2019 is one of the most successful years in the history of JINR

News, 18 December 2019

On 13 December, the last in 2019 regular meeting of the JINR Science and Technology Council took place in the International Conference Hall. It was chaired by Prof. R. V. Jolos. JINR Director Academician V. A. Matveev called the expiring year one of the most successful years in the Institute’s history. It was marked by numerous bright events, scientific results and achievements of the international team of the Institute.

The assembly of the ring accelerator, i.e. the booster of the NICA research complex, is being concluded; a stage-by-stage commissioning is underway, and then the ring will be put into operation. All the elements of the magnet and cryostat system have been produced at JINR following the original technology that has been acknowledged in Europe. The complex of high-tech systems developed with the participation of leading Russian and foreign companies and institutes provides the operation of the accelerator and the production of the high-quality beam. First physical results were obtained on the production of hyperons (strange baryons) at the BM@N facility in the experiment aimed to study the properties of the super-dense nuclear matter in interactions of high-energy heavy ions the beams of which will be provided by the booster and the Nuclotron accelerators of the complex (NICA megascience project).

The fourth and the fifth clusters of the neutrino telescope Baikal-GVD were installed and brought into operation by the “Baikal” collaboration. Now the effective volume of the facility that already includes five clusters increased up to 0.25 km3 for registration of shower events from high-energy neutrinos of the astrophysical origin. It is approximately 0.6 of the effective volume of the IceCube Antarctic detector. A preliminary analysis of the data collected in 2016 – 2018 and partially in 2019 was carried out, and it allowed the scientists to find out first six events with energies exceeding 100 TeV in which a flow of astrophysical neutrinos prevailed over the background of atmospheric neutrinos (INR, JINR).

The unique accelerator complex – the Superheavy Element Factory – was put into operation. The first experiment on the synthesis of isotopes of element 115 (moscovium) was prepared. This experiment is the result of many years of work on the creation and launch of the Superheavy Element Factory. The experiment is supposed to show that the complex is ready for the implementation of a long-range programme aimed at the synthesis of elements 119 and 120, the first ones in the 8th row of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements. The experiment also aims to study nuclear-physical and chemical properties of new elements.

The second phase of the “Govorun” supercomputer was brought into operation. Now it includes CPU computation components and NVIDIA V100 graphical accelerators of computations. The modernization provided a 3-time increase in the efficiency, and thus the supercomputer became the 10th in the TOP50 list of most powerful supercomputers in the CIS countries.

Specialists from JINR and the Medical Radiological Scientific Centre carried out research on a new method for increasing biological efficiency of protons in curing cancer diseases in vivo. The patent for the invention of the new method of increasing radiation impact on living cells was obtained.

The Director also noted considerable success in the development of the JINR educational programme: “Work of the UC with the scientific youth, students and postgraduates from various countries, schoolchildren, physics teachers impresses and delights a lot.” In 2019, about 500 students studied at the MSU, MIPT, MEPhI, Dubna State University based departments and universities of the JINR Member States. Almost 500 students took part in summer educational and on-the-job training programmes. They came from universities of Armenia, Belarus, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine. About 60 students and postgraduates from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cuba, Egypt, Italy, Kazakhstan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan participated in the Summer Student Programme 2019.

Considering the milestones of the guest session of the Committee of Plenipotentiaries held in the capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi, V. A. Matveev noted that “it was the first time the meetings of the JINR supreme Governing Bodies, including the Finance Committee, took place in Vietnam. The CP session was held in a businesslike and friendly atmosphere, in full agreement with excellent working conditions provided to us by our hospitable Vietnamese colleagues.” Then the JINR Director considered the first-priority tasks in the development of the JINR management system, its financial and economic activities that had been discussed at the 126th meeting of the JINR Scientific Council and the CP guest session in Vietnam. In particular, it is necessary to continue work on updating the entire regulatory framework, regulations for the staff, the budget adjustment, procurement system documents. The strategy of the JINR development until 2030 and further correlated with world tendencies of science development is being drafted. The Director paid special attention to the increase in the wage bill.

