IAEA Opens New Linear Accelerator Facility

The new facility at IAEA laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria, will significantly increase the agency's capacity to provide dosimetry services and support cancer control worldwide.

The International Atomic Energy Agency marked the opening of a new linear accelerator (a/k/a linac) facility at its laboratories in Seibersdorf, Austria, on June 6. The facility will significantly increase the agency's capacity to provide dosimetry services and support cancer control worldwide and also will contribute to stronger procedures in radiation safety and support research in new codes of practice in radiotherapy.

"The new linear accelerator facility will provide the Dosimetry Laboratory with significant new dosimetry calibration, dose audit, research, and training capabilities, representing a major enhancement to the laboratory's ability to provide services to Member States," said Najat Mokhtar, IAEA deputy director general and head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications.

About half of cancer patients require radiation treatment. "Quality assurance in dosimetry is essential and helps ensure accurate radiation doses," explained May Abdel-Wahab, director of Human Health at IAEA, which serves as a hub for the harmonization and consistency of radiation therapy dosimetry worldwide. "We have supported 2,300 radiotherapy centers in 135 countries," Abdel-Wahab said. Linacs accounted for more than 80 percent of the 653 dosimetry audits provided by IAEA last year.

IAEA reported that the fully functional linac was received under a partnership agreement with Varian Medical Systems Inc. in 2017. The governments of Germany, Switzerland, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Polish Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology provided a safe bunker to house the facility and necessary equipment for the linac.

The laboratory offers dose audits to ensure that radiotherapy equipment is properly calibrated for accurate, reliable, and effective cancer treatment.

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