2018 HPS Midyear Meeting
4–7 February, Denver, Colorado
A Sampling of Sessions
Photos courtesy of Brett Burk
Radiation Protection Research Needs—HPS Task Force Takes the Reins
Eric Abelquist, HPS President, ORAU/HPS
Stating that health physics is a key discipline for many federal agency and commercial sector missions, Health Physics Society (HPS) President Eric Abelquist noted that the lack of health physics research funding poses an increasing risk for employers hiring health physicists and the academic programs that graduate health physicists. Citing data generated from Kathy Higley, PhD, more than half of the health physics academic programs graduated fewer than six students per year—many programs are conferring too few degrees each year to remain viable long-term.
To help address this problem, the HPS has adopted a short-term goal in its Strategic Plan to "strengthen support for radiation protection academic programs." Actions taken over the past year have included (1) holding the Radiation Protection Research Needs Workshop jointly sponsored by Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and HPS in June 2017 that included 84 attendees from government, academia, and industry invited from 43 institutions/government programs, (2) leveraging our Government Relations Program to help influence research funding using talking points from the Workshop Summary Report, and (3) chartering the HPS Task Force on Research Needs.
The HPS Task Force on Research Needs, led by Cochairs Jason Davis and Andy Scott, was chartered to identify how HPS can best support the research needs of the federal agencies and industry, while supporting the research funding for academic programs.
House Science Committee: Funding Low-Dose Research
Hillary O'Brien, House Subcommittee on Energy
An important research area for many health physicists, low-dose radiation research, is getting traction in Congress via H.R. 4675, "Low Dose Radiation Research Act of 2017." Hillary O'Brien, staff member on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, offered further insights on the low-dose bill during her plenary talk. Currently, there is a lack of consensus within the scientific community on the specific health risks associated with exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation. This limited understanding has profound implications for U.S. medical, industrial, commercial, and defense-related activities. H.R. 4675 was passed by the House Science Committee on 10 January 2018. This legislation will direct the Department of Energy to carry out a research program on the health effects of low-dose radiation within the Office of Science.
Meeting the U.S. EPA's Need for Radiation Professionals
Mike Boyd, U.S. EPA
Mike Boyd, from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Radiation Protection Division, described the EPA's multipronged approach for sustaining health physics expertise in the face of retirements, a shrinking pool of available candidates with health physics degrees, and other knowledge-management challenges. EPA's radiation protection program is supporting efforts to improve health physics knowledge at all staff levels through traditional and online education, conference attendance, mentoring, and peer-to-peer knowledge sharing. For staff members who are ready to pursue American Board of Health Physics certification, EPA is also providing educational opportunities that can better prepare them for success.
New Regulations for Intermediate Depth Disposal and Future Issues in Japan
Masahiro Uchida, Nuclear Regulation Authority–Japan
Masahiro Uchida stated that, currently, regulations for intermediate depth disposal are under preparation. To achieve isolation for 100,000 years, a depth greater than 70m, taking erosion into account, will be required. The as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) concept will be introduced to judge the appropriateness of repository design by comparing multiple design options with a dose constraint of 300 μSv y-1. Since the new regulation requires performance of repository according to the waste characteristics, applying this concept to existing shallow land disposal, geologic disposal, and disposal of uranium waste and accident waste from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is a future issue.
An Update on Current Issues Facing Low-Level Waste Disposal
Leonard Slosky, Rocky Mountain Low-Level Radioactive Waste Board
Leonard Slosky discussed four topics: (1) disused sources, (2) the Nuclear Regulatory 10 CFR Part 61 proposed rule, (3) oil and gas naturally occurring radioactive material/technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM/TENORM), and (4) the policy/political aspects of low-level waste. The importance of financial assurance for sealed sources was emphasized, along with better informing purchasers of the life-cycle costs of sources. Concern was expressed about limiting the assessment of site performance to 1,000 years if large quantities of depleted uranium will be received. The challenges posed by oil and gas NORM/TENORM to state regulators and compacts were summarized. The fragility of the current disposal operations to changing regulatory schemes was mentioned.
Kirk Scott, BWXT Technical Services Group
Kirk Scott, BWXT Technical Services Group, presented a talk on innovative solutions to better risk-inform the disposition of low-level radioactive waste.
