Welcome to the Accelerator R&D Task Force Blog
An Industry Perspective
Terry Grimm and Jerry Hollister
The DOE’s Office of Science has led the development of particle accelerators for basic research in
the physical sciences. The advances made on accelerators at the DOE have opened a large array of
high tech applications in defense, biomedical and industrial applications. Efficient transfer of this
know-how to US industry has the potential to foster a robust high tech industry that dominates its
international competitors .
The DOE laboratories’ core mission is basic research, and from their founding days in the Manhattan
Project have had a self-reliant culture that has tended to exclude industry involvement in research and
development. Industry has been dealt with as a vendor and kept at “arm’s length” to avoid the
perception of a conflict of interest. In addition, the DOE labs have been operated as limited liability
corporations that protect their intellectual property from industry and each other. Both of these
policies limit tech transfer.
Because of the increasingly competitive international economy, we believe part of DOE’s core
mission should be the commercialization of their breakthroughs and know-how so that the US
continues to prosper and lead the world. Therefore, we recommend that DOE pursue the following:
Private industry participate in DOE basic research and take a lead role when capable.
This would likely increase DOE’s budget to carry out the basic research, but lead to overall
savings for the US government due to the value added to the US economy. Defense
contractors are an example of partnerships between the government and industry where
industry leads the R&D.
DOE participate in industrial research.
DOE’s contribution will add value to the US economy, and would compel industrial investment
and effectively leverage the government’s investment in basic research.
Intellectual property at the DOE laboratories should be freely distributed amongst other
DOE laboratories and to US industry.
This would reduce costs in the IP department of each DOE lab, and greatly enhance tech
transfer and commercialization.
Finally, we believe the formation of DOE funded commercialization facilities at the DOE
laboratories is unnecessary. Such commercialization facilities would be expensive to set up and
operate, exacerbate the current “arm’s length” culture, and add a layer of bureaucracy. Rather, we
believe implementing our recommendations above will more efficiently develop strong publicprivate
ventures that will lead the world in this important industry.
 Accelerators for America’s Future, US DOE, June 2010, http://www.acceleratorsamerica.org/
At the DOE symposium and workshop on Accelerators for America’s Future, which was held in Washington, DC during October 2009, I was a co-chair of the working group on industrial accelerators and their applications. Kathleen Amm from the General Electric Company was the other co-chair of this group. We assembled representatives from most of the US manufacturers of industrial electron and ion accelerators. This well-informed group provided information about the present capabilities and applications of these diverse accelerator technologies. Our comments have been presented in the section entitled Accelerators for Industry on pages 40 through 53 in the DOE’s report, which was published in June 2010. An expanded version of the report that was submitted by our working group is given in the attached file.
The main ideas that we wanted to convey, and which were addressed more succinctly in the DOE report, can be summarized as follows:
There are a variety of industrial accelerators that are now being used for many practical applications. They provide ions, electrons and X-rays with minimum energies from 75 keV to 100 keV at the low end and maximum energies from 10 to 12 MeV at the high end. Particles with lower energies do not have enough penetration for most applications and those with higher energies can induce radioactivity in some materials, especially metallic components.
High-power accelerators in this energy range have been developed by industrial organizations since the end of World War II to meet the needs of their customers. They were not developed in government laboratories, and frankly, there is no need for the DOE to develop or expand this kind of equipment. The accelerator manufacturers are capable of developing any modifications to their equipment that might be required.
The very high energy, superconducting, radio-frequency synchrotrons that have been developed by the DOE laboratories are exceptions to the previous comments. The industrial representatives on our working group felt that these very high-energy accelerators should not have been included in this part of the DOE report. However, there are some applications, such as synchrotron light sources, free-electron lasers, and intense neutron sources for driving sub-critical nuclear reactors, that could have industrial value in the future. On the other hand, basic research in sub-particle physics, such as searching for the Higgs boson, or investigating the properties of intense quark emissions by smashing gold nuclei together, can hardly be classified as industrial applications. These high-energy facilities do provide jobs for several thousand physicists, engineers, computer programmers and technicians, but those people could and should be working on projects with more practical value for our society, especially in view of the economic challenges that our country is now facing.
