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Neutron flux and gamma dose measurement in the BNCT irradiation facility at the TRIGA reactor of the University of Pavia

  • Authors: Bortolussi, S.; Protti, N.; Ferrari, M.; Postuma, I.; Fatemi, S.; Prata, M.; Ballarini, F.; Carante, M.; Farias, R.; González, S.; Marrale, M.; Gallo, S.; Bartolotta, A.; Iacoviello, G.; Nigg, D.; Altieri, S.
  • Publication year: 2018
  • Type: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


University of Pavia is equipped with a TRIGA Mark II research nuclear reactor, operating at a maximum steady state power of 250 kW. It has been used for many years to support Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) research. An irradiation facility was constructed inside the thermal column of the reactor to produce a sufficient thermal neutron flux with low epithermal and fast neutron components, and low gamma dose. In this irradiation position, the liver of two patients affected by hepatic metastases from colon carcinoma were irradiated after borated drug administration. The facility is currently used for cell cultures and small animal irradiation. Measurements campaigns have been carried out, aimed at characterizing the neutron spectrum and the gamma dose component. The neutron spectrum has been measured by means of multifoil neutron activation spectrometry and a least squares unfolding algorithm; gamma dose was measured using alanine dosimeters. Results show that in a reference position the thermal neutron flux is (1.20 ± 0.03) × 1010 cm−2 s−1 when the reactor is working at the maximum power of 250 kW, with the epithermal and fast components, respectively, 2 and 3 orders of magnitude lower than the thermal component. The ratio of the gamma dose with respect to the thermal neutron fluence is 1.2 × 10−13 Gy/(n/cm2).