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Current News

5 February 2016
Student Internship at NASA-Armstrong Flight Research Center

A student internship on laser safety is available at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)-Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFR) in Edwards, California.

The Laser Safety Program within the Occupational Health Office is in charge of providing the necessary safety information to personnel for the safe use of laser operations. This continuing and aggressive program for the control of hazards from lasers includes the safety evaluation of all laser operations under the purview of NASA-AFRC as well as the development and maintenance of a current inventory of all Classes 3b and 4 lasers or laser systems. Lasers at AFRC are used for plethora of science and engineering projects. These systems are in many cases are one of a kind and custom made. This internship provides students with the opportunity to enhance their knowledge in laser safety and provides hands-on experience, which is a critical requirement for those pursuing a career in this field.

See more information on the NASA internship website. The deadline to apply is 1 March 2016.

 

28 January 2016
University Program on Science Policy and Advocacy - 17–20 April 2016

A coalition of scientific and engineering societies, universities, and academic organizations has created an exciting opportunity for upper-class undergraduate and graduate students in science, mathematics, and engineering disciplines to learn about science policy and advocacy. The Catalyzing Advocacy for Science and Engineering (CASE) program is open to universities or professional scientific or engineering societies that would like to provide an opportunity for their students to come to Washington, DC, and learn about science policy.

Students who are selected by their institution to participate in the workshop will spend a few days learning about the structure and organization of Congress, the federal budget and appropriations process, and tools for effective science communication and civic engagement.

Sponsoring institutions may send one to two students and are responsible for a $125 registration fee per student, as well as all associated travel and lodging costs. For additional details about the CASE Workshop, go to http://www.aaas.org/case.

The deadline is 12 February 2016. Space is limited and is first-come, first-served.

 

5 January 2016
HPS Leadership Election Results

The Health Physics Society (HPS) election results are in. Elected to take office at the 2016 HPS Annual Meeting in Spokane, Washington, in July are:

President-elect: Eric Abelquist
Secretary-elect: Karen Langley
Directors: John Cardarelli, Jason Harris, and Tara Medich

 

4 January 2016
Operational Radiation Safety (ORS) - Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Operational Radiation Safety (ORS) is where the real work of protection gets described. ORS isn't theoretical or research; it's about how to get the work done and be protective of the potential hazards of ionizing and nonionizing radiation. 

Over the years we've had papers on: 

  • How to plan the salvaging of a therapeutic source.
  • What to do if the iodine radiotherapy patient dies.
  • What it was like being in Kiev during the Chernobyl event.
  • Better methods to delineate natural radionuclides prior to building an in situ recovery facility.
  • Many other operational topics.

Sound interesting? You can look these up on the search engine.

Want to contribute your own short description of "how we do it better than before?" Go to our website and add your story.

If you need help, contact Craig Little.

 

30 December 2015
Fukushima Releases: The Truth

Recently, a number of websites have reported grossly false information regarding radioactive releases during the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. Here are the key facts that refute those claims.

The erroneous information cites a recently “declassified report”:

The claim is that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) “declassified” documents about Fukushima in December 2015. The truth is that the documents were requested through the Freedom of Information Act and were provided in May 2012, and more documents were provided in March 2014. None of these documents were ever “classified” in the legal sense.

The erroneous information claims that the report says “25% of the total fuel in unit 2 . . . , 50% of the total spent fuel from unit 3 . . . , and 100% of the total spent fuel . . . from unit 4” was released to the atmosphere:

Yes, these are the hypothetical releases that were evaluated in an attempt to understand the worst possible situation. No, these are not the amounts that were released from the reactors or spent fuel rods.

 The truth is that there was a high degree of uncertainty regarding actual releases early in the accident and continuing for several weeks. As a result, the NRC asked the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC) to provide dose estimates for two or more hypothetical scenarios to set bounds on the potential protective actions that might be taken.

 The NRC documents clearly identify those percentages as a hypothetical bounding case, which they asked NARAC to consider. The hypothetical releases were described as a “worst-case scenario” and “realistic worst case.” The NARAC report clearly states the scenario was hypothetical, and the documents also state “There is no evidence this scenario has occurred.”

Read the truth for yourself. These are the notes provided by the NRC on 8 May 2012 and 7 March 2014.

What was released?

Actual (not hypothetical) data show that ultimately there was major fuel damage in Units 1, 2, and 3 reactor cores. Through about mid-March of 2011, releases from these cores were primarily volatile fission products released to air, as well as some soluble fission products released to water. There has been no evidence of releases from any of the on-site spent fuel pools (http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/fukushima-accident/). The total release from the Fukushima accident was about 10-15% that of Chernobyl, though by element, the iodine release was less than 25% and the cesium release was less than 45% of the Chernobyl releases (http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/AdditionalVolumes/P1710/Pub1710-TV1-Web.pdf).

