Pacific Northwest National Labs (PNNL) and Isotron Report on Performance of IsoFIX Radionuclide Lockdown System

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IsoFIX-RC locks down radionuclide simulants in dirty bomb field trial.

In an article published in Health Physics' June 2008 volume, PNNL reported on the performance of Isotron's radionuclide fixative coating for its long-term effectiveness in preventing the dispersal of radionuclide contamination in the event of a dirty bomb event. IsoFIX-RCâ„¢, the radionuclide fixative coating, was monitored over an extended period at the HAMMER facility at Richland, WA.

The coating was shown to effectively hold cesium and cobalt contaminant simulants in place during the trial, while nearly all of the contamination spread via migration and aerosolization in two adjacent control plots. The article concludes that IsoFIX-RC is capable of fixing surface contamination in place for at least several months. The authors of this article also report that "Another potential benefit from the use of a filmforming fixative coating during emergency response to an RDD event could be psychological. The thick, white, highly visible IsoFIX-RC coating might provide reassurance to first responders and members of the public that protective measures are being implemented."

After the events of 11 September 2001, and the 2002 arrest of Jose Padilla, the possibility of a dirty bomb being detonated within the United States seems very realistic. As a result, the development of tools for use in an urban response to a dirty bomb detonation has become a topic of both policy discussion and research.

While it is largely understood that there would be relatively few deaths directly resulting from the detonation of a dirty bomb device, there is reason for concern associated with radioactive dust inhalation and plume spread. IsoFIX is designed for large scale urban application and prevents both smearable and wind-borne spread of contamination in the face of emergency response vehicle and foot traffic. The IsoFIX material is easily broadcast over large areas and is non-toxic. Nanoparticle technology contained in the coating is designed to bond with target radionuclide contaminants to prevent their spread. In the event that the area is determined not to be contaminated, the coating can be left in place to biodegrade. The IsoFIX coating was developed under contract for the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) with funding support from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Defense.

The IsoFIX technology provides emergency responders valuable time to evacuate and characterize the contaminanted area while preventing inhalation hazards and contamination plume migration. For more information on this article, please reference pages 512-518 of the June 2008 issue of the Health Physics journal or contact Isotron Corporation at (877) 632-1110.

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Jayne P. Shelton
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