Radiation absorption at the surface of catalytic particles is the initial step of photocatalytic oxidation reactions currently considered for their potential effectiveness in the treatment of polluted water with traces of highly toxic organics. Owing to the presence of catalyst particles within the fluid phase, the radiation field within a photocatalytic reactor results from the absorption and scattering within the participating medium. An annular reactor with a coaxial central lamp was considered, and the resulting 2-D radiation field was analyzed using a Monte Carlo technique to solve the radiative transfer equation. Results are discussed based on the relevant optical parameters, and a heuristic is derived for the design and rating of a photocatalytic reactor. To exploit the reaction volume effectively, the order of magnitude of the optical thickness should be close to unity, and for a given value of the absorption coefficient the catalyst with the lowest albedo should be selected; however, a precise evaluation of the phase function is not crucial to a relable representation of the radiation field.