Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya Energetika

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

Optimization studies of photoneutron production

10/02/2016 2016 - #03 Nuclear medicine and biology

Kurachenko Yu.A. Zabaryansky Yu.G. Onischuk E.A.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.26583/npe.2016.3.15

UDC: 615.849.1:536.2.023:519.688

The development possibilities of the powerful photoneutron source for medicine are studied. The basis of the proposed concept is liquid gallium as the target/coolant for a powerful and compact electron accelerator. The fixed fragment of the target – a matrix of churlish tungsten, through which the gallium goes, dramatically increases the yield of photoneutrons. At the interaction of accelerated electrons with a massive target of Ga-W the main channel of energy loss is the bremsstrahlung. At electron energies above 15 MeV the bremsstrahlung gamma quanta are absorbed by the nuclei of Ga-W, and neutrons are emitted in the reactions (γ, n) in an energy region of so#called hyper-giant dipole resonance.Gallium is chosen as an accelerator target/coolant, because of its small induced activity which falls down quickly enough; herein the neutron yield is sufficient for the Nuclear Capture Therapy (NCT) providing. Thus, for characteristic irradiation at NCT, the target’s activity decay up to background will occur practically during four days. Besides, liquid gallium has necessary thermohydraulic characteristics as the coolant: a) low flowing temperature, and b) wide range of liquid-phase temperature. It means that radiation heat release in the target could be readily removed. The results of calculations for the photoneutrons removal block with combined target and its adaptation to the problems of neutron therapy are presented. Currently, as the competitive neutron therapy is increasingly becoming the NCT namely, and it is perceived by the community. Optimization of the target in order to maximize the neutron beam’s NCT characteristics with the organization of practically feasible heat-removal scheme was done. For the normalization of the results, the characteristics of available accelerator were taken: the average current of 4 mA at 35 MeV of electron energy. The optimal combined target «W+Ga» together with the optimal removal block allowed a tremendous increase in the intensity of the neutron beam while ensuring acceptable conditions of heat removing. At the 4 m/s of coolant velocity, the maximum temperature of the tungsten matrix is equal to 1300°C, while the coolant temperature is not higher than 290°C. It is shown that in this case the beam quality for NCT has hardly changed, and the exposure time required for the administered dose delivering is substantially reduced; epithermal flux density («therapeutic» neutrons) in the patient’s position is about 15 to 40 times greater than the flux density of existing and planned reactor beams for NCT.