NCRP Emerging Issues in Radioactive Waste Management Workshop
Bill Kennedy, Don Cool, S.Y. Chen, and Bill Irwin, Session Chairs
The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) hosted the workshop "Emerging Issues in Radioactive Waste Management," the third in a series of workshops developed by the NCRP partnering with the HPS to enhance the content of the HPS midyear meetings. The workshop was developed under the leadership of S.Y. Chen, PhD, who is the director of the Professional Master's Health Physics Program at the Illinois Institute of Technology and a vice president emeritus of the NCRP's Program Area Committee (PAC) 5 – Environmental Radiation and Radioactive Waste. This special symposium was organized by the PAC 5 membership, which includes representatives from government agencies, higher education, and private industry.
The generation of radioactive waste has been a routine part of industrial activities involving the use of radioactive materials for over a century. The waste classifications, disposal technologies, and regulations for radioactive waste disposal, both nationally and internationally, have evolved over that time; as new issues emerge, new solutions are found.
The NCRP workshop consisted of four sessions from Monday afternoon through Tuesday morning. Each session included two or three invited papers, with a close-out panel discussion at the end of the Monday and Tuesday programs. Cochairs of the workshop were Chen, William (Bill) Kennedy, Jr., and William (Bill) Irwin, PhD.
Monday Afternoon Session
NCRP Monday session presenters, left to right: Chris Shaw, Chris McKenney, Kent Rosenberger, Casey Gadbury, and Bill Kennedy. Photo courtesy of Bill Kennedy
Remediation and Regulation
"Contamination Mitigation in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Repository"—Casey Gadbury (EPA Carlsbad Office) outlined the 2014 WIPP contamination event, the recovery process, and return-to-normal operations in early 2017.
"High-Level Waste (HLW) Tank Closure at Savannah River Site"—Kent Rosenberger (Savannah River Remediation) provided an overview of the Savannah River HLW tank designs and locations, the operational steps needed to empty the tanks, the regulatory process for tank closure, and the operations performed to stabilize the tanks for perpetuity.
"Final Rule: Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal 10 CFR Part 61"—Chris McKenney (branch chief of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission [NRC] Low-Level Waste, Performance Assessment organization) described the details and process of supplementing the revised final rule based on NRC directions prior to a 90-day public comment period.
Present and Future Issues
"Nuclear Industry Perspectives on Low-Level Waste Management"—Janet Schlueter (Nuclear Energy Institute–presented by Bill Kennedy) provided an overview of the nuclear industry's perspectives on current practices for the continued safe and secure management of radioactive waste.
"Present and Future Low-Level Radioactive Waste Issues, An Industrial Perspective"—Chris Shaw (corporate safety officer and technical services project manager of Waste Control Specialists [WCS]) described the WCS mission of constantly improving its processes across its four disposal facilities, including the Compact Waste Facility; Federal Waste Facility; Byproduct Disposal Facility; and Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facility.
"Waste Management Approaches for Handling Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM)"—Bill Kennedy (W.E. Kennedy Consulting) provided background information on the generation of TENORM from the oil and gas industry, the status of state TENORM disposal regulations, and the role of the NCRP in developing science-based regulations for TENORM waste disposal.
Tuesday Morning Session
NCRP Tuesday session presenters and chairs, front row, left to right, Bill Irwin, Bill Kennedy, S.Y. Chen, Sang Don Lee; back row, left to right, Daniel Schultheisz, Bill Irving, Paul Lemieux, John Cardarelli. Photo courtesy of Brett Burk
Radioactive Waste From Wide-Area Incidents
"Issues and Framework for Managing Radioactive Waste Wide-Area Contamination"—Chen described the waste-management challenges associated with large-scale events and a comprehensive waste-management strategy, which would require flexibility in the current waste-management policy to protect public health.
"Waste Management Challenges Facing Fukushima's Long-Term Recovery"—Sang Don Lee, PhD (U.S. EPA) provided an overview of the types and quantities of radioactive waste generated in Japan following the Fukushima accident and the current and proposed Japanese response.
"Tradeoffs Between Decontamination Methods and Waste Management During Response to a Wide-Area Radiological Incident"—Paul Lemieux, PhD (U.S. EPA) discussed operational tradeoffs and potential tools that can be used to assess and manage the complex systems involved in managing a wide-area radiological response.
Managing Incident-Specific Waste
"Waste Management and Decontamination of Incident involving 210Po in the United Kingdom During 2006"—John Cardarelli, PhD (U.S. EPA) described the events regarding the death of Alexander Litvinenko by 210Po intake, including the public-health decisions, derivation of cleanup levels, instruments and equipment used for remediation, specific decontamination methods used, and waste-disposal issues.
