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Current News

24 November 2014
Annual Meeting Call for Papers

The call for papers and abstract submittal for the Health Physics Society 60th Annual Meeting, 12-16 July 2015, in Indianapolis, IN, is available online.

The abstract submittal information on the webpage is also available in PDF format: HPS - 2015 Call for Papers - Indianapolis.pdf  The abstract due date is 7 February 2015.

Any questions should be sent to the Program Committee Task Force Chair: Mike Mahathy at HPSProgram@burkinc.com.

 

20 November 2014
NRC Seeks Public Comment on Potential Changes to Radiation Protection Regulations

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is seeking public comment as the staff begins to consider possible changes to radiation protection standards 10 CFR 20.

The agency's radiation protection regulations traditionally have aligned closely with those used internationally, which are issued by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). The ICRP has made changes since the NRC's last update in 1991. The NRC staff has identified six policy and technical issues to be addressed as it begins to develop the technical basis for proposing changes. The request for comment, published in the 25 July 2015 Federal Register, asked for input on these issues.

The comment period has been extended until 24 March 2015.

The NRC has posted material related to the proposed rulemaking on the Federal e-Rulemaking portal at regulations.gov under Docket ID NRC-2009-0279. Comments may be submitted on that website; by email to Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov; by mail to Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff; or by fax to Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 301-415-1101.

 

14 November 2014
IRPA Bulletin No. 3 Issued - Includes Ethics Workshops Updates

The International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA) has issued IRPA Bulletin No. 3, dated September 2014, which tells of current events, including the ethics workshops that have been held and their results.

The bulletin will be available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Japanese, and Spanish when all translations are complete.

 

10 November 2014
ASSE Scholarships and Grants - Deadline 1 December 2014

In 2015 the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Foundation will award more than $275,000 to occupational safety and health (OS&H) students and professionals through its scholarships and grants program.

The ASSE Foundation exists to provide programs that advance the safety profession because safety matters—for workers, for families, and for the future of our world. The awards are for students majoring in occupational safety, health, and the environment.

If students' degrees are not OS&H degrees, it is their responsibility to make the case in their student narrative for why their studies are relevant to the ASSE mission of guiding the safety profession forward.

Review the Frequently Asked Questions before filling out the application. Applicants will be required to:

  • Submit transcripts from every university they have attended.
  • Provide an academic letter of recommendation.
  • Fill out a short answer section.
  • Have a 3.0 undergraduate GPA and (if applicable) a 3.5 graduate GPA.

The deadline for submitting the application is 1 December 2014 by 11:30 p.m.

All applications will be reviewed by the ASSE Foundation Scholarship Award & Selection Committee. Award recipient will be notified and announced on the ASSE Foundation's website in April 2015. There is more information on the program on the ASSE Foundation website.

 

3 November 2014
Chapter and Section Website Information

Have you looked at your Health Physics Society (HPS) chapter or section website lately? Is it up to date? Does it need a new look?

Chapter and section websites are the responsibility of each individual chapter and section. The primary website server provided by the Society for chapters and sections is http://hpschapters.org/. If your chapter or section has a website on this server and you need help with your site, or if you want to inquire about establishing a new website on this server, contact the server webmaster, Ruediger (Ruedi) Birenheide. The Society expects that all chapter and section websites are kept up to date and have a professional look. There is no cost to chapters or sections to use the server or Ruedi's services.

Ruedi is assisted by HPS member Thomas P. Johnston, who volunteers his time and helps with the design and maintenance of chapter websites.

All chapters and sections need to assign a member to be their webmaster who can either have access to their website to make changes or provide information to Ruedi or Thomas to make updates. Contact Ruediger (Ruedi) Birenheide with any questions or Thomas P. Johnston if you would like his assistance.

 

31 October 2014
NAS Fukushima Lessons Learned Report Available in Print and PDF

Lessons Learned From the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety and Security of U.S. Nuclear Plants is a study of the Fukushima Daiichi accident by the National Academies of Science (NAS). This report examines the causes of the crisis, the performance of safety systems at the plant, and the responses of its operators following the earthquake and tsunami. The report then considers the lessons that can be learned and their implications for U.S. safety and storage of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste, commercial nuclear reactor safety and security regulations, and design improvements. 

Lessons Learned makes recommendations to improve plant systems, resources, and operator training to enable effective ad hoc responses to severe accidents. This report's recommendations to incorporate modern risk concepts into safety regulations and improve the nuclear safety culture will help the industry prepare for events that could challenge the design of plant structures and lead to a loss of critical safety functions. The report is available in print for $79.95 or free PDF download.

Health Physics Society President Barbara Hamrick is one of the authors of the report.

 

31 October 2014
ACMUI Nominations Needed

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is advertising for nominations for the position of radiation therapy medical physicist on the Advisory Committee on the Medical Uses of Isotopes (ACMUI).  

