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CHP - Combined Hospital and Power

Colocated medical and nuclear facilities
  (+7)
(+7)
  [vote for,
against]

Hospitals use a lot of energy, and for some functions it's quite important that the supply is uninterrupted.

Nuclear medicine is a well-regarded and useful discipline. Radio-Iodine treatment for thyroid disorders; oncological radiotherapy; isotope tracing; PET scans and many others. Radiation is extremely useful for sterilization, too.

Nuclear plants have an abundance of steam, hot water, neutrons, and gamma radiation.

The synergy is obvious. Carefully engineered ports in reactor shielding can deliver selected radiation of many types; just interpose the appropriate filter materials. Isotopes can be produced on demand, even the short half-life ones. Medical instruments and laundry can be guaranteed bug free by a short but lethal blast of gamma radiation.

The power plant guarantees a reliable energy supply, and hot water is abundant for washing and building heating. Any injuries to plant workers are treatable immediately in the state-of-the-art onsite medical facilities. And sick people are much less likely to be worried about the intimate proximity of the reactors as it's part of the process of being restored to health - plus it's only temporary.

8th of 7, Oct 31 2019

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       I am trying to find a flaw here. So far I am left with the highly unsatisfactory conclusion that this is not an entirely stupid idea. I'll let you know when I've made progress.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 31 2019
  

       This is quite sensible and reasonably easy to accomplish.
Who are you, and what have you done with the REAL [8th of 7]?
neutrinos_shadow, Oct 31 2019
  

       This actually does make a whole lot of sense. [+]   

       Also, you could use terminally ill/aged patients to carry out reactor-related activities that had a high probability of lethal exposure.
Frankx, Oct 31 2019
  

       That's a cynical, exploitative and highly unethical proposal.   

       We have a vacancy as HR director at the pilot facility, are you interested ...?   

       // I'll let you know when I've made progress. //   

       Hit the small piece of flint with the large one; the objective is to create sharp edged flakes. Though don't let anyone see you doing it - you don't want to be caught knapping, do you ...?
8th of 7, Oct 31 2019
  

       "don't get caught knapping"
That's almost [marked-for-tagline]-worthy.
neutrinos_shadow, Nov 01 2019
  

       //don't get caught knapping//   

       There was probably at least one chieftain who confiscated all sharp objects before he went to bed.
bigsleep, Nov 01 2019
  

       Unfortunately many radioisotopes used for nuclear medicine do not come from regular power-producing nuclear reactors, but a small number of research reactors throughout the world. Technetium-99, used with gamma cameras, has a half-life of 6 hours so to deliver it to hospitals, molybdenum-99 is produced (through neutron bombardment of uranium-235) which has a slightly longer half-life and decays into Tc-99. This Tc-99 generator (known as a "cow") is shipped to hospitals where the Tc-99 is chemically extracted ("milking" the "cow") as needed over the next few days. From conversations with my friend who works in medical imaging, I'm led to believe that the entire world supply of this stuff comes from a handful of highly specialized reactors, most of which are overdue to be decommissioned.   

       The difficulty of acquiring radioisotopes for nuclear medicine has meant that some hospitals have installed cyclotrons on-site, so in some sense your idea is already baked. However, they don't produce power.
mitxela, Nov 01 2019
  

       Fair points, although very little redesign would be needed to a commercial reactor to add the necessary ports and handling facilities; plus cyclotrons are very energetically-inefficient, particularly as neutron sources.   

       A facility designed from the outset to incorporate irradiation facilities would cost very little more than a regular one, you just need the ability to insert and remove the target materials while the unit remains online. It's not rocket science.   

       Research/production reactors produce relatively modest flux, and a proportionately small amount of heat (which is in fact an inconvenient waste product) but they can be run up and down again very quickly. There's very little burnup, so they can run for decades on their original charge.
8th of 7, Nov 01 2019
  

       //cynical, exploitative and highly unethical proposal//... Thanks [8th], i’m flattered!   

       I think this idea is actually a really good one, and probably achievable with existing Small Modular Reactor designs. Perhaps some adjustment for the radioisotopes.   

       I was intrigued, looking at hospital development options for NW London, to see an item listed “relocate linear accelerator” (from one hospital to another).   

       Hmm. That gives me another idea...
Frankx, Nov 01 2019
  

       The idea of a multidisciplinary nuclear plant is worth the bun
reensure, Nov 03 2019
  
      
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