The California Department of Public Health in emergency preparedness has launched a new project to recruit health physicists and other radiation professionals to join the California Disaster Healthcare Volunteers Program. This program is essential to California's preparedness for all hazards.
Currently, there are very few radiation-related professionals in the program. A few more are needed to serve as technical disaster service workers in the case of a large-scale radiological emergency. For example, radiation emergency volunteers could be deployed to assist local public health departments in the screening and decontamination of evacuees after a large radiological incident.
More information can be found on the Disaster Healthcare Volunteers website.
Abstract submission deadline is extended until 15 November 2016.
In response to requests, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a free online training program of five modules to better equip poison center (PC) staff to serve the public during radiological emergencies.
The mission of the CDC is to protect America from health, safety, and security threats, both foreign and in the United States. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, the CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens in doing the same.
As part of this mission, the CDC works with PC professionals who receive calls from the public asking for information or guidance about exposure to a wide array of harmful substances. Radiation-related calls are not as frequent, so specialists have fewer opportunities to exercise and maintain their knowledge. PC professionals may benefit from training that enables them to better discuss topics like ionizing radiation exposure, radiological contamination issues, and medical countermeasures for radiation-related illness.
The CDC radiation training program is free and consists of self-led modules that offer user-friendly language, audio and video presentations, charts, and other graphics. CEU, CME, CPE, and CNE continuing education units are available upon successful completion.
This training may also be of interest to other public health professionals. For questions, contact HSBradtraining@cdc.gov. To access the training, go to the radiation training page of the CDC website.
Draft guidance has been issued that describes a proposed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) policy regarding the regulation of medical x-ray imaging equipment that is subject to requirements in the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and FDA's regulations that apply to medical devices and electronic products. In this draft guidance, FDA is seeking to harmonize performance standards prescribed pursuant to section 534 of Subchapter C (Electronic Product Radiation Control [EPRC]) of the FD&C Act with International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards, where appropriate, to help to ensure streamlined regulatory review of submissions for these products.
The draft guidance also provides recommendations to industry on how to comply with the applicable requirements. FDA believes industry conformance to certain IEC standards would provide the same level of or improved protection of the public health and safety from electronic radiation as certain EPRC regulatory standards. The FDA also believes conformance to certain IEC standards would be sufficient to meet the 510(k) premarket notification requirement for certain devices. An FDA review of related radiological health and safety data in premarket submissions, as opposed to EPRC product reports, would maintain or improve device safety while consolidating the information manufacturers submit to FDA.
The FDA's guidance documents, including this guidance, do not establish legally enforceable responsibilities. Instead, guidance describes the agency's current thinking on a topic and should be viewed only as recommendations, unless specific regulatory or statutory requirements are cited.
Comments and suggestions regarding this draft document should be submitted within 90 days of the 3 August 2016 publication in the Federal Register of the notice announcing the availability of the draft guidance. Submit electronic comments on the regulations.gov website. Submit written comments to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Identify all comments with the Docket No. FDA-2016-D-2049.
The Horinko Group announces the release of its latest report, "Nuclear Power and the Clean Energy Future," which describes the amount of greenhouse gases that would be created to replace lost nuclear power plants being decommissioned. Current nuclear power plants collectively prevent over 500 million tons of CO2 emissions annually.
The study was done at the request of Nuclear Matters, the mission of which is to "inform the public about the clear benefits that nuclear energy provides to our nation, raise awareness of the economic challenges to nuclear energy that threaten those benefits, and to work with stakeholders to explore possible policy solutions that properly value nuclear energy as a reliable, affordable and carbon-free electricity resource that is essential to America's energy future." Its leadership council includes:
- Judd Gregg (chair): former U.S. senator and former governor of New Hampshire.
- Carol M. Browner: former Environmental Protection Agency administrator and former director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy.
- Lonnie Stephenson: president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
- Sean McGarvey: president of the North America's Building Trades Unions.
- David Wright: former president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and chairman of the South Carolina Public Service Commission.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that it has issued Revision 2 to NUREG–1556, Volumes 1 and 3, and Revision 1 to NUREG–1556, Volumes 2, 4, 10, 15, and 19, revising licensing guidance for various materials licenses. These documents have been updated to include information on updated regulatory requirements, safety culture, security of radioactive materials, protection of sensitive information, and changes in regulatory policies and practices. The documents are intended for use by applicants, licensees, and the NRC staff.
Topics are as follows:
- Volume 1 - Portable gauges
- Volume 2 - Industrial radiography
- Volume 3 - Sealed sources and devices
- Volume 4 - Fixed gauges
- Volume 10 - Master material licenses
- Volume 15 - Changes of control and bankruptcy
- Volume 19 - Reciprocity
These NUREG–1556 volumes are available on the NRC's public website on the Consolidated Guidance About Materials Licenses (NUREG-1556) page.
The 2017 Health Physics Society (HPS) Midyear Meeting will be held in the thriving urban district of Bethesda, Maryland. Bethesda is brimming with nearly 200 restaurants, two live theatres, 20 art galleries, and some of the best shopping in the Washington, DC, metro area. Bethesda is also the home of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Bethesda Naval Hospital (Bethesda Naval Medical Center), and the National Institutes of Health. The midyear meeting will not be a topical meeting, so we are strongly soliciting the full spectrum of radiation protection specialties. All are welcome to come to share their world to make this a wonderful midyear session!
