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Medical Applications of a Nuclear Reactor
American Journal of Internal Medicine
Volume 7, Issue 1, January 2019, Pages: 1-4
Received: Dec. 12, 2018; Accepted: Jan. 2, 2019; Published: Jan. 31, 2019
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Albert Van de Wiel, Department Radiation Science and Technology, Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands; Department of Internal Medicine, Gastro Enterology and Geriatrics, Meander Medical Center, Amersfoort, Netherlands
Menno Blaauw, Department Radiation Science and Technology, Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands
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Nuclear reactors are usually associated with the production of energy, but some reactors, including the reactor facility of the University of Technology Delft, The Netherlands, are being used for scientific research. This review describes the current possible applications of such a research facility in medicine. This concerns in the first place the production of various nuclides and chemical carriers, which are now widely used in clinical medicine. Both α and β emitters can be effective in the treatment of tumors and metastases, while γ-emission allows imaging of organs and activity of biological processes. A less well-known application of a research reactor is instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA), a technique for qualitative and quantitative multi-element analysis of major, rare and trace elements in all kinds of materials, including those from human origin such as blood, nails, hair and tissue samples. In contrast to mass spectrometry, INAA is not restricted to measurement in small samples, since even large samples up to kilograms can be analyzed. This is especially of importance when an element is not distributed homogeneously in materials. INAA is also used in biomonitoring to measure the burden of toxic chemical compounds and elements in biological substances. A promising development is the use of enriched stable isotopes, an attractive alternative for the application of radioactive tracers in the study of the bioavailability and distribution of essential trace elements and metals in the human body.
Nuclear Research Reactor, Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis, Enriched Stable Isotopes, Radionuclides
To cite this article
Albert Van de Wiel, Menno Blaauw, Medical Applications of a Nuclear Reactor, American Journal of Internal Medicine. Vol. 7, No. 1, 2019, pp. 1-4. doi: 10.11648/j.ajim.20190701.11
Copyright © 2019 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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