"Managing Waste From Radiological Incidents: Considerations for Decision Making"—Daniel Schultheisz (U.S. EPA) indicated that past large contamination events have indicated that management of large volumes of waste cannot be accomplished using the existing disposal infrastructure. He concluded that, although effective waste management starts with the actions of the first responders, state, local, and federal decision makers will need to all understand the long-term implications of decisions regarding demolition, decontamination, and remediation as they balance critical long-term priorities and resources.
The Monday and Tuesday sessions were followed by an interactive panel discussion that allowed a lively audience-participation question-and-answer process. Following the workshop, Chen, Kennedy, and Irwin thanked the HPS for its support in allowing the NCRP to participate in the meeting. The NCRP workshop PowerPoint presentations are available on the NCRP website.
Colorado State University Special Session, Tuesday Morning
Shin Toyoda and Amber Harshman, Session Chairs
CSU Tuesday morning session speakers, left to right, Shin Toyoda, Jaimie Daum, Ian McNabb, P.J. Seel, Josh Hayes, Wiseman Bekelesi, and Amber Harshman. Photo courtesy of Amber Harshman
Colorado State University (CSU) hosted a special session on Tuesday, 6 February. The first session of the day was cochaired by Amber Harshman, a health physics PhD candidate at CSU, and Shin Toyoda, PhD, from the Okayama University of Science in Okayama, Japan. The speakers in this session included not only graduate students from the health physics program at CSU, but also visiting scholars from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, as well as students from Hiroshima University, in Hiroshima, Japan.
The topics in this session focused on dosimetry techniques and the measurement of radiocesium in the environment. The students at CSU are conducting a number of different research projects that involve investigation of the impacts of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident on the environment, and this was apparent in the diverse topics that were presented in this session.
Toyoda began the session with "A New Standard for EPR (ESR) Retrospective Radiation Dosimetry With Tooth Enamel: Standardization of the Method." Toyoda has done extensive work in the field of electron spin resonance (ESR) dosimetry and has used ESR dosimetry to reconstruct doses not only for a number of animals, but also for humans. Harshman discussed additional aspects of ESR dosimetry in "Suitability of Tooth Enamel From Japanese Wild Boar for Use as a Dosimeter With Electron Spin Resonance Dosimetry." Josh Hayes, a first-year master's student at CSU, continued the theme of biodosimetry with "The Pseudo Pelger-Huet Anomaly as a Bio-Dosimeter for Chronic Low Dose Radiation Exposure of Mammalian Species Within the Fukushima Daiichi Exclusion Zone."
Wiseman Bekelesi, a student from Hiroshima University, described techniques used to assess dose rates in Fukushima as well has how they are changing over time in "A Survey of Dose Rate Assessment at Fukushima Prefecture." The focus shifted to radiocesium in the environment with the presentation given by Jaimie Daum, a radiochemistry PhD candidate from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, titled "Low-Level Radiocesium Measurements of Ocean Water off the Coast of Japan."
In "Spatiotemporal Changes of Radio-Cesium Concentrations Released From the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant," P.J. Seel, a master's student from CSU, reported the temporal decrease of the radiocesium contamination levels in Fukushima and pointed out that spatial distribution is very heterogeneous. The morning session concluded with a talk by Ian McNabb, a first-year master's student at CSU, titled "Bioavailability of Plutonium and Radiocesium in Soil From the Fukushima Exclusion Zone."
Colorado State University Special Session, Tuesday Afternoon
Patrick Mattera and Jason Richards, Session Chairs
CSU Tuesday afternoon session speakers, front row, left to right, Vivien Miller and Lhi Cao; back row, left to right, Patrick Mattera, Jason Richards, Matthew Meengs, John Wang, and Ryan Fabien. Photo courtesy of Tom Johnson
This session began with Vivien Miller, whose strong presentation on cesium in a mesotrophic pond was voted number one by the judges at the end of the meeting. Her engaging and energetic presentation was much needed after the long snack break. Patrick Mattera then gave a short presentation on the deer model of International Commission on Radiological Protection Publication 108, followed Jason Richards, who presented on a method of separating americium and curium. Jason placed second in the overall ranking of presentations. Ryan Fabian presented next on basic detector usability in cosmic situations, followed by John Wang's presentation on tritium diffusion in plastic, which raised an impressive amount of questions by the audience. Lastly, Matthew Meengs presented on the detection of sources in ambient environments, with the session ending on a lengthy discussion by Lhi Cao on precipitation of nuclides by oxidizing bacteria. Each presentation offered vastly different methods and progression, some projects still in infancy while others essentially complete.