Nominations are due on or before 13 January 2015. Interested parties should submit an electronic copy of their résumé or curriculum vitae to Sophie Holiday at Sophie.Holiday@nrc.gov

The résumé or curriculum vitae should include the following information, if applicable: education, certification, professional association membership and committee membership activities, and duties and responsibilities in current and previous clinical, research, and/or academic position(s).

A full announcement from the Federal Register is at gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-10-30/pdf/2014-25851.pdf.

 

30 October 2014
NEI Petitions NRC on 10 CFR 37

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) has submitted a rulemaking petition requesting that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) amend its regulations in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 37, specifically regarding category 1 and 2 quantities of radioactive materials to remove "unnecessary and burdensome requirements on licensees with established physical security systems."

10 CFR 37 was promulgated by NRC to regulate byproduct material that could by used to make a dirty bomb. The NRC has determined that the petition meets the threshold sufficiency requirements for a petition for rulemaking under § 2.802 of Title 10, "Petition for rulemaking," and the petition has been docketed as PRM–37–1.

The main areas of 10 CFR 37 include:
  • Background investigations and access control programs, setting trustworthiness and reliability (T&R) requirements for persons granted unescorted access to radioactive material in quantities of concern.

  • Physical protection requirements during use, requiring licensees to establish a written security program, coordinate with local law enforcement, and be able to monitor, detect, and assess theft of radioactive material.

  • Physical protection in transit, requiring transporters of radioactive material to follow certain procedures.

    The petition may be viewed at regulations.gov—search for Docket ID NRC–2014–0172.

 

27 October 2014
DOE High-Level Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel Disposal Report

The Department of Energy (DOE) has released the report "Assessment of Disposal Options for DOE-Managed High-Level Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel." The assessment considers whether DOE-managed high-level waste (HLW) and spent nuclear fuel (SNF) should be disposed of together with commercial HLW and SNF in one geologic repository, or whether there are advantages to developing separate geologic disposal pathways for some DOE-managed HLW and SNF.

Results of the assessment indicate that it is technically feasible to have multiple disposal options that can potentially provide necessary safe, long-term isolation and that there are advantages to a strategy that allows some DOE HLW and SNF to be disposed of separately from the commercial HLW and SNF. The report recommends that the DOE begin implementation of a phased, adaptive, and consent-based strategy with development of a separate mined repository for some DOE-managed HLW and cooler DOE-managed SNF.

 

21 October 2014
NRC Chairman Allison M. Macfarlane Announces Decision to Leave NRC

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Allison M. Macfarlane announced 21 October 2014 that she will leave the NRC effective 1 January 2015 to take a position at George Washington University.

Macfarlane, the 15th person to serve as the agency's chairman, was nominated by President Barack Obama to complete the last year of Dr. Gregory Jaczko's term as chair. After the Senate confirmed her, she took over as chair in July 2012. President Obama nominated her for a second term as chair and, in June 2013, she was confirmed to a five-year term ending 30 June 2018.

The press release quoted Mcfarlane in part: "I came to the Commission with the mission of righting the ship after a tumultuous period for the Commission, and ensuring that the agency implemented lessons learned from the tragic accident at Fukushima Daiichi, so that the American people can be confident that such an accident will never take place here. With these key objectives accomplished, I am now returning to academia as Director of the Center for International Science and Technology Policy at George Washington University. At George Washington, I will continue to work on nuclear safety and security and for a better public dialogue on nuclear technology through my teaching and writing as well as by training a new generation of specialists in this area."

The NRC press release contains additional information.

 

12 October 2014
The Image Gently Alliance Will Meet at RSNA

The Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging (the Image Gently Alliance) will meet at the Radiological Society of North America annual meeting (RSNA 2014) in Chicago on Monday, 1 December, 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. (CST). The meeting room will be listed in the program.

The Image Gently Alliance will also host a booth at RSNA 2014 and is calling for volunteers to help staff the booth. Anyone attending RSNA who has an hour or two to spare during the exhibition hours should contact Image Gently Administrative Director Shaniece Rigans, 703-476-3235.

The mission of the Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging is to improve the safety and effectiveness of the imaging care of children worldwide. This is achieved through increased awareness of, education about, and advocacy on the need for the appropriate examination and amount of radiation dose when imaging children. The ultimate goal of the Image Gently Alliance is to change practice locally to improve the health and safety of the child. The Image Gently website provides information for parents and medical professionals (now including dental professionals).

 

9 October 2014
Revised Regulatory Guide 3.5 on Fuel Storage

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued a revision to Regulatory Guide (RG) 3.50, "Standard Format and Content for a License Application for an Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation or a Monitored Retrievable Storage Facility."