We did recommend that the DOE could facilitate the use of high-power industrial electron accelerators for several important environmental applications, such as sterilizing drinking water as an alternative to chlorination, disinfecting municipal waste water and sewage sludge, extracting the acid-forming gases, sulfur and nitrogen oxides, which are emitted in the smoke from coal-fired electric power plants, and producing ethanol from cellulosic materials, which is needed for an additive to or even an alternative to gasoline for vehicles. These applications need to be demonstrated in large-scale facilities to show their practicability. Several such facilities have already been built and are operating in other countries, and they should also be done here in the USA. The DOE could make a more important contribution by promoting and demonstrating such applications, rather than trying to compete with the existing suppliers of industrial accelerators.
151 Heartland Blvd
Edgewood, NY 11717-8374
It occurs to me that we should call out that for accelerator driven isotope production especially with new methods d, 3He will require studies in targets and the radiochemistry to make the precursors and cows that could be milked. This needs to be done by the labs.
This was done for the 99Mo generated from the 100Mo(gamma,n)99Mo production. A group at ANL figured out a way to deal with the lower specific activity and the potential Mo breakthrough when the Tc is milked out. This is just one example. I remember seeing a paper on this.
James E. Clayton PhD
Varian Medical Systems
Ginzton Technology Center
3120 Hansen Way
Palo Alto, CA 94304
Dear Dr. Holtkamp,
I read your request for thoughts re the goals of your task force. I have a few suggestions based upon my leadership of the LLNL LDRD program from 1985 through 2000, and my recent review of this program covering the period 1985 thru 2010. Before that I directed big-science projects by leading the LLNL ICF Laser and Target programs for many years. I do understand their complexity and time constraints.
LLNL is not an accelerator lab, nor an accelerator physics location. Nevertheless, ideas come about that have proven to be very useful to your community. Some that I recall funding have been been the early work by Trebes and leading to the new light source at SLAC, George Caparoso's work on high field-gradient accelerator science and engineering which is about to enable small proton accelerators for cancer therapy, and very importantly, it supported some very talented people such as Karl VanBibber on unusual projects. LLNL in turn benefitted greatly from its work with SLAC, LBNL, and other organizations such as the B-factory and other systems.
My LDRD study indicated that typical time periods for new ideas, such as x-ray bio-crystal imaging and high gradient insulation, took about 15 years from initial idea to workable product. While SLAC had the foresight to carry the x-ray imaging concepts forward, Caparoso's work has been continuously underfunded, and confused by tech-transfer issues, their failures, etc. LLNL's LDRD program has barely kept it alive, yet if his ideas work out the payoff will be enormous.
In summary, I would like to offer a couple of suggestions.
1) Plan for 10-20 year efforts to develop needed elements for a new accelerator technology, with some degree of assured funding.
2) Search for ideas outside the established community and do "deals" with them and their institution that encourage them (e.g., LLNL) to desire successful outcomes for the accelerator R&D center(s). This arrangement has worked well between SLAC and LLNL.
With best regards,
John Holzrichter, PhD
Thank you very much for copying me on this. This topic is very timely for the industry I work in. We currently use chemical sources to locate oil and gas. These sources have security and safety issues. Consequently, I have been pushing for alternative nuclear source (and associated detector) technologies on behalf of the industry. I myself have developed accelerator-based subsurface device concepts. I was an official reviewer of the 2008 National Academy of Sciences Report to Congress. In 2011, I was a reviewer of the on-going Sandia project on photon generators.
Attached is a link to a paper I published on this last year that would help explain my perspectives. You will find references to work of others and myself on generator-based devices.
I would be glad to give further input.
BTW, has DOE finalized the Task Force? Perhaps, it would be beneficial to include someone like me on it to get a user-physicist perspective.
Ahmed Badruzzaman, Ph. D, Fellow of Am. Nucl. Soc.
Consulting Research Scientist
Chevron Energy Technology Co., Sana Ramon, CA
(Part-time) Lecturer, Department of Nuclear Engineering, U C Berkeley.
Coordinator, Oil Industry Nuclear R&D SIG.
To whom it may concern,
I am responding to the request for comments on this enquiry from Congress:
"The Committee understands that powerful new accelerator technologies created for basic science and developed by industry will produce particle accelerators with the potential to address key economic and societal issues confronting our Nation. However, the Committee is concerned with the divide that exists in translating breakthroughs in accelerator science and technology into applications that benefit the marketplace and American competitiveness.