Medical Health Physics Special Session
Bryan Lemieux and Deirdre Elder, Session Chairs
Medical Health Physics Section session speakers, left to right, Matthew Brown, Mike Sheetz, and Alan Jackson. Photo courtesy of Kendall Berry
The HPS Medical Health Physics Section hosted a special session focused on current therapies using 90Y-labeled microspheres for the treatment of liver cancer. Several key aspects were covered by a variety of speakers. Linda Kroger kicked off the session with a historical review on the genesis of 90Y-labeled microspheres and their therapeutic applications.
The session continued with Matthew Brown, MD, presenting an overview of the clinical microsphere treatment process and a comparison between TheraSphere and SIR-Sphere, the two current products on the market for this purpose. Michael Sheetz provided a review of the evolving NRC licensing guidance, with a special focus on the pending changes currently open for public comment. Bryan Lemieux discussed organizational models, work flows, and potential issues related to the use of 90Y microspheres, which require a multidisciplinary team.
A presentation on reported medical events for this modality was given by Alan Jackson. He noted that medical events are more prevalent with microspheres when compared to other established modalities reviewed by the NRC. Andy Miller stepped in to deliver the final presentation, which focused on the specific issues regarding explanted livers containing microspheres, doses to surgical and pathology staff, and related considerations.
Feedback received by the Medical Health Physics Section suggests that the session was well received. Look for medical health physics special sessions at future meetings.
Power Reactor Session
Tom Voss, Session Chair
HPS Power Reactor Section President James (Tom) Voss opened the session with a request for nominations for and then a vote on replacement officers for Power Reactor Section outgoing officers. The new officers need to be finalized for the section by the time of the 2018 HPS Annual Meeting in Cleveland, Ohio. He also explained the need to review the present bylaws and either reapprove or modify those bylaws.
Willie Harris (Exelon Corp) presented "Delivering the Nuclear Promise"—Companies that operate America's nuclear energy facilities have partnered on a multiyear strategy to transform the industry and ensure its viability for consumers as well as its essential role in protecting the environment. This strategic plan, called Delivering the Nuclear Promise®, strengthens the industry's commitment to excellence in safety and reliability, assures future viability through efficiency improvements, and drives regulatory and market changes so that nuclear energy facilities are fully recognized for their value.
Bob Goldstein (U.S. Nuclear) presented "Status of New NPP Construction"—This presentation covered new U.S. nuclear power plant (NPP) construction, new NPP construction worldwide, and status of small modular reactor (SMR) development and construction. Also covered was the future of NPP considering new U.S. EPA regulation changes. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, there were 50 new NPPs in construction worldwide as of November 2016. An update shows 10 additional new NPPs in construction in India and 2 additional new NPPs in construction in South America.
James (Tom) Voss (Power Reactor Section President) presented "A Review of the Methods Used by Major Organizations to Increase Efficiency While Decreasing the Costs of Operations"—This presentation was a brief follow-on to the presentation "Delivering the Nuclear Promise."
Alan Proctor (Nucsafe.Com) presented "The Role of Aerial Radiation Surveys In Nuclear Power"—Measuring terrestrial gamma radiation from airborne platforms has proved to be a useful method for characterizing radiation levels over large areas. Hundreds of aerial radiological surveys have been carried out over the past years, including U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sites, commercial nuclear power plants, Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program/Uranium Mine Tailing Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP/UMTRAP) sites, nuclear weapons test sites, contaminated industrial areas, and nuclear accident sites. This presentation described some of the aerial measurement technology currently in use for routine environmental surveys and emergency response activities.
Bob Goldstein (U.S. Nuclear Corp) presented "Evaluation of Current and Future Portable Radiation Instrument Types"—There is a mix of traditional and up-to-date portable radiation instrument types in use in nuclear power. Some of the traditional instruments types (models) were in use 50 years ago and seem to continue to meet the survey requirements. There has been a trend towards lighter-weight and "smarter" instruments in the past few decades. Some advances have been made in new detection methods. This mix of instruments needs more comprehensive training for the users to effectively use the instruments, both "traditional" and "smart" instruments.
