An American Health Physicist in Iraq

B.L. Baumann (Fluor Federal Services)

Shortly after the end of the second Gulf War, civilian health physicists from Fluor Federal Services supported the United States Department of Defense, Defense Threat Reduction Agency in Baghdad, Iraq. Fluor personnel lived with the military and traveled by military convoy and helicopters to retrieve and secure radioactive material across Iraq. Retrieved radioactive sources included typical industrial radioactive sources, radioactive lightning arrestor sources, and radioactive material that had been damaged in the war. In two cases highly radioactive Cobalt-60 sources with dose rates on the order of 1000 Roentgen per hour at 3 feet were located in the yards of indigenous personnel and removed. Hazards included working around unexploded ordinance, traveling around Iraq, and handling damaged radiation sources. Fluor personnel also provided health physics training to Iraqi health physicists from the Ministry of Science and Technology in Baghdad. This presentation discusses some of the practical lessons learned working in Iraq from August 2003 through February 2004.

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