The Committee directs the Department to submit a 10-year strategic plan by June 1, 2012 for accelerator technology research and development to advance accelerator applications in energy and the environment, medicine, industry, national security, and discovery science. The strategic plan should be based on the results of the Department's 2010 workshop study, Accelerators for America's Future,that identified the opportunities and research challenges for next-generation accelerators and how to improve coordination between basic and applied accelerator research. The strategic plan should also identify the potential need for demonstration and development facilities to help bridge the gap between development and deployment."
In responding to this, I am responding to a loaded question posed by Congress. There is a presupposition on the part of Congress that meaningful and commercially viable accelerator technologies have been developed, presumably within the Department of Energy or through the use of DOE funds. To the best of my knowledge this is not the case.
In recent years, I have served as a Consultant to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the industrial uses of accelerators, co-edited a document now in press which covers the history and uses of industrial accelerators, accelerators which over the decades have proven to provide a great many societal benefits. I have also served on the organizing committees for the 8th and 9th International Topical Meetings on Nuclear Applications of Accelerators (Acc/App '07 and ‘09) sponsored by the American Nuclear Society and the IAEA and in recent years given presentations at the International Conferences on the Application of Accelerators in Research and Industry, the CAARI conferences. I have personal contacts with those involved in accelerator development through-out the world, with the exception of the Chinese. My last direct dialog with the Chinese on their accelerator technology dates back to 1992, when I was one of two US representatives on the organizing committee of the 8th International Meeting on Radiation Processing (IMRP-8) held in Beijing, and the only one to attend.
With the exception of state sponsored programs conducted in the former USSR at the then Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) D. V. Efremov Scientific Research Institute and at the Novosibirsk Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics and probably now in China, all commercially viable accelerator technologies have been developed through private enterprise. Today the commercially viable accelerator technologies available from The Russian Federation are also dealt with through private enterprises. The pioneering work of William Coolidge in the 1920's was conducted at General Electric, where one of the first viable industrial accelerators was then developed, the GE Resonant Transformer. Even pioneers such as Robert Van de Graaff and John Trump formed a publicly traded company, the High Voltage Engineering Company, to commercialize their accelerator developments. Other pioneers in the development of commercial accelerators, like Marshall Cleland (co-founder of Radiation Dynamics, Inc., now IBA Industrial) and Sam Nablo (co-founder of Energy Sciences, Inc.), also sought equity funding.
If indeed there are commercially viable accelerator developments that have emerged through DOE SBIR funding of which I am not aware, it would be more appropriate for such enterprises to seek venture capital or equity funding than to continue to be government dependents. From an industrial perspective, accelerators must have meaningful beam currents, at least one milli-ampere, preferably tens of milli-amps, and be able to operate continuously on a 24/7 basis.
Accelerators used in the medical area, whether for diagnosis (CT scans) or therapy (Xray or proton beams), have also been developed and are manufactured by private companies (e.g. GE, Varian, Siemens and IBA, etc.). More recently, private companies, such as NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, have come to the fore to alleviate the nation's concerns over the supply of a critical isotope used in the medical area, molybdenum-99, using apropos accelerator (not reactor) technology.
An extension of this approach would be to have such companies produce isotopes that are supposedly needed for research purposes. At present the DOE force-fits the production of such isotopes through the use of its in-house accelerators, which are designed and should be used for other purposes. At a National Academies Nuclear & Radiation Studies Board (NRSB) meeting within the past couple of years, DOE representatives could not even present an outline of the economics of such "research" isotopes when questioned by Board members. Likewise, the DOE sixty-three page report from the "Workshop on The Nation's Needs for Isotopes: Present and Future" (DOE SC-0107) would have failed any review by anyone competent in business and market analysis. In this document, there is a total lack of volume demand, and, as also noted by the NRSB, no cost analysis.
