Medicine, Materials, Energy and Environment

Saskatchewan Centre for Cyclotron Sciences

Watch the webstream of the End of Construction event here


The Cyclotron Facility, April 22, 2014, during the installation of the cyclotron by crane.

The Saskatchewan Centre for Cyclotron Sciences, April 2015 . See construction photos here.

The Saskatchewan Centre for Cyclotron Sciences is the province’s first cyclotron and radioisotope facility.  With funding from the Government of Saskatchewan and Western Economic Diversification Canada, the new facility will be a world-class centre for research, training and innovation in nuclear medicine—including radiochemistry, physics and development of new radiopharmaceuticals for medical imaging.

The Fedoruk Centre operate and manages the facility, which is owned by the University of Saskatchewan.

The Saskatchewan Centre for Cyclotron Sciences builds upon the province’s pioneering research in nuclear medicine and advances research in the expanding fields of molecular imaging, nuclear medicine and other areas of science that make use of radioisotopes.


Location of the Cyclotron Facility

The facility is located on the University of Saskatchewan campus between the Canadian Light Source and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. The building has been extensively refurbished, with an extension added to accommodate the cyclotron and laboratory where radioisotopes will be extracted. This location is ideal due to its proximity to the Royal University Hospital, permitting rapid shipment of medical isotopes to the hospital before they decay.

The Cyclotron 

What is a Cyclotron?


The Advanced Cyclotron Systems  TR 24 cyclotron 

A cyclotron is a type of compact particle accelerator which produces radioactive isotopes that can be used for imaging procedures. Stable, non-radioactive isotopes are put into the cyclotron which accelerates charged particles (protons) to high energy in a magnetic field. When the stable isotopes react with the particle beam, a nuclear reaction occurs between the protons and the target atoms, creating radioactive isotopes for nuclear medicine and other purposes.

Radioisotopes used in medicine do not stay radioactive for very long. For this reason, the laboratory must be built close to both the cyclotron that produces the isotopes and the end user – in this case, Royal University Hospital’s nuclear medicine department.  

The Radioisotope Laboratory

The radioisotope laboratory is specially designed to enable researchers to work safely with radioactive materials, separating  them from the cyclotron targets and preparing them for use in radiopharmaceuticals or experiments.

Much of the work is done using remote systems inside shielded chambers called ‘hot cells.’ As many of the radioisotopes are intended for use in medical imaging or clinical research, the laboratory also meets stringent standards for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, known as Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).

Facts and Figures

Read more about the cyclotron facility here

The Cyclotron

A particle accelerator that produces radioisotopes by bombarding target materials with high-energy protons.

Cyclotron type

Advanced Cyclotron Systems Inc. TR-24 cyclotron; 24 MeV, 200-500 microamps

Mass when fully assembled

25 tonnes

Cyclotron magnet dimensions

15 cubic metres (3x2.3x2.2 m)


One Y-shaped beamline, accommodating two target end stations for producing radioisotopes

Isotopes planned to be produced

Fluoride-18 (18F) for PET-CT scanning;  research plans include carbon-11 (11C) and nitrogen-13 (13N)

The Cyclotron Vault

The vault is specially designed to ensure that no radiation produced by the cyclotron can exit into the rest of the facility or the environment.

  • Mass of vault

2.8 million kg

  • Roof and wall thickness

2.5 m

  • Floor slab thickness

1 m

  • Mass of roof slab

1.4 million kg

  • Number of concrete trucks needed to pour roof

82, delivering 505 cubic metres of special mix concrete

Some frequently asked questions

Are there any risks from working or living near the facility?

Designed and operated to meet or exceed the highest federal safety standards, the facility will be regulated by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and Health Canada, and will conform to the University of Saskatchewan's health and safety policies. Access to the cyclotron and the associated lab will be tightly controlled through a variety of safeguards. Specialized air and waste handling systems will guard against accidental releases of radioisotopes outside the facility. Lab work with radioisotopes will take place in sealed and shielded hot cells designed to contain spills.  Isotopes produced in the facility do not last very long and decay to negligible amounts in a matter of hours.

How is a cyclotron different from a synchrotron?

Both are particle accelerators. A cyclotron uses a constant magnetic field and a constant frequency electric field, whereas a synchrotron uses varying electric and magnetic fields and can accelerate particles to much higher energies.  A cyclotron can fit in a room.  A synchrotron is often the size of a football field.

A cyclotron is a particle accelerator in which charged particles (protons) accelerate in a spiral outwards from the machine’s centre, accelerated by kicks of electric voltage and steered along their path by a magnetic field. Once the high-speed, high-energy protons get to the edge of the cyclotron chamber, the particles are directed down beamlines where they are used in experiments or to make radioisotopes for nuclear medicine and other purposes.

A synchrotron such as the Canadian Light Source accelerates charged particles (electrons) in a circle using magnetic fields and radiowaves. Radiation (synchrotron light) given off by the electrons is used in experiments to study the structure of matter.

What research activities are planned for the facility?

In addition to producing the imaging isotopes used for the PET-CT scanner at the RUH, the laboratory will undertake animal and human health imaging and research and crop/plant imaging and research.

The facility will also be the site for research into development of new compounds – called radiopharmaceuticals – that can lead to improved detection, diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as cancers, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. By tagging specific biomolecules with radioisotopes, scientists can track the processes that can lead to diseases in specific organs, based on how the ‘tagged’ molecules are absorbed.

Other areas of research include physics related to the production of new radioisotopes using the cyclotron and the design of more sensitive radiation detectors.

Students, faculty and researchers from a wide array of disciplines and industry partners will undertake problem-solving research initiatives.  Health professionals will be trained in the most advanced imaging and treatment protocols.

Do you have a question? Submit it here.