Cesium Irradiator Replacement Project

Replacing your cesium irradiator with a non-radioisotopic alternative offers your facility an opportunity to decrease costs while permanently reducing security risks.

Launched in 2014, the Cesium Irradiator Replacement Project (CIRP) is a program offered through the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Office of Radiological Security (ORS) to convert domestic users of radioisotopic (cesium-137 or cobalt-60) based irradiators to viable, non-radioisotopic alternatives.

Radioisotopes, like Cesium-137 or Cobalt-60, are common radionuclides with a relatively long half-life that emit gamma radiation during decay. The potential effects on human health can include:

  • Skin burns from exposure
  • Ionizing radiation exposure to internal tissue and organs, through exposure, ingestion, or inhalation
  • Malignant tumors
  • Shortened life span

In addition, the use of radioisotopic irradiators require strict security, licensing, and regulatory compliance. Switching to a non-cesium 137 or cobalt-60 irradiator can save your facility large costs associated with:

  • High Insurance premiums
  • Site preparation
  • Staff background checks
  • High service costs
  • Annual Inspections
  • Annual recalibrations
  • Transportation costs

CIRP provides qualified sites, who are interested in making the switch, with a financial incentive towards the purchase price of a new non-radioisotopic device. In addition, they will also remove and dispose the irradiator.

Qualified participants can receive:

  • Removal and disposal of the radioisotopic irradiator, saving the facility approximately $100-200k per irradiator.
  • Financial payment, up to 50% or $135k, of the purchase price towards the purchase of a new non-radioisotopic system.

The site is responsible for:

  • Evaluating and selecting a replacement irradiator.
  • The remaining costs associated with the purchase of a new irradiator
  • Shipping, rigging, and installation
  • Associated warranty/maintenance costs
  • Training

The whole process can take approximately 10-12 months

  • Fill out the application, which includes getting a quote for an x-ray irradiator
  • CIRP reaches out regarding funding approval
  • Place your order with the selected company
  • X-ray irradiator is delivered and installed
  • CIRP releases 50% funds
  • Coordinate removal of radioisotopic irradiator with CIRP
  • CIRP releases remaining funds

For further information on the Cesium Irradiator Replacement Project and to discuss whether and how the Project could work for your site, please contact ORS at ORSInfo@nnsa.doe.gov.


Comparison and calibration of dose delivered by 137Cs and X-ray irradiators in mice

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Replacement of Cesium Irradiators with Alternative Technologies.

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Comparable human reconstitution following Cesium-137 versus X-ray irradiation preconditioning in immunodeficient NOG mice

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Comparison of gamma and x-ray irradiation for myeloablation and establishment of normal and autoimmune syngeneic bone marrow chimeras

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View Publications

We performed an analysis of the current line of x-ray research irradiators compared to the CsCl research irradiators against four performance parameters (dose rate, field size, depth-dose, and RBE) and found that the x-ray irradiators provided equivalent performance in terms of dose rate, irradiation field size, and uniformity over the field.

Expert form sandia national laboratories draft report:

Cesium Chloride Irradiator Replacement Study:
Replacement Costs and Alternative Technologies

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