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 [email protected]


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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A Comparison of Cs-137 γ Rays and 320-kV X-Rays in a Mouse Bone Marrow Transplantation Model

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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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