Times Colonist

Work begins on Uvic-led isotopes project


VANCOUVER — Work began Tuesday on a $62.9-million particle accelerato­r at TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics, located at the University of British Columbia.

A groundbrea­king ceremony was held at the site for the new ARIEL (Advanced Rare Isotope Laboratory) which will employ 300 workers for the next 18 months to construct the lab and undergroun­d beam tunnel, with its 1.8-metre-thick walls housing the linear accelerato­r. The ARIEL project is being led by the University of Victoria.

The facility is slated to become operationa­l by 2015 and is expected to find new ways to produce medical isotopes used to diagnose and treat cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s dis- ease and Alzheimer’s.

Prof. Reiner Kruecken, head of the science division at TRIUMF, said ARIEL would significan­tly enhance Canada’s capability for producing rare and exotic isotopes for research, physics and medicine.

“ARIEL will allow us to create those isotopes in the laboratory that are created for only fractions of a second in massive stars when they explode at the end of their life. ARIEL will help us understand where the chemical elements are coming from that make up our bodies and the world around us,” he said.

“Remember, we are all star dust. Every atom in our body has been in a star, was produced in a star, or in a star explosion,” Kruecken said.

“[ARIEL] will make TRIUMF the world’s leading laboratory in isotope research.”

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