ANSI Standard N13.12 and ALARA: Are They Compatible?
W .E. Kennedy, Jr.
In 1994, the Health Physics Society Standards Committee (HPSSC) established an ANSI writing group to complete the development of ANSI Standard N13.13 (HPS/ANSI N13.12 1999). The standard was completed in December 1999 and is entitled "Surface and Volume Radioactivity Standards for Clearance." The purpose of HPS/ANSI N13.12 is to provide guidance for protecting the public and the environment from radiation exposure by specifying a primary radiation dose criterion (10 µSv/yr) and derived screening levels using the primary dose criterion for the clearance of items that could contain radioactive materials. At an annual dose rate of 10 µSv, a realistic question to be raised is "are HPS/ANSI N13.12 and ALARA compatible?" The primary elements of radiation protection are justification, optimization, and limitation. In developing this standard, it was assumed that licensed or otherwise regulated practices to which this standard may be applied have been justified, and therefore, justification does not need to be separately addressed. In establishing the primary dose standard, optimization would entail the analysis of various alternatives and the associated dose reduction for each alternative. However, one of the primary considerations in developing the standard was consistency with international commerce, that is, consistency with international clearance levels (IAEA 1988). This having been recognized, only a qualitative optimization analysis was conducted. In terms of limitation, the standard provides a consistent dose limit and derived screening levels that, if appropriately applied, should satisfy this requirement. In summary, HPS/ANSI N13.12 was intended to be compatible with as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA), with enough flexibility to satisfy specific regulatory situations.
This abstract was presented at the 34th Annual Midyear Meeting, "Radiation Safety and ALARA Considerations for the 21st Century", Regulatory Considerations Session, 2/4/2001 - 2/7/2001, held in Anaheim, CA.