V. A. Matveev introduced participants of the meeting to the milestones of the joint meeting of the Presidium of the Science and Technology Council of the State Corporation “Rosatom” and leaders of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research.

Questions and comments were submitted by D. I. Kazakov, S. N. Nedelko, A. I. Frank, M. G. Itkis, I. N. Meshkov, S. N. Dmitriev, Yu. K. Potrebenikov, D. V. Naumov, R. V. Jolos, D. V. Peshekhonov.

The STC agenda also included a report by JINR Assistant Director, RAS Corresponding Member G. D. Shirkov on the creation of the Medical and biological centre for proton therapy. This issue dates back to 1967 when the first runs for the clinical application of proton beams produced by the JINR Phasotron were carried out on the initiative and with the support of Director of the Laboratory of Nuclear Problems V. P. Dzhelepov. Since 1999, the radiological department has been operating at the Medical Unit #9 of the FMBA of Russia. The technique of the three-dimensional conformal proton radiotherapy was used for the first time in Russia. From 2000 to 2018, about 1300 patients (including non-Russian citizens from the JINR Member States) with various tumours underwent the course of proton radiotherapy at beams of the Phasotron.

Possessing a many-year experience in the creation of accelerators and physical facilities for fundamental and applied research, JINR develops medical accelerator equipment cooperating with the IBA company, a world-leader in the fields of the creation of facilities for proton therapy, and designs, assembles, sets up and launches specialized medical cyclotrons for these purposes. More than 10 years ago, JINR and the IBA developed the project of the first in the world superconducting carbon cyclotron C400. Nowadays, this accelerator is being constructed in Caen, France.

In addition to the C400, calculations and upgrading of the stock proton cyclotron C230 were carried out. The first specimen of the C235-V3 was assembled, set up and launched at JINR in 2012. Nowadays, this accelerator is included in the first in Russia medical centre for proton therapy, namely the Federal High-Technology Centre for Medical Radiology of the FMBA in Dimitrovgrad.

Thus, as the speaker noted, many years of practical experience in treatment of cancer patients with proton beams, a team of skilled specialists in the fields of radiation medicine, the radiological department at the Medical Unit #9 of the FMBA provide conditions for continuing and development of hadron therapy on the JINR basis in the upcoming years. The treatment of patients with the participation of JINR specialists should be naturally combined with medical and biological research conducted at the Institute.

LRB conducts research on the impact of proton beams on various biological objects aimed to study the laws and mechanisms of the formation of molecular violations in the genetic apparatus of human and animal cells. The latest results of this research offer a potential breakthrough in the efficiency of the use of proton beams for the treatment of cancer diseases. For this study to be continued, a medical centre with a modern and reliable proton accelerator which has to be certified to irradiate cancer patients is needed. The world experience in the creation of such medical centres shows that treatment of patients and conducting scientific research at proton beams may be successfully combined at one accelerator using additional beam extractors and scheduling radiation of patients and scientific research.

Establishment of joint JINR-FMBA scientific and research medical-biological radiation centre in cooperation with the IBA may become a significant step towards providing necessary medical aid to oncological patients from the North-Western part of the Moscow Region, as well as from the JINR Member States. It also may become a pilot project for the establishment of a set of compact and relatively cheap centres for proton therapy for the leading oncological hospitals of Russia. Establishment of the Radiobiological research centre for hadron therapy was included in the Long-term strategic plan of the JINR development until 2030.

V. N. Shvetsov, V. A. Bednyakov, O. Culicov, M. Hnatič, Yu. A. Usov, D. V. Naumov, E. A. Krasavin, E. M. Syresin, M. G. Itkis, B. N. Gikal, I. N. Meshkov, A. A. Baldin, R. V. Jolos took part in the discussion of the report.

The article was prepared by Evgeny Molchanov,
JINR Weekly Newspaper