Want more true facts about the Fukushima accident?

Check out the reputable resources listed on the Health Physics Society’s website at http://hps.org/fukushima/.

Barbara Hamrick, CHP, JD

 

30 December 2015
DOE Undergraduate Scholarships and Graduate Fellowships

The Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy has announced two new Requests for Applications for the Integrated University Program, seeking applicants for undergraduate scholarships and graduate-level fellowships in nuclear energy-related fields.

Scholarships are $7,500 for one year. The maximum award for a fellowship is $50,000 per year for three years, with an additional one-time $5,000 allotment to fund a minimum 10-week internship at DOE, a DOE national laboratory, or other designated facility.

Applications are due on 10 February 2016 and must be submitted using the online submittal system found at NEUP.gov. DOE intends to notify award recipients in spring 2016.

 

26 December 2015
Public Comment Request Regarding Siting for Nuclear Waste Storage and Disposal Facilities

The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that it is implementing a consent-based siting process to establish an integrated waste-management system to transport, store, and dispose of commercial spent nuclear fuel and high-level defense radioactive waste. In a consent-based siting approach, DOE will work with communities, tribal governments, and states across the country that express interest in hosting any of the facilities identified as part of an integrated waste-management system.

As part of this process, DOE wants public input on implementing this system. In order to solicit public feedback, DOE has submitted an Invitation for Public Comment (IPC). Through this IPC, communities, states, tribes, and other interested stakeholders are asked for feedback on how to design a consent-based siting process. In addition, DOE intends to host a series of public meetings to engage communities and discuss the development of a consent-based approach to managing our nation's nuclear waste.

Written comments will be accepted through 15 June 2016. Separate announcements will be made for each public meeting. More information is available on the DOE website.

 

17 December 2015
National Terrorism Advisory System

In 2011 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) replaced the color-coded alerts of the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) with the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS), designed to more effectively communicate information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the American public.

It recognizes that Americans all share responsibility for the nation's security and should always be aware of the heightened risk of terrorist attack in the United States and of what they should do.

A workplace poster and an FAQ page are available. The NTAS posts alerts on Facebook and Twitter. Currently there is one bulletin in effect.

 

15 December 2015
Gillenwalters Is U.S. Nominee for IRPA Young Professionals Award
Health Physics Society Board Member Elizabeth Gillenwalters is one of 20 international nominees chosen by the Organizing Committee for the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA) Young Professionals Award. This award is to be given based on presentations the nominees will make at the upcoming IRPA 14 Congress, 9–13 May 2016, in Cape Town, South Africa. 

 

14 December 2015
Robert Brent, MD, PhD, Receives Honor for Life of Achievement

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the National Academy of Medicine bestowed an honor for a life of achievement to Robert Brent, MD, PhD, who has volunteered inumerable hours to the Health Physics Society (HPS) answering questions from women about radiation and its effect on the fetus.

For more than 60 years, Brent has provided free consultations to women who were pregnant or who wanted to become pregnant and were concerned about risks from radiation. Many had been told by their doctors to abort. At first, they contacted him by mail or telephone. These days, they find him through the "Ask the Experts" feature of the HPS websiteRead more here.

The 2015 Gustav O. Lienhard Award was presented to Brent, head of the Developmental Biology Lab, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children and Louis and Bess Stein Professor of Pediatrics, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University. The award from the RWJF, administered through the National Academy of Medicine, was presented at the Academy's annual meeting held in Washington, DC, in October. It is accompanied by a medal and $40,000.

The Lienhard Award honors outstanding achievement in improving personal health care services in the United States. Each year, an honoree is chosen whose work reflects the values and commitment of Lienhard, who served as chair of RWJF's board of trustees from 1971 to 1986, a period in which the RWJF emerged as a national leader in philanthropy in health care. Nominees are judged on the basis of their achievements, the impact of their work, and their success in overcoming barriers to change the health care system.

Brent is a world-renowned expert on the effects of radiation on the human embryo and in the causes and prevention of congenital malformations. "Robert Brent has made outstanding contributions to personal health care services in this nation, both through his ground-breaking research on the level of risk posed by radiation and through his capacity to communicate those risks compassionately to patients," said Victor J. Dzau, president of the National Academy of Medicine. "His work has touched the lives of countless women and their families for nearly 60 years and has led to truly historic changes in the way women are counseled about risks to the unborn child."

