Officially launched on 19 December 2019 at LPC Caen, the REPARE project supported by the French National Research Agency to the tune of €550,000 and coordinated by GANIL aims to develop R&D for the production of astatine-211. Arronax and Subatech are taking part in it.

REPARE project (Research and developments for the Production of innovative RadioElements) coordinated by GANIL associates Arronax and Subatech laboratory, members of Arronax Nantes, LDM-TEP and CERN. It plans to deploy high-power targets capable of withstanding the beam powers that will be available on SPIRAL2 with the aim of developing the production of astatine-211 (At 211), a radioisotope of interest for the treatment of certain cancers.

Two production methods will be studied.

The first, already deployed by ARRONAX since 2011, consists of sending a helium-4 beam to a bismuth-209 target. The project plans to explore both solid and liquid targets, the latter potentially allowing the optimization of cooling and current-on-target and the design of a continuous on-line extraction of the astatine produced.

The second is based on the design of an At211 generator whereby the radioisotope would be produced directly from radon-211, which decays by beta emission to At211. Since the half-life of radon is twice as long as that of astatine, this would allow the radioisotope to be transported further and used as it is produced in the generator. REPARE project aims to validate the feasibility of such a production method.

ARRONAX will bring to the project its expertise in the production of At211 (targeting, irradiation, chemical extraction, quality control, quality assurance). Its beam will be used to make measurements of effective cross-sections, necessary to optimize irradiation parameters and limit the production of contaminants and waste, as well as tests to validate the technical solutions developed as part of the project.

GANIL will deliver very intense beams thanks to its new accelerator. It has expertise in high-power targets thanks to the scientific programs conducted there. GANIL will be in charge of developing a solid target capable of dissipating ten times more power than is possible today. It will also be in charge of developing the lithium beam required for the generator solution (measurement of effective cross-sections).

Subatech, who has participated in the design of several solid and liquid power targets (Megapie project, targets used for the production of strontium-82), will work on the design and realization of the targets with the support of CERN for the liquid target. Subatech’s radiochemistry group will work on the realization of an Rn211/At211 generator which will be validated and then operated in Caen by LDM-TEP and GANIL jointly, while the PRISMA group will be involved in the measurement of efficient production sections, in collaboration with ARRONAX and GANIL.

This project has received a grant of 548,000 euros from the ANR, for a period of four years. It started in September 2019.

More information about REPARE project
More information about ANR’s Generic Calls for Proposals

Contact : Gilles de France (GANIL), project leader