NCRP Report No. 138, Determining the Way Forward


J. W. Poston, Sr.


The most recent National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) report on terrorist activities involving radioactive materials was published on 24 October 2001 (NCRP 2001). The NCRP writing group was formed in September 1998 and began work on the report in response to a contract received by the NCRP from the Planning and Preparedness Division, Office of Emergency Management in the Department of Energy (DOE). A draft of the report was delivered to DOE on 1 September 2000. Even though the work on this report was started just over three years prior to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, release of this much needed report appeared to be very timely and in response to this tragic event. A specific set of goals to be addressed by the report writing group was included in the detailed scope of work provided to the NCRP by DOE. These included: 1) Providing information and recommendations regarding radiological safety issues related to terrorist activities involving radioactive material; 2) Identifying, evaluating, and making recommendations regarding immediate and long-term radiological consequence-management issues; 3) Identifying communication and coordination challenges, and public information challenges associated with these emergencies; 4) Providing recommendations on training guidelines and critical resources; 5) Providing guidelines for external and internal radiation exposure, as well as for decontamination and cleanup; and 6) Providing a listing of major research and developments needs. Initially, this report was heralded widely but, since the publication, there has been little apparent effort within agencies of the federal government to implement any of the recommendations of the report. In addition, even though there have been overtures by the NCRP to various federal agencies, there seems to be little interest to begin work on any of the follow-up issues. Nevertheless, this presentation will highlight some of these needs in terms of using NCRP Report No. 138 to point the way forward in this very important area.


This abstract was presented at the 36th Annual Midyear Meeting, "Radiation Safety Aspects of Homeland Security and Emergency Response", Plenary Session, 1/26/2003 - 1/29/2003, held in San Antonio, TX.

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