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Proton Therapy and Decommissioning - Feb, 15th
Last month at the Pint of Science event in downtown Knoxville, we heard an excellent talk about proton therapy from Samantha Hedrick of Provision Center for Proton Therapy. The Center is the first of its kind in Tennessee and only the second in the Southeast. While this technology is new to Knoxville, it has been around for some time in other parts of the U.S. For example, the Indiana University Proton Therapy Center opened in 2004 and treated more than 2,000 patients during its tenure.
Behind the scenes, these facilities require cyclotrons to generate the protons necessary for treatment. The Indiana University Cyclotron Facility operated two cyclotrons, both of older technology that required a much larger amount of electricity to operate. Due to these costs and the costs of maintaining the aging cyclotrons, the decision was made to shut down the facility, which officially closed on December 5, 2014. Ameriphysics has been contracted to dismantle the cyclotrons and associated facility and properly dispose of all solid and radioactive waste generated as result of these activities. This project is still ongoing and we look forward to sharing our progress.