In Memoriam: Matthew Lyon


by Jerome B. Martin, CHP

Matthew Lyon, a 20-year resident of Richland, Washington, died on 14 April 2005 after a brief illness. He was born on 4 May 1933 in Mineola, New York. After his discharge from the U.S. Navy in 1954, Matt began his career in health physics as a radiation protection technician at the GE Vallecitos Nuclear Laboratory. While working full-time to support his wife and three children, Matt completed his BS degree at San Jose State College in 1965. Matt spent the next two decades working in the nuclear power industry. From 1967 to 1971, he was the first health physicist at the Point Beach Nuclear Plant, where he designed and developed the radiation protection and environmental monitoring programs. This was followed by a five-year stint at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, where he once again was the first health physicist and designed and implemented the radiation protection program.

In keeping with his tradition of being among the first health physicists on a project, Matt was hired in 1976 by Puget Sound Power & Light and Northwest Energy Services to be the health physics and chemistry manager at the Skagit Nuclear Power Project. In 1982 Matt transferred to the Washington Public Power Supply System and continued work on the WNP-3 Plant at Skagit. In 1984 Matt joined the staff of American Nuclear Insurers, where he was responsible for inspection and evaluation of the radiation protection programs at nuclear power plants for liability insurance compliance. The following year he returned to the Washington Public Power Supply System as a principal health physicist at the WNP-2 Nuclear Power Plant, where he performed quality-assurance audits and performance evaluations of radiation protection and radioactive waste programs. Matt completed his career in health physics at Battelle, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where he worked from 1987 until his retirement in 1999 as manager of the Hanford Radiological Records Program.

During his years at Battelle, he modernized and upgraded the Hanford site-wide radiation records system and gained a national reputation for his expertise with respect to radiation records, serving as chairman of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Committee N13.6, which produced the standard "Practice for Occupational Radiation Exposure Records Systems."

Matt was a member of both the national Health Physics Society and the Columbia Chapter. He served as secretary of American Nuclear Society, Subcommittee 3, which prepared ANSI Standard N18.1 on Selection and Training of Nuclear Power Plant Personnel, and was also a member of the Atomic Industrial Forum Subcommittee on Occupational Radiation Exposure.

He will be missed by his many friends and colleagues in health physics and by his wife of more than 50 years, Judy, and three children.