08 Sep New SIT Radiation Sources ready to go
NOTE FROM THE MD
Replacing the Cobalt sources was a project for X-SIT that could not fail and could only be done in July and August this year.
The number of obstacles in this unique process, under normal circumstances, is huge but throwing COVID-19 restrictions on top of this international project was a real threat.
Well done to all involved in getting this done on time to start the new irradiation season.
This confirms what can be done through team work, attention to detail and dedication.
The SIT moths are sterilised by exposing them to the high-energy gamma rays of two sealed radioactive Cobalt-60 (Co-60) sources.
The existing Co-60 sources, purchased in 2007, were nearing the end of their economically-viable life due to the normal reduction in strength over time and thus the replacement project was initiated.
Due to the nature of these Sources, a major hurdle was to obtain the correct approvals from various regulatory bodies, both nationally and internationally. A total of 11 approvals from 6 different regulatory bodies were obtained to get the new Sources from Canada.
What followed was a scene straight out of a sci-fi movie where the new and old sources were exchanged inside a biologically shielded ‘hot cell’, using robotic manipulators whilst operators viewed their handywork via a live video feed. Because of the sources’ integral need to the SIT programme, the only time this exchange could take place was during the off season in July and August so timing was critical.
We are happy to report that the new Sources have been installed, fully commissioned and ready to irradiate for many years to come. The new Sources emit more than 5 times more energy, which drastically reduces the moth irradiation time. This reduced time is sure to have a positive effect on the whole SIT programme.
This brings to an end a two-year journey and special thanks goes to Emanuel Potgieter, Erenst Hugo, Chesne Geldenhuys, Theunis Lombard and Dr Dawid de Villiers (External consultant) whom have been involved in this project since the onset.
Birthdays In September : Jovin Boois, Elizabeth Booise, Marlin Brink, Leander Britz, Christo Douries, Zonia Fortuin, Lionel Fransman, Elrico Jafta, Alton Jansen, Rustum Jansen, Garreth Kamfer, Wilhelm Koekemoer, Marshall Mentoor, Herschelle Mollies, Cuman Oostendorff, John Opoku-Debrah, Celia Polisa, Saul Titus, Olwethu Tsewu, Branwon Vallentyn, Madre Van Wyk