Gamma residual radioactivity measurements on rats and mice irradiated in the thermal column of a triga mark II reactor for BNCT

Nicoletta Protti, Sergio Manera, Michele Prata, Daniele Alloni, Francesca Ballarini, Andrea Borio Di Tigliole, Silva Bortolussi, Piero Bruschi, Marcella Cagnazzo, Maria Garioni, Ian Postuma, Luca Reversi, Andrea Salvini, Saverio Altieri

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9 Citations (Scopus)


The current Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) experiments performed at the University of Pavia, Italy, are focusing on the in vivo irradiations of small animals (rats and mice) in order to evaluate the effectiveness of BNCT in the treatment of diffused lung tumors. After the irradiation, the animals are manipulated, which requires an evaluation of the residual radioactivity induced by neutron activation and the relative radiological risk assessment to guarantee the radiation protection of the workers. The induced activity in the irradiated animals was measured by high-resolution open geometry gamma spectroscopy and compared with values obtained by Monte Carlo simulation. After an irradiation time of 15 min in a position where the in-air thermal flux is about 1.2 1010 cm-2 s -1, the specific activity induced in the body of the animal is mainly due to 24Na, 38Cl, 42K, 56Mn, 27Mg and 49Ca; it is approximately 540 Bq g-1 in the rat and around 2,050 Bq g-1 in the mouse. During the irradiation, the animal body (except the lung region) is housed in a 95% enriched 6Li shield; the primary radioisotopes produced inside the shield by the neutron irradiation are 3H by the 6Li capture reaction and 18F by the reaction sequence 6Li(n,α)3H → 16O(t,n)18F. The specific activities of these products are 3.3 kBq g-1 and 880 Bq g-1, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)534-541
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Physics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Gamma
  • Neutron activation
  • Occupational safety
  • Spectroscopy
  • laboratory animals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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