent thermohydraulic characteristics required for the coolant: a) low flowing temperature, and b) wide range of liquidphase temperature. It means that radiation heat release in the target could be readily removed. Simulation techniques of neutron production, radiation transport in the beam removal block and beam optimization for the NCT are developed, investigated and proved. These techniques are based on the Monte Carlo transport codes of the MCNP family. A set of materials is investigated as the neutron moderators and gamma filters (to suppress high gamma radiation from a target), and the optimal one is chosen, namely, lead difluoride PbF2. It is shown, that in terms of standard “in air” and “in phantom” characteristics the resulting neutron beam is in compliance with the NCT requirements and surpasses the existing reactor beams intended for radical neutron capture therapy and those under development. The following beams are taken for comparison: a beam of the FCB MIT (USA, now decommissioned), “reference” for NCT; an epithermal beam of the TAPIRO reactor (Italy, decommissioned as well); and a beam from the dedicated MARS reactor currently under development (Russia).
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