Dr. Birgit Loeper (l.) briefs DG Amano and Prof. Dr. Winfried Petry, FRM II Scientific Director (r.), on treating cancer with fast neutrons using the tumour therapy facility at FRM II. (Photo: Technische Universität München)
6 October 2010 | On 5 October, the first day of his inaugural visit to Germany, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano toured the high intensity neutron source, FRM II. The neutron source is owned and operated by the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM). DG Amano referred to the FRM II as "one of the most modern nuclear facilities in Europe with robust safety and security features".
The Bavarian State Minister for Science, Dr. Wolfgang Heubisch, TUM President, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Herrmann, as well as the directors of the neutron source, accompanied the Director Genera. Minister Heubisch welcomed him to the "neutron source with the broadest spectrum of applications in the world".
During his tour of the neutron source, DG Amano was especially interested in the medical applications of the facility. The FRM II will contribute to the future supply of radioisotopes for Europe. These radioisotopes are essential in nuclear medical applications to diagnose cancer. DG Amano was also impressed by the FRM II's ability to fight certain certain tumours through fast neutron treatment.
In the neutron source's experimental hall, scientific director Prof. Dr. Winfried Petry explained how physicists explore material functions by using neutrons, such as explaining superconduction at high temperatures or improving battery's performance to facilitate for electro-mobility. DG Amano was impressed by the wide range of research undertaken with neutrons at FRM II .
-- By Peter Kaiser, IAEA Division of Public Information