If DOE is to launch into a ten year strategic plan, as Congress seems to want, it would seem best that DOE take a closer look at its origins and why it was established in the first place. As enabling legislation was passing Congress at the end of Gerald Ford's term (1976), President Ford expressed concern over whether this new agency would lose focus on one of its primary missions: to alleviate the nation's dependence of foreign sources of crude oil. This legislation was the first bill signed into law by Ford's successor, Jimmy Carter. Unfortunately since then, the US has gone from importing but 35% of its oil to now nearly 50%. DOE itself, with varying Congresses and Administrations guidance and funding, has immersed itself in weapons technology, elitist physics research, and various other enterprises. In the current milieu of budget constraints and the need for deficit reduction, it would seem appropriate for DOE to reexamine itself and strip away those areas which have little to do with the nation's energy supply, use and distribution. A couple of key suggestions would be:
1 - Turn over all weapons related programs to the Department of Defense, where they appropriately belong. DOE's involvement in this area is a legacy from inheriting some of the tasks of the Atomic Energy Commission. Secretary Panetta, following up on reforms initiated by his predecessor, Robert Gates, is to be commended for the proposed reductions in DOD budgets. Inclusion of weapons development and the use of nuclear materials for weapons, if within DOD, would then be subject to such cost containment.
2 - The DOE is to be commended for its support of a number of very good research programs conducted at various universities. However, one has to question the need to maintain a number of independent facilities to conduct experiments which are of interest only to a small number of physicists and which have little, if any, societal benefit. Do we really need to know the "origins of the universe" at an atomic level; do we need to expand the periodic table to beyond 118 elements, particularly when the more recent ones are totally artificial with very short half-lives?? DOE is to be commended for its closing of the Fermi Lab's Tevatron, but DOE didn't go far enough. The entire facility could have been shut down. I think Enrico Fermi himself, who conducted his breakthrough experiments beneath the grandstand of a football field, would have been appalled by the massive structures physicists now seem to demand. Much as the US has had a military base closure program, the Base Realignment and Closure commissions, so too does the Federal government need to address closure of some of the DOE facilities. Both current fiscal constraints and the fact that these facilities have strayed from one of DOE's primary missions, alleviating US dependence on foreign oil, justifies this. Why should physics be treated with such high cost facilities more than what the nation allocates to other fundamental sciences such as mathematics and chemistry? Why not have all funding for physics research go through the National Science Foundation and be allocated to universities, where outstanding work is being done and where there will be peer review? Leave it to the universities to determine whether maintaining the accelerator facilities at the DOE laboratories can be costjustified. Note: in a plenary session at the DOE 2009 conference on "Accelerators for America's Future," I suggested that such facility closings were a way to fund the academic training for a then estimated 1600 or so nuclear engineers who will be needed as the US transitions to the greater use of nuclear power.
3 - If there is one mission related to energy sources that DOE should concentrate on, it is the development of a breeder reactor. Decades ago, those in the energy field thought that this was the most significant development needed to provide a bountiful national energy source. Breeder reactors could use the plentiful naturally occurring isotopes of uranium-238 and thorium-232 as well as uranium-238 from spent nuclear fuel, thus answering the question as to what to do with nuclear waste from power plants.
4 – Indeed there is a need in the US for a development facility employing the use of state-of-the-art industrial accelerators. Such facilities exist in other countries at their national laboratories institutions. For example, such facilities are available in Japan at JAERI Takasaki, in The Russian Federation at the Budker Institute in Novosibirsk, in Poland at the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology, in Brazil at the Instituto de Pesquisas Energéticas e Nucleares (IPEN), in Maylasia at Nuclear Maylasia and even in some developing countries. However, such a facility in the US would be better placed under the auspices of the Department of Commerce and its National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST routinely interacts with the industrial radiaiton processing community and also the medical community on calibrations and dosimetry. However, for such state-of-the-art facility, NIST needs an entirely new building.
My experience at that 2009 DOE conference in Washington, DC (Accelerators for America's Future) makes me skeptical of disseminating these comments through the DOE bureaucracy. Congress itself needs more candor and informed opinion. In our industrial working group at that 2009 conference, a DOE consultant force-fitted DOE's interest in accelerator technology suited for weapons use (the superconducting radiofrequency accelerators) into our industrial area. These have nothing to do with the over 1700 high current electron accelerators now in manufacturing operations around the world, used in the production of high value-added products. If there is a disparity between my observations and comments and some of yours pertaining to accelerators, this is minor if one were to compare that between energy source companies and the DOE. Companies that take energy demand seriously, such as major oil and gas companies, know how little power can be generated from wind and solar systems. One keynote speaker I heard from a major oil company had to expand his slide in the area of wind and solar to even make visible the fraction of energy such systems can yield over a several decade global projection. Fossil fuels are here for the foreseeable future and hopefully there will be some greater transition to nuclear power.