  1. Kurachenko Yu.A., Goverdovsky A.A., Rachkov V.I. New intensive neutron source for medical application. Medicinskaya fizika, 2012, no. 2 (38), pp. 29-38 (in Russian).
  2. Kurachenko Yu.A. Photoneutrons for neutron capture therapy. Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya Energetika, 2014, no. 4, pp. 41-51 (in Russian).
  3. High Power Linacs for Isotope Production. MEVEX: The accelerator technology company. Available at: http://www.mevex.com/Brochures/Brochure_High_Energy.pdf.
  4. 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.
  5. Pelowitz D.B. MCNPX USER’S MANUAL Version 2.4.0 -LA-CP-07-1473.
  6. STAR-CD®. Available at: CD-adapco Engineering Simulation Software - CAE and CFD Software
  7. Liu H.B., Brugger R.M., Rorer D.C. Upgrades of the epithermal neutron beam at the Brookhaven medical research reactor. BNL-63411. Available at: http://www.iaea.org/inis/collection/NCLCollectionStore/_Public/28/014/28014354.pdf.
  8. Riley K.J., Binns P.J., Harling O.K. Performance characteristics of the MIT fission converter based epithermal neutron beam. Phys. Med. Biol., 2003, v. 48, pp. 943-958, 2003.
  9. Harling O.K., Riley K.J., Newton T.H., Wilson B.A., Bernard J.A., Hu L-W., Fonteneau E.J., Menadier P.T., Block E.R., Kohse G.E., Ostrovsky Y., Stahle P.W., Binns P.J. and Kiger III W.S. The new fission converter based epithermal neutron irradiation facility at MIT. Nuclear Reactor Laboratory, MIT, 138 Albany St., Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. Available at: http://www.iaea.org/inis/collection/NCLCollectionStore/_Public/36/026/36026570.pdf.
  10. 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, 1975, no. 2, pp. 47-60.
  11. Blue T.E., Yanch J.C. Accelerator-based epithermal neutron sources for boron neutron capture therapy of brain tumors. J Neurooncol, 2003, v. 62, pp. 19-31.
  12. Zhou Y., Gao Z., Li Y., Guo C., Liu X. Design and construction of the in-hospital neutron irradiator- 1(HNI). In Proceed of 12th ICNCT – Advances in Neutron Capture Therapy 2006; October 9–13; Takamatsu, Japan. Edited by Nakagawa Y., Kobayashi T., Fukuda H. 2006, pp. 557-560.
  13. Nigg D.W. Neutron sources and applications in radiotherapy-A brief history and current trends. In Advances in Neutron Capture Therapy 2006. Proc 12-th Intl Cong Neutron Capture Therapy; Oct 9–13. Edited by Nakagawa Y., Kobayashi T., Fukuda H. Takamatsu, Japan; 2006.
  14. Kurachenko Yu.A. Reactor beam’s removal block optimization for radiation therapy. Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya Energetika. 2008, no. 1, pp. 129 – 138 (in Russian).
  15. Kurachenko Yu.A. The MARS medical reactor beam’s removal block optimization. Al’manah klinicheskoj mediciny, 2008, v. XVII, part 1, pp. 334-337 (in Russian).
  16. Tanaka H., Sakurai Y., Suzuki M., Masunaga S., Mitsumoto T., Fujita K., Kashino G., Kinashi Y., Liu Y., Takada M., Ono K., Maruhashi A. Experimental verification of beam characteristics for cyclotron-based epithermal neutron source (C-BENS). Appl Radiat Isot., 2011, v. 69, pp. 1642-1645.
  17. Kurachenko Yu.A., Kazanskij Yu.A., Matusevich Eu.S. Neutron beams’ quality criteria for radiation therapy. Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya Energetika, 2008, no. 1, pp. 139-149 (in Russian).
  18. Kurachenko Yu.A. Reactor beams for the radiation therapy: quality criteria and computation technologies. Medicinskaya fizika, 2008, no. 2 (38), pp. 20-28 (in Russian).
  19. Kurachenko Yu.A., Matusevich Eu.S., Levchenko A.V. Neutron beams’ quality criteria for neutron capture therapy. Al’manah klinicheskoj mediciny, 2008, v. XVII, part 1, pp. 329-333 (in Russian).
  20. Kurachenko Yu.A.,Kazansky Yu.A., Levchenko A.V., Matusevich Eu.S. Beam’s removing block for the MARS medical reactor. Proc. VIth International Conference NUCLEAR AND RADIATION PHYSICS ICRNP’07. Almaty, Kazakhstan. 2007. Abstracts, p. 574.
  21. Kurachenko Yu. A. Neutron Therapy Beam’s Performance Criteria. Proc. VIIth International Conference NUCLEAR AND RADIATION PHYSICS ICRNP’09. Almaty, Kazakhstan. 2009. Abstracts, pp. 268-269.
  22. Kurachenko Yu. A.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).
  23. Kurachenko Yu.A., Kazansky Yu.A, Levchenko A.V., Matusevich Eu.S. The neutron beams’ removing and radiation shielding of the MARS medical reactor. Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya Energetika, 2006, no. 4, pp. 36-48 (in Russian).
  24. 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.
  25. Carta M., Palomba M. TRIGA RC-1 and TAPIRO ENEA Research Reactors. Available at: https://www.iaea.org/OurWork/ST/NE/NEFW/Technical-Areas/RRS/documents/TM_Innovation/Carta_ENEA.pdf.
  26. General information and technical data of TAPIRO research reactor. Available at: http://www.enea.it/en/research-development/documents/nuclear-fission/tapiro-eng-pdf.
  27. Nuclear Research Reactor: TAPIRO. Available at: http://old.enea.it/com/ingl/New_ingl/research/energy/nucleare_fission/pdf/TAPIRO-ENG.pdf.
  28. Kurachenko Yu.A., Moiseenko D.N. MARS & TAPIRO: small-capacity reactors for neutron capture therapy]. Izvestiya vuzov. Yadernaya Energetika. 2010, no. 1, pp. 153-163 (in Russian).
  29. Kurachenko Yu. A. MARS vs TAPIRO: Small Reactors for Neutron Therapy. Proc. VIIth International Conference NUCLEAR AND RADIATION PHYSICS ICRNP’09. Almaty, Kazakhstan. 2009. Abstracts, pp. 265-266.
  30. Kurachenko Yu.A., Moiseenko D.N. Dose loads at the neutron capture therapy on the MARS & TAPIRO reactors. Proc. III Eurasia Congress on Medical Physics and Engineering ‘Medical Physics 2010’. Moscow, Russia. 2010. Abstracts, v.2, pp. 68-7-1. (in Russian).
  31. Kurachenko Yu. A., Matusevich Eu.S. Medical-therapy Reactors: Midget MARS & Fast-Neutron TAPIRO // VIII International Conference NUCLEAR AND RADIATION PHYSICS ICNRP’11. Almaty, Kazakhstan. 2011. Abstracts, pp. 273-274.
  32. Shintaro Ishiyama, Yoshio Imahori, Jun Itami, Hanna Koivunoro. Determination of the Compound Biological Effectiveness (CBE) Factors Based on the ISHIYAMA-IMAHORI Deterministic Parsing Model with the Dynamic PET Technique. Journal of Cancer Therapy, 2015, no. 6, pp. 759-766. Published Online August 2015 in SciRes. Available at: http://www.scirp.org/journal/jct http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/jct.2015.68083.

electron accelerator photoneutrons combined target protection of the patient heat removal beam’s super characteristics up-to-date medical technologies