Frazier Bronson (Mirion Technologies) presented "Primary Coolant On-Line Continuous Gamma Spectroscopy at Two Nuclear Power Plants" and "A Portable Quantitative High-Resolution Gamma System for Waste, D&D, and Emergency Response."
Nasser Shubayr, Session Chair
Environmental session speakers, left to right, Martha Dibblee, Robert Posner, and Nasser Shubayr. Photo courtesy of Nasser Shubayr
Nasser Shubayr (U.S. EPA) presented "Methodological Consistency Between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.K. Environment Agency in Chemical and Radiation Risk Assessment Models for Contaminated Sites"—The EPA and the U.K. Environment Agency (EA) issued models for chemical risk assessment that are generally consistent with the agencies' radiation risk assessment models. The EPA has issued the Regional Screening Levels for Chemical Contaminants at Superfund Sites (RSL) calculator, which is consistent with the Preliminary Remediation Goals for Radionuclides Contaminants at Superfund Sites (PRG) calculator. The EA issued Contaminated Land Exposure Assessment (CLEA) Excel spreadsheet, which uses a similar modeling approach to the agency's radiation risk assessment, the Radioactively Contaminated Land Exposure Assessment Methodology (RCLEA) Excel spreadsheet. This paper studies the agencies' methodological consistency between chemical and radiation risk assessment models and shows the (1) key similarities and differences between the EPA models, PRG and RSL calculators, (2) key similarities and differences between the EA models, RCLEA and CLEA, and (3) consistency between the EPA and the EA in their modeling methodology for chemical and radiation risk assessment for contaminated sites. The study concluded that the EPA and EA have consistent methodologies for chemical and radiation risk assessment; however, the EA follows the European Union directives, which separate the radioactive sites and nonradioactive sites and, as a result, the EA models have different outputs and cannot be summed together like the EPA models.
Martha Dibblee (3S Consulting, LLC) presented "Disposal of Arc Chutes: Low-Level Radioactive Waste or Exempt NORM?"—A utility company contacted 3S Consulting, LLC, because its discarded air blast circuit breakers were rejected by a local scrap-recycling facility. 3S Consulting surveyed the rejected breaker and identified the radioactive component, which was a ceramic material in the breaker housing. 3S Consulting learned that there were two separate radioactive ceramic components, both radioactive. One was an arc chute channel. The other, distinctly different in shape, size, and function, was the side plates. The utility representative stated that there were other reports of radioactive utility breaker components on the web.
Robert Posner (Amec Foster Wheeler) presented "Applications of Gamma Spectroscopy With Spectral Stripping Algorithms in Environmental Field Conditions"—The introduction of spectroscopy into field gamma radiation detectors allows for the quantification of multiple gamma-emitting isotopes simultaneously and reduces the undesired influences of NORM in the measurement. The latter advantage is amplified when gamma spectroscopy is coupled with probabilistic mathematical constructs referred to as spectral stripping algorithms, which quantify and correct for the influence of the Compton scattering of gamma emissions from NORM into the region(s) of the gamma spectra associated with the contaminant(s) of concern. Gamma spectroscopy, augmented with spectral stripping algorithms, can significantly improve the signal-to-noise ratio in the measurement and, thereby, greatly reduce the minimum detectable concentrations of gamma-emitting radionuclides in a wide range of environmental field conditions and survey applications. The increased measurement sensitivity, coupled with isotopic speciation, allows the data consumer to assess the gamma-emitting radionuclides present in the environment more completely and confidently relative to traditional environmental field gamma measurements.
Operational Health Physics Session
Maryla Wasiolek and Spencer Mickum, Session Chairs
Operational Health Physics session speakers, left to right, Maryla Wosiolek, Alex Schwarz, Hung Chiou, Steven Brown, and Spencer Mickum. Photo courtesy of Maryla Wasiolek
Maryla Wasiloek presented on an existing consortium of national laboratories, industry partners, and institutions to provide access to irradiation facilities in support of DOE/nuclear energy. The Advanced Test Reactor at Idaho National Laboratory and other facilities—including reactors, ion beams, computation resources, and gamma irradiation facilities—are offered for free to researchers able to have their proposal accepted by the consortium.
Alex Schwarz is working on coding a material composition input file generation routine for the Monte Carlo N-Particle (MCNP) radiation simulation platform in C++ programming language. The data is derived from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory material composition compendium, a public paper. The goal of his work is to reduce human error, and he will instigate the use of the most recent cross sections available through MCNP.
