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TSU Students Visit the McGovern Medical School

Posted on Monday, January 14, 2019

Students visited to Medical School

Dr. Mark Harvey, center, leads his group of Texas Southern University students on a study of the decommissioned cyclotron facility, with the help of UTHealth.
On January 11, students from TSU’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology visited McGovern Medical School to measure for residual radioactivity in the Cyclotron Facility. Led by Dr. Mark Harvey, associate professor of physics, the students, who are interested in radiation health physics, used a variety of specialized detectors to record the numeric values of the remaining radioactivity as part of an independent research project.
Tropical Storm Allison hit the Houston area in June of 2001 bringing with it a major amount of water that flooded the 6,900 Cyclotron Facility, which was used to produce the short-lived isotopes (or tracers) used in position imaging. Since its flooding, the cyclotron has been removed but there are trace amounts of radioactivity that may be present in the vault.  
“Two of these students participated in the UTHealth Summer Research Program through scholarship support housed at TSU from funding sources such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and National Science Foundation,” Harvey explained. “Our study will be a third independent measurement to add to the cyclotron decommissioning data.”
The Texas Department of State Health Services required the school to remove the defunct cyclotron by Aug. 31, 2021 – at a cost of $1 million. Following the evaluations of radiation levels, the department must verify that the former cyclotron concrete vault site may be reconfigured to usable space.

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Last updated: 03/07/2019