Radioisotope Production and Radiation Technology

Radioisotopes and radiation technologies underpin most nuclear applications and contribute in many ways to the health care, food safety and development in countries worldwide. Through its Radioisotope Production and Radiation Technology Programme the IAEA carries out activities to assist and advise Member States in assessing their needs for capacity building, research and development in the area of radioisotopes and radiation technologies, as well as in supporting the Member States’ activities for deriving benefits in specific fields, such as:

- Radioisotope production in research reactors, accelerators and medical cyclotrons;
- Radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic imaging;
- Products for radionuclide therapy;
- Radiation processing technology and applications ;
- Nuclear/radiation techniques and radioisotopic tracers for industrial process management.

The effective development of new radiation-based technologies and their applications, as well as the safe and economical maintenance of existing technologies, rely on a thorough understanding of the underlying physico-chemical principles and processes.

The Division of Physical and Chemical Sciences, located within the IAEA Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications is responsible for the implementation of the IAEA Programme on Radioisotope Production and Radiation Technology.

There are two sub-programmes, namely, Support to Radioisotope Products for Medical and Industrial Applications and Radiation Technology Support for Material Development and Analysis and Pollutant Treatment. The activities are implemented by the Radioisotope Products and Radiation Technology Section in the Division, and in close coordination with the Nuclear Medicine Section of the Human Health Division in the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications and the Research Reactor Section in the Department of Nuclear Energy.

The use of radioisotopes and radiation technology remains among the most economically viable strategies available in many applications for health care management, food safety and trade, and sustainable industrial development.

The activities of the Programme include supporting Member States’ needs-based development efforts through Coordinated Research Projects, networking of national centres for sharing best practices and strengthening quality assurance systems, publication of the state-of-the-art reports on specific topics and issues, preparation and provision of materials for human resources development, and providing assistance to the Department of Technical Cooperation on scientific and technical aspects of a very large number of technical cooperation projects.