Measurement and control of the air contamination generated in a medical cyclotron facility for PET radiopharmaceuticals

R. Calandrino, A. Del Vecchio, S. Todde, F. Fazio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this paper is to report the data concerning the contamination of the exhausted air from the hot cells dedicated to the large-scale synthesis of positron emission tomography (PET) radiopharmaceuticals. Two cyclotrons are currently operating in Ospedale San Raffaele for the routine production of C and F. They are linked with four radiochemistry laboratories by means of shielded radioisotope delivery lines. The above labs are dedicated both to the large scale preparation and to the research and development of PET radiopharmaceuticals. The department hosts four CT-PET scanners, which operate with a mean patient workload of 40 per day. Radiosyntheses are performed using automated modules located in 10 hot cells. The air outlets are monitored online by a 2-inch NaI(Tl) counter in a Marinelli geometry counting volume. Contamination values up to 10 Bq L have been measured at the hot cell exit point during the synthesis. The corresponding concentrations at the point of release in atmosphere are largely above the threshold of 1.29 Bq L, defined by national regulations as the limit for free environmental release. A shielded gas storage system controlled by a dedicated, customized software program has thus been installed to prevent the potentially hazardous release of gaseous radioactive contaminants. The system has allowed us to maintain the effective dose to neighboring population groups below the limit of 10 μSv y.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Physics
Issue number5 SUPPL. 2
Publication statusPublished - May 2007


  • Air sampling
  • Contamination, environmental
  • Cyclotron
  • Operational topics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Toxicology
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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