NICA, the IBR-2, medical beams…

News, 19 February 2019

On 14 February 2019, a joint meeting of the JINR Directorate and the JINR Science and Technology Council was held in the International Conference Hall. It was chaired by R.V. Jolos.

The progress in the implementation of the NICA project was reported on by Director of the Veksler and Baldin Laboratory of High Energy Physics V.D. Kekelidze. He noted that deadlines for the project’s implementation are set according to the agreement between JINR and the Government of the Russian Federation. VBLHEP Director reported in details on the major stages of large-scale work of not only the Laboratory’s staff but of collaborators from numerous scientific centres and companies of Russia and other countries as well. R.V. Jolos, I.N. Meshkov raised questions and made comments on the report. V.A. Matveev congratulated the staff of the Laboratory on the implementation of large-scale complicated work and expressed his hope that difficulties of the final stage of preparing the complex to test launches and getting necessary documentation will be overcome successfully as well.

Preceding the second part of the agenda, STC Chairman reminded that one of the tasks of the Council is to get the opinion of the scientific community on the topical issues of the Institute’s development. That is why on the eve of the 125th session of the JINR Scientific Council, at which the report by JINR Director will be presented, it seems efficient to discuss the most significant scientific results of Laboratories’ work that will be included in the report.

Director of the Frank Laboratory of Neutron Physics V.N. Shvetsov noted that 2018 had not been successful for the Laboratory in terms of the operation of the basic facility – the IBR-2 reactor. Due to technical reasons, two runs were not conducted. However, this year the Laboratory plans to work 500 hours more for an experiment than usually. Moreover, there are plans for the replacement of the equipment with the service life expiring in 2020 – 2026. FLNP Director has already mentioned it in his comments at the meeting of the PAC for Condensed Matter Physics. Nevertheless, the number of publications of the Laboratory’s staff did not decrease in comparison with previous years. Five-year work on the creation of the new moving reflector PO-3 has been concluded, its trial is planned for this year.

V.N. Shvetsov spoke separately about the improvement of the user programme of the Laboratory, named the brightest scientific research of 2018 (the total number of published scientific papers was 287). The Director’s report also covered the IREN facility at which research on nuclear physics is carried out, the progress of its modernization was reported on. Characterizing work with the personnel, the reporter noted that the average age of scientific staff members is 48, great attention is paid to work with the youth in the Laboratory. Summing up the report, V.N. Shvetsov also highlighted innovation activities of the Laboratory the results of which may be used in various fields. He also announced an intention to engage one or two specialists to work with potential clients. It should be reminded that the concept of innovation activities of JINR was discussed at the STC meeting on 25 October 2018.

The comment by A.I. Malakhov, Head of the VBLHEP Department, proved successful interaction of VBLHEP specialists engaged in experiments at the CMS facility in CERN and FLNP staff members working at the IREN facility. He said that thanks to the support of A.V. Belushkin at the begininning and the following support of V.N. Shvetsov, the Laboratory conducted long-term runs of irradiating various samples of scintillators-constituents of the CMS hadron calorimeter by neutrons with different doses and dose powers. As a result, important data was obtained that jointly with other results allowed choosing the right decision for increasing the radiation resistance of the hadron calorimeter of the CMS facility in CERN. A.I. Malakhov expressed gratitude on behalf of his colleagues to all who provided successful operation of the IREN facility.

JINR Director V.A. Matveev in his comment on the report compared the Laboratory of Neutron Physics with “a factory of experiments on various fields of nuclear physics and condensed matter physics”. And all these experiments are carried out with limited resources. Director proposed to the FLNP Directorate to think over what resources are necessary in order to add the equipment of the most advanced level to the existing set of spectrometers.

“It is not a report on activities of the Laboratory of Radiation Biology,” LRB Director E.A. Krasavin started his speech. “It is an overview of some of our outstanding developments that I would like to offer to include in the report of JINR Director at the meeting of the Scientific Council.” He noted that a large volume of radiobiological experiments carried out at the accelerators of our Institute allowed obtaining some new results that are very important for various fields of medical and biological sciences. The most successful research was conducted at the U-400M accelerator in the Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions. As for the area of radiation therapy, a new method of increasing the biological effectiveness of the medical beam of protons has been proposed and is now studied. Influence of inhibitors, medications used in oncological hospitals, on the formation of DNA double-strand breaks in human cells under irradiation by protons at Bragg’s peak was studied. Application of the proposed method leading to the increase of biological effectiveness of proton beams significantly approximates application areas of proton and carbon accelerators for medical needs. First results were reported on to RAS President A.M. Sergeev and Director-General of the FSBI “National Medical Research Radiological Center” of the Ministry of Health of RF Academician A.D. Kaprin. A new collaboration on the use of this method in medical practice is being established. V.N. Shvetsov, D.V. Naumov, R. Tsenov, I.N. Meshkov and A.I. Malakhov took part in the discussion of the report.

V.A. Matveev in his final comment noted the evident benefit of such collective discussion for preparation of reports for the Scientific Council and the session of the Committee of Plenipotentiary Representatives of JINR. It would be efficient for the JINR Members States as well to prepare such reports on the most significant results obtained in the JINR Laboratories.

Evgeny Molchanov, JINR Weekly Newspaper