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December 6, 1985

Neutron Contamination From Medical Electron Accelerators

Author Affiliations

University of Chicago


recommendations of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP Report 79), 128 pp, 40 illus, paper, $14, Bethesda, Md, National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement, 1984.

JAMA. 1985;254(21):3108-3109. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360210124046

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This report was produced by a scientific committee of eight members, chaired by Richard C. McCall. It is a reference manual dealing with the problem of neutron production that results from the operation of high-energy electron linear accelerators used in radiation therapy. As radiation therapy becomes more sophisticated, in many hospitals in the United States and abroad the trend is to higher energy machines. Accelerators operated below 10 meV do not represent a major hazard; however, as accelerators operate in the 10 to 50 meV range, neutron production may be seen.

The source of neutron production in the treatment machine and the methods of protection and measurement are exquisitely detailed in this book. There is an extensive reference list to the source information. This pamphlet goes into details concerning facilities design, including wall thickness, shielding requirements, machine placement, and maze design.

Information on hazards, patient risks, and operating personnel risks