Radiation levels in cyclotron-radiochemistry facility measured by a novel comprehensive computerized monitoring system
Radiation levels in a cyclotron-radiochemistry facility were measured during the production of commonly used PET radiopharmaceuticals by a comprehensive computerized monitoring system. The system consists of three major components: on-line radiation monitoring channels, an area control unit, and a gas waste management unit. During production the radiation levels were measured in the cyclotron vault, inside automatic chemistry production and research shielded cells, in the radiochemistry room, in the gas waste decay tank, in the chimney filters, and at the top of the cells chimney. Each detector was calibrated in a known radiation field, and a special detector dead time correction was performed in order to achieve detected signal-to-radiation linearity for the Geiger tubes located in the radiochemistry production and research cells. During production of C-11 and O-15 PET radiopharmaceuticals, high radiation levels were measured in the gas waste decay tank (240 and 80 mR/h, respectively). In contrast, the radiation levels at the chimney filters and at the top of the cells chimney did not exceed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Drive Air Concentration (DAC) recommended for C-11 or O-15. During production of FDG, high radiation levels were measured at the chimney filters, however the radiation level at the top of the chimney (3.7 μCi/m 3) did not exceed the F-18 DAC recommendation (27 μCi/m 3). Low radiation levels of approximately 0.5-1 mR/h were measured in the radiochemistry room during production of PET radiopharmaceuticals. In the cyclotron vault, 2 min after bombardment the radiation levels at 2 m from the cyclotron decreased to 1-2 mR/h. The addition of a gas waste decay system to computerized monitoring channels located near each strategic point of the site allows for a comprehensive survey of the radiochemical processes.