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Report No. 079 - Neutron Contamination from Medical Electron Accelerators (1984)

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This report addresses a problem encountered with the use of electron accelerators in radiation therapy. The potential exists for the production of neutrons, in several different ways, when equipment used to generate electrons operates at energies above 10 MeV. The sources of these neutrons and their relative contributions are described. A further section is devoted to the potential hazard from the neutrons which are produced and which represent a contribution to the total radiation dose to the patient. This contribution is not normally included in the calculation of dose delivered to the treatment volume, as performed by the therapist and the medical physicist. The question of whether or not this additional dose constitutes an unacceptable risk to the patient is discussed. The Report addresses the hazard to operating personnel from neutrons produced outside the patient's treatment volume. Neutron measurement methods are also addressed. The Report concludes with a survey of the published literature relevant to the subject.
Scientific Commitee:
Richard C. McCall, Chairman

Peter R. Almond
John A. Devanney
Everett G. Fuller
George R. Holeman
Lawrence H. Lanzl
Harry Ing, Advisor
William P. Swanson, Consultant
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