Revision 2 of RG 3.50 provides a format that the NRC considers acceptable for submitting the information for license applications to store spent nuclear fuel, high-level radioactive waste, and/or reactor-related Greater Than Class C (GTCC) waste. Part 72 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), "Licensing Requirements for the Independent Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel, High-Level Radioactive Waste, and Reactor-Related Greater Than Class C Waste" Subpart B,  "License Application, Form, and Contents," specifies the information that must be in an application for a license to store spent nuclear fuel, high-level radioactive waste, and/or power reactor-related GTCC waste in an independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI) or in a monitored retrievable storage (MRS) facility.

 

8 October 2014
Comment on Draft Regulatory Guide, Applications of Bioassay for Uranium

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing for public comment draft regulatory guide (DG), DG–8054, "Applications of Bioassay for Uranium." This guidance provides acceptable guidance for NRC licensees, for the development and implementation of a bioassay program that will monitor the intake of mixtures of the naturally occurring isotopes of uranium (234U, 235U, and 238U) by occupational workers. A bioassay is a determination of the kind, quantity, location, or retention of radionuclides in the body by direct (in vivo) measurement or by indirect (in vitro) analysis of material excreted or removed from the body.

Comments must be submitted by 5 December 2014. Comments received after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC is able to ensure consideration only for comments received by the submittal deadline.

Review and comment on the document at the NRC website. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher (phone: 301–287–3422, email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov). For technical questions, contact Harriet Karagiannis (phone: 301–251–7477, email: harriet.karagiannis@nrc.gov) or Casper Sun (phone: 301–251–7912, email: casper.sun@nrc.gov). Mail comments to Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: 3WFN–06–A44M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001.

When commenting, include Docket ID NRC–2014–0210 in the subject line of your comment submission to ensure that the NRC is able to make your comment submission available to the public in this docket. The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your comment submission.

 

24 September 2014
Image Gently Campaign Expands to Dentistry: Urges Dental Professionals to Child-Size Radiation Dose

The Image Gently campaign (The Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging) has developed online educational and scientific materials to help dental professionals optimize radiation dose used in imaging exams performed on children. Image Gently has also produced downloadable materials to help parents ask more informed questions of their dental providers whenever scans are recommended for their children.

Charles H. Norman III, DDS, president of the American Dental Association (ADA), said: "Dentists use x rays to diagnose disease or damage that isn't visible during an exam. Children may require x rays as an adjunct aid to diagnose dental decay or to assess growth and development for orthodontic treatment. It's important for dentists and parents to have meaningful conversations about children's x rays. I'm pleased that the ADA is part of the Image Gently Alliance, whose goals align with the ALARA or 'as low as reasonably achievable' principle, which the ADA has long advocated."

Imaging can serve an important role in improved dental health. However, children are in general more sensitive to radiation than adults. As such, healthcare providers should reduce radiation dose used in children's imaging and avoid unwarranted imaging. When dental imaging procedures are considered, dental providers are urged to:

  • Select x rays for individual needs, not as a routine. Use x rays only when essential for diagnosis and treatment—based on a review of the patients and their dental history.
  • Use the fastest image receptor available. When film x ray is used, select "E" or "F" speed. Set exposure parameters as low as possible for diagnostic digital imaging.
  • Use cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) only when necessary. CBCT should be restricted in children to cases in which it is essential for diagnosis and treatment planning.
  • Collimate beam to area of interest. For intraoral x rays, collimation should be rectangular to match recording area of detector. For extraoral x rays, including CBCT, restrict beam to the area needed for diagnosis.
  • Always use thyroid shield. The thyroid gland in children is particularly sensitive to radiation. Use of a properly positioned shield significantly reduces the dose to the thyroid.
  • Child-size the exposure time. Less exposure time is needed for children as oral structures are smaller than in adults.

    Healthcare providers are urged to visit the Image Gently website and pledge to do their part to "child-size" the radiation dose used in children's imaging.

     

     

    9 September 2014
    NRC Strategic Plan for 2014–2018

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued a new strategic plan covering fiscal years 2014–2018. It provides a blueprint for the agency to plan, implement, and monitor the work needed to achieve the NRC's mission for the next four years.

    The NRC's mission is to license and regulate the civilian use of radioactive materials to protect public health and safety, promote the common defense and security, and protect the environment. To accomplish this mission, the agency set two strategic goals: to ensure the safe use and to ensure the secure use of radioactive materials. The mission and strategic goals have been revised to highlight the agency's focus on the safe and secure use of radioactive materials.

    To reflect principles of good regulation, the plan includes a new vision statement:  A trusted, independent, transparent, and effective nuclear regulator. The plan also sets new strategic objectives that describe what is needed to achieve the agency's strategic goals.

    The current and historical strategic plans can be found on the NRC's website.

     

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