Applications for large accelerator facilities

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority assesses whether large research facilities comply with the requirements imposed by the Radiation Protection Act and the Authority’s official regulations. As necessary, the Authority also issues targeted licence conditions.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority assesses whether large research facilities comply with the requirements imposed by the Radiation Protection Act and the Authority’s official regulations. As necessary, the Authority also issues targeted licence conditions.

Apart from a licensing review, the Authority also checks to ensure that the work activities comply with applicable legal frameworks concerning radiation safety and radiation protection in order to protect people and the environment from harmful effects of radiation.

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority has granted the MAX IV Laboratory a licence for normal operation. The licensing review of another research facility, European Spallation Source (ESS), has been ongoing since 2012. Both ESS and the MAX IV Laboratory are located outside Lund, in southernmost Sweden.

The design bases of these research facilities comprise large particle accelerators for protons and electrons, respectively. These facilities are larger in scale, both in terms of their size and energies compared with pre-existing accelerators, for example used by hospitals for radiotherapy (radiation treatment). X-ray equipment also works as a kind of accelerator, but at much lower levels of energy.

When the power supply to an X-ray tube in a piece of X-ray equipment is cut, this also interrupts the emission of ionising radiation from the device. This is also the case for accelerators, but there is a key difference: if the level of energy is high enough, radiation from large accelerators can give rise to radioactivity in the material hit by the radiation. This is why large accelerators are subject to more comprehensive radiation protection requirements than (for instance) a piece of X-ray equipment.