Medical radioisotopes produced with the world’s most power-dense reactor
Demcon successfully conducts record-breaking experiment
The supply of medical radioisotopes, typically produced in old nuclear reactors, has had different issues over the last decade. As a result, cancer patients risk waiting longer for diagnostics or therapy, while their health is deteriorating. The SMART project (Source of MedicAl RadioisoTopes) – under the leadership of the Belgian Institute of Radio Elements (IRE) and technical guidance of ASML develops a sustainable and reliable alternative based on accelerator technology. A crucial contribution comes from technology developer and producer Demcon: the design of a target that can withstand the extreme heat and radiation involved in the production of these radioisotopes. At the beginning of February, a dedicated team, for which Demcon supplied essential knowledge and leadership, successfully demonstrated the feasibility of liquid metal cooling for this target under those extreme conditions. The experiment set a world record for the highest continuous power density ever sustained by any human-made object. With this, the project surpassed a critical milestone on the road to the commissioning of the SMART factory.