Before DOE was formed, back in 1975, I personally did my bit to help alleviate our then dependence on foreign crude. I developed the electron beam crosslinked heat recoverable polyethylene tape that has served as the corrosion protection for the below grade sections of the Alyeska pipeline. Those who worked for me and with me spent their summer that year in Alaska installing this system. Per a Wall Street Journal article of last May, the Alyeska pipeline has brought 16.2 billion barrels of US sourced crude down for use in the lower 48 states. In today's ~$100/barrel for crude, that translates into the $1.6 trillion amount equal to what Congress and the Administration had failed to agree upon for reducing the Federal deficit. I've done my bit; what, in terms of barrel of crude equivalents, has DOE ever done over approximately the same time frame to reduce the US dependence on foreign crude (one of its major initial missions)
It is interesting how the appreciation of the potential for applications of accelerators is bubbling up worldwide. Here in the UK, a new initiative at the University of Huddersfield was started less than a year ago, and already a wide range of activities is getting going. The International Institute for Accelerator Applications (IIAA, see http://www.hud.ac.uk/iiaa for details) has a rapidly growing staff and student body, who are involved with local Ion Sources - the Daresbury MEIS facility is moving to Huddersfield - and with the UK national labs (including the newly operational nsFFAG EMMA, at Daresbury, and FETS at Rutherford), and with studies and designs for planned neutrino facilities. We are also active in studies and lobbying activity for Thorium based ADSR systems, and in the proton/light ion therapy area. We are already talking to, and working with, colleagues in many other countries, but there is great scope for more, and it would be good to strengthen and extend these formal and informal networks. One activity which may be of general interest is our new MSc course, in which we plan to take a cohort of 12 students a year and work them very hard for 12 months, to turn them into accelerator scientists with relevant expertise to make themselves immediately useful as PhD students in universities, or employed in institutes or in industry. Keep an eye out for these guys, as they should be a big contribution to the global shortage of staff able to build and run the accelerators we're going to need.
Dear Dr. Norbert, The US accelerator programs provide not just the many primary benefits for which they are designed, but an innumerable set of additional benefits in the form of technology innovation and training. In particular, let me speak briefly of my experience as a doctoral researcher in high energy physics. Entering the world of HEP as an electrical engineer and computer scientist I was amazed to discover the level of expertise held by all members of the HEP community. This expertise is required when conducting science which goes beyond the limits of our present knowledge. I have had the pleasure to work with scientists, engineers, technicians, and computing experts all of whom were addressing a decade ago the issues which only today are becoming topical in other realms of science, engineering, and industry. It is no surprise to me that the Web was established by the HEP community, nor that the industrialized world's present technology fascination with "cloud computing" and "big data" was presaged (and, I would argue, enabled) by the work of the HEP community in considering federated grid computing infrastructure and models for managing and analyzing vast quantities of data. Accelerator science drives a level of technology innovation that necessarily requires large, long lived collaborations with a strong open and collaborative attitude. This produces trained experts and advanced technology that benefit US competitiveness. I have had the opportunity myself to be part of disseminating that experience from HEP to telecommunications, financial services, and now life sciences. I believe thousands of others have similarly benefited from the broadly applicable innovation that is produced by accelerator science programs, and it is my great hope that they will continue to be well funded and supported into the future.
