Brazil Irradiation Center

Brazil Irradiation Center

Rosatom Healthcare (RHC) and the Brazilian company CK3 signed a Project Development Agreement last May on the occasion of the tenth edition of the Atomexpo Nuclear Industrial Forum, held in the Russian city of Sochi. The document proposes the objective of “jointly implementing and operating an Irradiation Center in Brazil”.

The project guidelines are the result of an exhaustive analysis in which both parties – once expressed their mutual interest – evaluated which would be the best alternatives for the local market according to the needs, current regulations and technological possibilities.

This was how the objective of forming “a company aimed at offering irradiation services to the Brazilian market” was established. It will use Russian technologies “based on electron accelerators and X-rays for the sterilization of pharmaceutical products, cosmetics and healthcare products, among other industrial applications,” the Russian side informed in a timely manner. For its part, CK3 will make available its extensive commercial knowledge of the local market. This combination of capabilities is what marks the particularity of the Russian-Brazilian initiative.

“It will be a very attractive alternative for the Brazilian market,” says the director of CK3, Raphael Guiguer. “Our relationship with the Russian firm dates back to 2008, so we know each other very well, both its members and its technologies and its different subsidiaries. We began to talk in particular with Rosatom Healthcare about the issue of irradiation, which surprised us with its expertise . The contact was made through Rosatom América Latina, whose office is located in Rio de Janeiro.”

“We analysed the market and assessed the different existing technologies, such as those of the United States, Brazil and certain countries in Europe. After this survey, and knowing the enormous trajectory of the Russian conglomerate Rosatom, we opted for its subsidiary Rosatom Healthcare, with whom we formalized the link through a document where the shared interest was manifested. Subsequently, in 2016, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding from which we developed the technical and commercial part of the project, and we are now practically in a position to launch it. We believe that we have found the right partner. Rosatom technologies are the best in the world and have a very strong international presence. We were already aware of their capabilities in the area of ​​fuels, nuclear power production and medicine, and as we got closer to their experience in the field of irradiation, we were very satisfied. We value very positively the trajectory of the company, because this allows to minimize eventual risks.”

“We understood that there was a good business opportunity. The objective is to operate as a Brazilian company to provide irradiation services in the local market using Rosatom technologies and our commercial development to offer such services in Brazil. The axis is initially placed in the sterilization of medical materials, mainly disposable, such as needles, gases, syringes and single-use clothes. Our country has a wide production of this type of products, which must comply with demanding regulatory parameters of safety and quality. Going through these radiation sterilization processes, the materials are validated by those standards, “said Guiguer.

Regarding the types of irradiation technologies available, the expert explained: “There are mainly two irradiation technologies for products: gamma irradiation, which normally works with cobalt-60, and electron beam irradiation, which, unlike the previous one does not use any type of radioactive material but its input is electrical energy through an electron accelerator (e-beam) that emits a directed radiation. The latter, which is what we will use, does not have residual radiation, is environmentally more correct and has been installed as a global trend. This technology is the best because it does not involve waste gases or toxic materials for people. The others do have to deal with these problems, and they are forced to submit the products to a quarantine period. ”

In this line, he also warned that there is a very interesting market because not all the applications of the technology of irradiation by electrons are being exploited: “The Brazilian industry can develop many new products. We have had conversations with the Institute of Energy and Nuclear Research of Brazil (IPEN, for its acronym in English), and there are several studies conducted in this regard, but we want to give companies the opportunity to manufacture new products with this technology. Currently, the country does not have too many radiation sterilization services, so this Center will boost its development and an interesting opening for local manufacturers, which may even increase its export potential “, concluded Raphael Guiguer. He then warned that “this project will have a very important impact in Brazil because it has to do with the field of health”: “The interference in the community is direct because the population will be the one that uses these products. We receive the materials in their final packaging, we pass them through the equipment and apply a controlled dose of irradiation, which in our case is electron beams (electron rain). Dosimetry controls ensure correct use and adequate dosage. Once sterilized, we send the products back to the manufacturers or directly to the distribution circuit depending on the case. “

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Arnaud Lefevre

Arnaud Lefevre is the Chief Executive Officer of Dynatom International. Arnaud is in charge of the international development of the business portfolio.