Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya Energetika

The peer-reviewed scientific and technology journal. ISSN: 0204-3327

Photoneutrons for neutron capture therapy

12/29/2014 2014 - #04 Application of nuclear tech

Kurachenko Yu.A.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.26583/npe.2014.4.05

UDC: 615.849.1:536.2.023:519.688

The paper is a summary of the presentation made at the RuPAC 2014 conference (Obninsk, Russia [1]). 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).


  1. RuPAC 2014: XXIV Russian Particle Accelerators Conference. OCTOBER 6 – 10, 2014, OBNINSK, RUSSIA. Available at http://www.ippe.ru/ninf/konsem/RuPAC2014-Scientific-Program.pdf.
  2. Kurachenko Yu.A., Goverdovsky A.A., Rachkov V.I. Novyj intensivnyj istochnik nejtronovdlya medicinskih prilozhenij [New intensive neutron source for medical application]. Medicinskaya fizika. 2012, no. 2 (38), pp. 29–38 (in Russian).
  3. Kurachenko Yu.A., Kazanskij Yu.A., Matusevich Eu.S. Kriterii kachestva nejtronnyh puchkov dlya luchevoj terapii [Neutron beams’ quality criteria for radiation therapy]. Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya energetika. 2008, no. 1, pp. 139 – 149 (in Russian).
  4. Kurachenko Yu.A. Reaktornye puchki dlya luchevoj terapii: kriterii kachestva i raschyotnye tekhnologii [Reactor beams for the radiation therapy: quality criteria and computation technologies]. Medicinskaya fizika. 2008, no. 2 (38), pp. 20–28 (in Russian).
  5. Kurachenko Yu.A., Matusevich Eu.S., Levchenko A.V. Kriterii kachestva nejtronnyh puchkov dlya nejtron-zahvatnoj terapii [Neutron beams’ quality criteria for neutron capture therapy]. Al’manah klinicheskoj mediciny. 2008, volume XVII, part 1, pp. 329–333 (in Russian).
  6. Kurachenko Yu.A.,Kazansky Yu.A, Levchenko A.V., Matusevich Eu.S. Beam’s removing block for the MARS medical reactor. Proc. VI International Conference NUCLEAR AND RADIATION PHYSICS ICNRP’07. Almaty, Kazakhstan. 2007. Abstracts, p. 574.
  7. Kurachenko Yu. A. Neutron Therapy Beam’s Performance Criteria. Proc. VII International Conference NUCLEAR AND RADIATION PHYSICS ICNRP’09. Almaty, Kazakhstan. 2009. Abstracts, pp. 268-269.
  8. Kurachenko Yu. A. Reaktornye puchki dlya luchevoj terapii. Raschyotnye modeli i vychislitel’nye tekhnologii [Reactor beams for radiation therapy. Calculation models and computation technologies]. Palmarium Academic Publishing, OmniScriptum GmbH&Co. RG,Saarbrьcken, Deutschland. (ISBN: 978-3-8473-9842-4) 2013. 372 p. (in Russian).
  9. Khimiya itekhnologiya redkih i rasseyannyh elementov [Chemistry and technology of less-common and trace elements]. Ed. by K.A. Bol’shakov. Moscow, Vysshaya Shkola Publ. 1976. 368 p.
  10. Ivanova R.V. Khimiya itekhnologiya galliya [Chemistry and technology of Gallium]. Moscow, Metallurgya Publ. 1973. 392 p.
  11. Denise B Pelowitz, MCNPX USER’S MANUAL Version 2.4.0. LA-CP-07-1473.
  12. MCNP – A General Monte Carlo N-Particle Transport Code, Version 5. Volume I: Overview and Theory. Authors: X-5 Monte Carlo Team. LA-UR-03-1987.April 24, 2003.
  13. The Basics of Boron Neutron Capture Therapy. Available at http://web.mit.edu/nrl/www/bnct/facilities/facilities.html
  14. MIT BNCT Facilities. Fission Converter Beam (FCB). Available at http://web.mit.edu/nrl/www/bnct/facilities/MIT BNCT Facilities.htm
  15. Burn K.W. et al. Final Design and Construction Issues of the TAPIRO Epithermal Column. Report at ICNCT-XII, Oct. 9-13, 2006. ICNCT2006@antm.or.jp., Available at http://icnct-12.umin.jp/
  16. Reattore TAPIRO: ENEA Internal Document, DISP/TAP/85-1, 1985. In: Design of neutron beams for boron neutron capture therapy in a fast reactor. Current status of neutron capture therapy, IAEA-TECDOC-1223, 2001.
  17. G. Rosi et al. ROLE OF THE TAPIRO FAST RESEARCH REACTOR IN NEUTRON CAPTURE THERAPY IN ITALY. Calculations and measurements. IAEA-CN-10097. In:Research Reactor Utilization, Safety, Decommissioning, Fuel and Waste Management Proceedings of an international conference 10–14 November 2003 Santiago, Chile. pp. 325-338.
  18. Kurachenko Yu.A., Moiseenko D.N. MARS i TAPIRO: reaktory maloj moschnosti dlya nejtrono-zahvatnoj terapii [MARS & TAPIRO: small-capacity reactors for neutron capture therapy]. Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya energetika. 2010, no. 1, pp. 153 – 163 (in Russian).
  19. Kurachenko Yu.A. Optimizatciya bloka vyvoda puchka medicinskogo reaktora MARS [The MARS medical reactor beam’s removal block optimization]. Al’manah klinicheskoj mediciny. 2008, v. XVII, part 1, pp. 334–337 (in Russian).
  20. Zamenhof R.G., Murray B.W., Brownell G.L., Wellum G.R., Tolpin E.I. Boron Neutron Capture Therapy for the Treatment of Cerebral Gliomas. 1: Theoretical Evaluation of the Efficacy of Various Neutron Beams, Med. Phys., v. 2, pp. 47-60, 1975.

neutron capture therapy electron accelerator photoneutrons gallium target activation protection of the patient beam’s super characteristics up-to-date medical technologies