Radiation Effects

Alternatives To Caesium Irradiators for Biological Sciences and Blood Transfusion Services


Global concerns on the potential for malevolent use of high activity sealed sources of ionising radiation have prompted moves to identify options for their replacement with alternative technologies. Sealed sources of caesium-137 are in common use in biological sciences research and in the production of blood products in blood transfusion services. This report considers the current uses of caesium-137 sources in biological sciences and blood transfusion services in the United Kingdom and potential alternatives. The characteristics of caesium-137 radiation fields are considered as well as those of X-ray alternatives. It is identified that suitable alternatives, including X-irradiators and non-radioactive methods, are available for all current applications but in some cases individual users and researchers may be required to test and develop the alternatives before they can be routinely adopted. A decision tree is provided to aid current users of caesium-137 sources to identify suitable alternative technologies