IBA, Interboring, IRE, SCK CEN and Transrad are joining forces to form CYCLADE, a centre of expertise for the dismantling of accelerators and cyclotrons, they announced on Thursday. According to their estimates, around 200 medical cyclotrons will need to be dismantled by 2040 and with the market still growing, the need will continue.
A cyclotron is a particle accelerator machine that produces radioisotopes using electromagnetic fields for medical drugs of which diagnose and treat cancer. The machines are simply too old to be upgraded, so accelerator operators must decommission the machines. CYCLADE was created to ensure that the operators are not alone.
The 200 cyclotrons to be dismantled worldwide in the next 15 years or so are equivalent to 18,000 tonnes of steel and other materials to be processed in the most sustainable way possible.
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CYCLADE (for CYCLotrons Avanced DEcommissioning) is a gathering of industrial companies, SMEs and research centres that together can offer “a turnkey dismantling solution from the study phases to the final management of the materials”.
The dismantling of cyclotrons, the first of which were installed 30-40 years ago, represents quite a few challenges, since in addition to the radio-active environment to be taken into account, they are also placed in medical environments, close to patients.
The decommissioning/dismantling processes to be implemented will also determine the design of future cyclotrons. “IBA’s participation in the CYCLADE consortium echoes our commitment to systematically take into account the societal consequences of our activities and the interest of all our stakeholders (patients, shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers, community, planet…),” explains Olivier Legrain, CEO of the neo-Levanese company. “Integrating the issue of dismantling and waste management, from the very design of our accelerators, is part of this approach formalised in our B Corp certification.”