Hung Chiou is interested in reducing the testing time on incoming packages to be stored at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Testing for transuranic elements can be complicated by radon and thorium and their progeny, so a technique involving the iSolo® compensating algorithm to separate out their response from other transuranics was presented on reducing testing time from three days to three hours.
Steven Brown talked on assessing dose from inhalation exposure due to the pure uranium product (yellowcake), depending on solubility, absorption type, annual limit on intake, and metabolic behavior of the product. Discussion included bioassay techniques, the determination of speciation, and the comparison of chemical toxicity effects and radiation effects.
Spencer Mickum's talk focused on researching novel methods for providing the best uniformity to an irradiated sample within a self-contained research irradiator. Several source geometries, types, and filters were investigated and the importance of rotation on the number of sources needed to obtain uniformity was explained.
American Academy of Health Physics Course #1
Matthew D. Austin, CIH Quality Management Services
Matthew Austin presenting AAHP Course #1. Submitted photo
This course discussed the key elements of recognized occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS) and how they can be leveraged to improve organizational performance, beyond compliance. Interactive exercises provided the opportunity for attendees to apply the management-system framework to commonly encountered scenarios. The course concluded with a case study that explored the challenges and lessons learned when creating and implementing a comprehensive OHSMS at a large academic medical center.
Professional Enrichment Program (PEP)
Contemporary Topics in Health Physics
Bob Emery, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Bob Emery presenting "Contemporary Topics in Health Physics." Submitted photo
Bob Emery, CHP, DrPH, from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, presented a unique two-part PEP series titled "Contemporary Topics Affecting Radiation Safety Program Operations." The first session covered ethical decision making and its link to radiation safety culture and radiation safety's role in mitigating insider threat security risks. The second session addressed the promise and peril of "citizen science" and the ability to anticipate and adapt to change within an organization
Radiation in Flight
Joe Shonka, Shonka Research Associates
Joe Shonka discussing solar flares and their impact on aviation. Submitted photo
Joe Shonka presented the PEP "Radiation in Flight." The class went through the sources of radiation, doses from those sources, the lack of regulations in the United States, and epidemiology studies of aircrew and ended with discussions of what radiation protection is needed for aircrew. Today, one million people are living full-time at flight altitudes, and the collective dose each year is twice that of Chernobyl and is increasing each year. U.S. aircrews have exposures up to 10 times that of other radiation workers, yet air carriers are not subject to regulation. A flight from New York to Beijing results in 0.15 mSv exposure to galactic cosmic radiation, so assigned flight crew (including any pregnant crew) have exposures of 10 mSv per year from that source alone. Solar flares can produce radiation levels that are hundreds of times higher. These could impact thousands of flights. X rays from lightning are routinely detected by satellites 500 km away and can produce doses of 100 mSv, impacting those on board any single aircraft that was present.
Continuing Education Lectures
A Radiation Grassroots Response Group—Your Responsibility and How To
John C. White, VA North Texas Health Care System
John White presenting CEL-1. Photo courtesy of Janet Gutiérrez
In any major radiological event, national and even state resources can take some time to marshal and be effective. During that critical early period, it is essential that local responders have the ability to use equipment and contact subject-matter experts already present in the local area. In a major radiological incident of any type, radiation safety professionals will be a critical need. It is essential that the health physicist know the local responders and emergency managers and have a working relationship with those groups. It is also essential that an understanding of local resources is widespread, in order to bring the maximum capabilities to bear to reduce exposures and manage the response environment. The health physicist, a "radiation professional," must understand the current existing capabilities in the local area, know and have a personal relationship with the local response community, and know which state and federal personnel will bring additional resources into the area. The knowledge that health physicists have regarding radiation phenomena should include the significant secondary effects of electromagnetic pulse and solar storms on the entire electrical system, including power, communications, and equipment operation.
Weathering the Storm: Radiation Safety Experiences After Hurricane Harvey and Other Notable Past Storms That Impacted UTHealth in Houston, Texas
Janet Gutiérrez, University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston
Janet Guitiérrez presenting CEL-2. Submitted photo
Janet Gutiérrez, CHP, DrPH, presented her experiences at UTHealth from weathering the storms of Hurricane Harvey compared to the impact to UTHealth from Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. The presentation highlighted select infrastructure changes after the 2001 event and impacts to the medical school and cyclotron building, both recently and in 2001. Several audience members wanted to compare and contrast their experiences from major storms that affected their areas through the years as well. UTHealth was one of the many institutions impacted by the Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent storm in August of 2017.