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Chapter 8

MEDRADSC 2Z03 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Stainless Steel, Radiation Protection, Lead Shielding

Medical Radiation Sciences
Course Code
Dawn Danko

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Radioisotope processing equipment and automated synthesis modules are usually
installed in shielded workstations or hot-cells to protect personnel from exposure to
radiation. Radiation shielding is made from dense materials such as concrete and heavy
metals such as lead. For PET, hot-cells are usually constructed of lead (around 75 to 100
mm thickness) supported by a steel structure and clad with stainless steel. The stainless
steel provides a smooth and chemically resistant surface that is easily cleaned.
Hot-cells have special ventilation that provides clean air to the work zone within whilst
maintaining a clean environment for radiopharmaceutical synthesis. The ventilation also
keeps the hot-cell at a negative pressure so that any airborne radioactive material cannot
escape outside and into the laboratory environment. Rather, airborne contaminants are
mostly removed by special filters located in the ventilation ducting. Hot-cells are usually
equipped with services such as power, compressed air and inert gases that are used to
support radiopharmaceutical synthesis. To enable operators to see inside the hot-cells,
some have a window installed of thick lead glass that provides equivalent shielding to
that of the surrounding lead walls. When there are no windows installed, video cameras
are often used to view inside the hot-cell. A front or rear door, incorporating lead
shielding, allows access to the internal work zone for synthesis set-up prior to delivery of
the radioisotope. Such a door can weigh up to 800 kg, while the hot-cells weigh up to 20
Figure 12 below is an example of a series of hot cells located inside a clean-room. Notice
the hand grip protruding from the front-most hot-cell. This operates a ‘tele-plier’ that
allows remote manual manipulation of items within the hot-cell.
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