Read more here.

 

9 December 2015
2016 Nuclear Chemistry Summer Schools for Undergraduates

The Department of Energy is providing funding for the 2016 Nuclear Chemistry Summer Schools.

Academic programs are invited to identify outstanding undergraduates who might be interested in, and qualified for, the American Chemical Society (ACS)-sponsored Nuclear and Radiochemistry Summer School Program. We will need your help as there is a significantly compressed recruiting period compared to previous years.

The program organizers are interested in attracting curious and highly motivated students with strong science backgrounds. If selected, these students receive an all-expense-paid opportunity to complete a six-week summer course in nuclear and radiochemistry in either California or New York. They also earn hours (tuition paid) of undergraduate chemistry credit through either San Jose State University or the State University of New York-Stony Brook. Selected students also receive a stipend of $4,000.

The application procedure, background information, and an online application form can be found on the Chemistry page of the University of Missouri website.

The deadline for applications is 1 February 2016. Please distribute this announcement to undergraduate students and encourage them to consider this unique opportunity! If you have any questions about this program, contact J. David Robertson, phone: 573-882-5346.

 

23 November 2015
Public Health Emergency Operations Center Document Published by WHO

The World Health Organization has published a new document, Framework for a Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC framework). This document is intended to be used by practitioners of public health, health policy makers, and authorities and agencies responsible for managing emergencies, incidents, or events where the health of populations is at risk. It provides high-level methodical guidance for designing, developing, and strengthening of public health emergency operations centres.

 

16 November 2015
NRC Requests Information on Radioiodine Patient Therapy

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is requesting information from the general public on a number of issues associated with medical treatment of patients with sodium iodide 131I (hereafter referred to as 131I). Specifically, the NRC would like input on patient concerns about medical treatment involving the use of 131I, information that physicians use to make decisions on when it is safe to release 131I patients based on radiation exposure concerns, radiation safety information used by 131I patients after their release, and the availability of a radiation safety informational guidance brochure for 131I patients that can be distributed nationwide. The information collected will be used to develop a website to provide patients with clear and consistent information about radioactive iodine treatments and to revise NRC patient release guidance.

Submit information and comments by 16 February 2016.

 

31 October 2015
New Internships Web Page in the Students Area

There is a new page on the Students area of the Health Physics Society website called Internships. There are a number of internships listed with deadlines in November 2015. Check out the Internship web page.

Argonne National Laboratory Internship

Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) will be sponsoring a one-year internship in 2016 focused on a radon awareness program in the International Atomic Energy Agency's Radiation Safety and Monitoring Section.

To be eligible, interested students must have completed at least two years of undergraduate studies and be a U.S. citizen. Recent graduates are eligible up to two years after obtaining their last degree (bachelor's, master's, PhD). There is no age limit.

Complete details, including how to apply, are posted on the internship page of ANL's website. The deadline for applications is 15 November 2015 and the internship is scheduled to start in June 2016.

International Atomic Energy Agency Internships

See the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Internships web page for more opportunities.

HPS Medical Health Physics Section

The Medical Health Physics Section of the Health Physics Society (HPS) is looking for student volunteers on a short-term research project titled "Radiation Safety Guidance for Death of Patients Containing Sealed or Unsealed Therapy Sources."

This is a great opportunity for students who are interested in becoming a radiation safety officer in a medical facility. The results will be presented at the next HPS annual meeting with possible travel award/distinctions too.

If interested, send your resume/CV to our health physics volunteer lead, Thuquynh Dinh, by noon of 6 November 2015. She will forward the resumes to the Medical Health Physics Section for the final selection.

 

27 October 2015
Calling All Students: Free HPS Membership After Graduation!

Student members who upgrade their student membership to an associate or full Health Physics Society (HPS) membership now have a chance to win one year of FREE membership! Twice a year (January and June), one individual who upgraded his or her membership will be randomly selected to receive one year of free membership in the HPS after graduation. The first drawing will occur in January 2016. This drawing is intended to assist health physics professionals who are just starting out in their careers.

For the chance to receive a free year of membership dues, upgrade your student membership today!

 

15 April 2015
Website for Next Year's Annual Meeting in Spokane

Next year's Local Arrangements Committee is already working on the 61st Annual Meeting of the Health Physics Society, which will be held 17–21 July 2016 in Spokane, Washington.

The committee has set up a website that is full of information on things for you and your family to do in your free time. More information will be added as plans are confirmed. Plan to attend the meeting and to enjoy the local area.

 

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