The future of medical radioisotope production in the UK, Nuclear Future article

Lee Evitts, Fiona Pearce, Simon Middleburgh, Michael Rushton and Bill Lee have had their latest article published in the Nuclear Future magazine. The article is called “The future of medical radioisotope production in the UK” and can be found in the July/August 2021 issue (membership required).

Since Henri Becquerel’s discovery in 1896, radioactivity has been used extensively in medicine to help diagnose and treat various diseases. The medical application of radioactivity was appreciated by the early pioneers of nuclear physics with the Curies noting of the potential use of radiation in cancer therapy in 1903. 

The co-authored article explains how medical isotopes are produced artificially generally by means of activation of a target material in a particle accelerator.

Medical isotopes are also extracted from uranium fuel following irradiation within a test reactor. Medical isotopes are not generally well known amongst the public – the article highlights that the beneficial use of radioisotopes in extending life should be communicated more widely within the scientific community.

This first article in a two-part series provides an introduction to nuclear medicine, watch this space for the next article in the Nuclear Futures magazine.

Read more at the Nuclear Institute.