Kindest regards, Ian Stokes-Rees Harvard Medical School
Dear All, Our Institute has been implementing the electron beam based radiation technology for more than 35 years. We have built and we are operating three plants ; sterilization, food irradiation and polymer processing. More than 50 companies are using our services and three other accelerators are used for research; pulse radiolysis, materials research (nanostructures, composites, SiC, graphene etc).In most of the cases we are using liniacs (10MeV,10kW), one van de Graff and one cavity accelerator (2MeV, 20kW), the pulse radiolysis lab is using 10 MeV liniac with nanosecond pulse frequency. Together with industry we have constructed pilot (transformer accelerator 2x50 kW, 700keV) and industrial plant (2x2x260kW,700keV transformer accelerators). Due to these achievements our Institute was nominated IAEA Collaborating Center. From my experience (as CEO of INCT and for three years an officer in IAEA); I may say that there are two main obstacles concerning further development of eb technology and its application in practice; 1) Development of industrial electron accelerators construction, 2)Support (international organizations and governmental) of technology itself - especially food irradiation and environmental applications. Regarding point 1 - the big achievement is construction of IBA's Rodothron and e/X units. However it is not an universal unit and other solutions , new from technological and economical points of view are needed. Some years back, the broad group of accelerator manufacturing institutions existed in Soviet Union, Japan, USA and France. In my opinion the biggest selection of the machines was coming from Russia (except of low voltage units). This seems funny nowadays, but the most intensive work on accelerators was going on in the years of SDI program, when both the US and USSR were provided big funds to support R&D in the field, e.g. we were not able to get an accelerator from a Soviet institute because our colleges were busy with this defense program. The magnetic compression liniac has never came a reality. As I was talking to my American and French friends, no industry will invest in the equipment which (for beginning) you sell 4-5 pieces a year, on the other hand you cannot start with environmental applications if your unit has not guaranteed continuous operation time 8500 hours annually. So no development in the US, neither in Japan, neither in Russia. In Russia the institutes with which we collaborate for years are in a bad shape, part of technology went to ROK where developments are quite good. The development of processing technology, new standards requirements this is a new era. Unfortunately the development of accelerator technology stopped twenty or more years ago (see electronics - TV and other appliances - 1990 and 2010 different eras). In accelerators; life time of magnetrons, klystrons, transformers failure and connected problems, make a life difficult. Regarding point 2) the support of international organizations like IAEA, EU FP and governments is essential as well. Some years back, WHO-FAO-IAEA run a program on food irradiation and we saw real development. This program stopped and in EU nothing new since 2003, labeling is killing this technology in my country, even all agree that is much better than fumigation etc. The environmental technologies are not bringing a profit, therefore the first investment in the technology development should be supported by government as well. I have a meeting in IAEA next week, Europe Division, where we will be discussed the question - accelerator processing technology for Europe. So would be good to join the task forces. Please visit RAST where recently some papers on accelerator applications have been published (including Dr. S. Machi - Japanese pioneer in the field and mine on environmental applications). My best wishes of a Prosperous Year to all.
Andrzej G. Chmielewski
Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology, Warsaw, Poland
The DOE symposium on "Accelerators for America's Future", stressed the need for development of high efficiency, high performance, compact, low cost, normal conducting linac structures, over and over again. I firmly believe that America must retain its dominance in Particle Accelerators, with their many scientific, medical, industrial, and defense applications. I have been in the linac development business all of my professional life. My company, Linac Systems, LLC, has been in business for about 20 years, supported initially by a dozen SBIR grants, and more recently, by four customers for proton and deuteron linac systems. We have developed a compact and very efficient, normal conducting, ion linac structure, which we believe to be consistent with the goals of this initiative. This new structure, called the Rf Focused Interdigital (RFI) linac structure, is an interdigital linac structure, known for its compactness and efficiency, with rf quadrupole focusing incorporated into each drift tube. Because of its very high rf efficiency, it is practical to operate this RFI structure in the cw (continuous) mode, thereby offering very high average beam powers. We feel that this is the best way to produce intense low energy ion beams and low energy neutron beams for many demanding applications. Amongst these applications are what I call “beam hungry applications” – applications where the throughput of the processes are totally dependent on the average intensity of the beam. These applications, be they medical, industrial, or homeland security, benefit from high average beam intensities. The RFI linac structure has very high rf efficiency, it offers very high average beam intensities, and it is low cost, compact and rugged. We have a prototype of this structure in our laboratory. It is near completion, but not yet demonstratible. Without a valid demonstration, we fear that this development may be lost. We have run out of company funds and have exhausted our personal resources. If we have to sell our company, it may well go to a foreign power. There should be some safety net for significant innovations, on the verge of demise, that would help our country meet its 21st-century challenges of prosperity, security, health, energy, and environment.
Linac Systems, LLC