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Scientific Director named for DOE Isotope Program

January 16, 2007 Share This!

RICHLAND, Wash. – The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy has named Dr. Darrell R. Fisher of Richland as the Scientific Director of the DOE Isotope Program. Dr. Fisher will provide scientific leadership and will develop a strategy for integrating isotope development and applications at five national laboratories and other collaborating producers. The Office of Nuclear Energy is working with these laboratories to develop a more robust isotope program that better serves the needs of the nation’s governmental agencies, industry and a broad spectrum of researchers that depend upon radioactive isotopes. Fisher currently leads the Radioisotopes Program at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland. His work as a medical physicist and radioisotope scientist has led to advances in the biomedical use of radioisotopes for cancer treatment.

Dr. Fisher noted that the U.S. is still highly dependent on isotopes imported from foreign sources, and that a number of different radioisotopes needed for medical research are not available, in short supply, or costly to produce. “The isotope program has a vital mission,” he said, “but we need to overcome a number of obstacles to succeed.”

“I’m confident that a revitalized isotope program--in collaboration with private industry and other federal agencies--will improve DOE’s ability to provide users with the variety and quality of isotopes they need. My job will be to bring together the various capabilities, resources and requirements of the medical isotope community and to create a long term vision and plan to address the needs of researchers and industry”

Fisher received his doctorate in nuclear engineering sciences in 1978 from the University of Florida, Gainesville. He is a member of the American Nuclear Society, the Society of Nuclear Medicine, and the Health Physics Society.

Of historical note, the isotope program is an outgrowth of the original Isotope Division of the Manhattan Engineering District, started by Dr. Paul Aebersold at the end of World War II. Aebersold served as director of the Atomic Energy Commission’s Isotopes Division at Oak Ridge from 1947 to 1957, and later retired as Director of the AEC's Office of Isotopes Development in 1965. Isotope production for peaceful applications was one of the principal missions of the Atomic Energy Commission when chartered in 1954 during the Eisenhower Administration.

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