Laka consultancy and services
Henk VanderKeur, researcher at Laka Foundation, offers bespoke engineering consultancy, services and support to NGOs and other commissioning parties on proliferation risks of civilian nuclear programs, uranium enrichment, nuclear waste management, use of depleted uranium, and (production methods of) medical isotopes.
Overview of the nuclear topics
Proliferation risks of civilian nuclear programs includes use, transport and disposal of fissile materials (among which high enriched uranium and plutonium-239) , reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, and uranium enrichment. The apart mentioning of ‘uranium enrichment’ refers to the technical and historical aspects and the current global developments of these specific techniques, especially ultracentrifuge technology. Nuclear waste management includes the management of all types of radioactive waste, varying from short-lived low-level waste to long-lived high-level waste. Use of depleted uranium (DU) means the civil use (counterweights, radiation shielding, etc.), as well as its use in conventional weapons systems and its potential consequences. Production methods of medical isotopes focuses on isotopes production by research reactors and particle accelerators, cyclotrons and linear accelerators, and market perspectives of SPECT- and PET-radioisotopes.
In its 2013 report ‘The Pallas business case – between dream and reality‘ and the 2015 report “The future of the medical isotopes production in the Netherlands: Pallas-reactor or accelerators?” (Reports are only available in Dutch. An English update will appear in the fall of 2015) Laka Foundation showed among others that the growth of medical isotopes from cyclotrons – at the expense of reactor isotopes – will be much faster than current official projections. Laka wishes to highlight three important developments. First, the rapid global modernization of existing medical cyclotrons, which produce both PET and SPECT isotopes, led by Canada. Secondly, a trend in American cardiology: Higher fees for PET at the cost of reduced fees for SPECT for many outpatient treatments common. It turns out that treatment with the more expensive PET scan is more cost-effective than treatment with SPECT. The consequences of this remuneration policy are great because cardiology is the last medical discipline where SPECT dominates. Market analysts expect that market for SPECT in cardiology in the next decade will collapse. Thirdly, the report highlights the lack of demand for SPECT in Asia, especially when at the same time, demand for the most modern PET technology is booming.