Contributed abstracts are requested for sessions on the following topics:
- Emergency Planning/Response
- External Dosimetry
- Homeland Security
- Internal Dosimetry and Bioassay
- Medical Physics
- Military Health Physics
- Operational Health Physics
- Reactor Health Physics
- Regulatory/Legal Issues
- Risk Analysis
- Other Special Session (specify)
Submit your abstract (including special session abstracts!) through the HPS website. The deadline for submitting abstracts is 12 September 2016.
Full presentations/posters can be submitted later. Submittal and presentation guidelines can be found in the Meetings section of the HPS website.
Bethesda North Marriott Hotel
HPS Group Rates start at $169 per night. Book your room reservation at https://aws.passkey.com/event/14767364/owner/2644099/home.
In the September issue of Health Physics News, our cover story deals with the reality of academic health physics programs in the United States. Buckle your seat belts—it is a rough ride!
Bob Cherry is now our president and provides us with the first of his monthly messages. Among other things, he is going to be focused on governance issues and has provided some food for thought on that topic. Bob seeks input and guidance from the members and Society leaders on the proper course of action.
Our treasurer, Mike Lewandowski, tells us that we had a financially challenging year in 2015 and need to take appropriate steps to avoid any similar setbacks in 2016 or future years.
Elsewhere in this issue you will find an abundance of useful information, including:
- John Boice reaching a milestone—his 50th report, this one providing an overview of the 63rd meeting of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.
- Andy Karam reporting on an "old book" whose message is still valid in these days of homeland security worries about nuclear devices.
- Joe Bevelacqua, one of our more prolific authors, publishing a new book titled Health Physics: Radiation-Generating Devices, Characteristics, and Hazards.
- Chapter news from the New England and Baltimore Washington Chapters.
- Our very active Military Health Physics Section providing citations for the section's 2016 awards recognizing exceptional achievements by three section members and the Medical Health Physics Section reporting on its recent activities.
- David Connolly discussing federal agency actions dealing with government-imposed restrictions on scientific meeting attendance.
- The CHP Corner bringing us up to date on what occurred during the 2016 HPS Annual Meeting, who the new leaders are, and a big thank-you to those who completed their service to the Academy in 2016.
Click here to access the current issue of Health Physics News. Alternatively, you may click here to go to the HPS website newsletter page (from which you may access this or any of the past issues of Health Physics News). We always appreciate reader feedback, so please contact me, Howard Dickson, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Health Physics Society (HPS) Membership Survey on Future Directions has been completed by the Task Force on Future Directions. The results can be found on the HPS Members Only website, on the top of the Publications page. Over 800 members responded to the survey and shared their views on the topics. The results have been reviewed by the HPS Board. The Task Force on Future Directions will continue to review all the suggestions and provide exceptional ones to the Executive Committee for possible inclusion in an update of the HPS Strategic Plan 2020 (Members Only website under Organization, then Operations).
Nancy Kirner stated in the August issue of Health Physics News (Members Only website under Publications):
The Executive Committee was tasked to draft a strategic plan by the midyear meeting in North Bethesda, Maryland, 22–25 January 2017. Strategic plans identify the organization’s current state and the desired state at some specific point in the future. Strategic plans set long-term objectives and define short-term activities to reach those objectives. Strategic plans implement the organization’s purpose (mission) and vision. I expect that we will be bridging to and modifying our HPS 2020. I would also expect that by next spring, during the budget cycle, the committees will be asked to develop SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) goals that implement the updated strategic plan.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued Revision 2 to Regulatory Guide (RG) 8.10, "Operating Philosophy for Maintaining Occupational Radiation Exposures as Low as Is Reasonably Achievable." This revision describes methods and procedures that the NRC staff considers acceptable for maintaining radiation exposures to employees and the public as low as is reasonably achievable (ALARA). Revision 2 of RG 8.10 was issued with a temporary identification of Draft Regulatory Guide, DG-8033. Revision 2 addresses changes identified since Revision 1 was issued in September 1975 (the NRC issued Revision 1-R in May 1977).
In 1991 the NRC promulgated amendments to part 20 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) (56 FR 23360; 21 May 1991). The 1991 rulemaking included substantive amendments to 10 CFR Part 20 as well as a renumbering of those regulations. As such, this revision to the regulatory guide aligns with the regulatory structure of current 10 CFR Part 20 by updating the regulatory guide's 10 CFR Part 20 cross-references.
In addition, this revision includes additional guidance from operating ALARA experience since 1975. It provides more details describing management responsibilities to ensure commitment to ALARA.
Many radiation safety professionals are in need of professional liability insurance. As a leading U.S. insurance broker, Alliant Insurance Services offers sophisticated risk-management advice and insurance placement for property and casualty and employee benefits risks. Insurance provides coverage for middle-market commercial companies, nonprofits, public entities, and individuals and has access to all major insurance markets. Alliant is ranked in the top 15 insurance brokers in the country.
The Health Physics Society is not endorsing this company, but sharing information that it has received from other scientific societies in the United States.
Health Physics students, here's your opportunity to publish your work free of page charges in the journals Health Physics and Operational Radiation Safety. Mike Ryan, editor of Health Physics, and Craig Little, editor of Operational Radiation Safety, are always looking for ways to encourage students to submit papers for publication. An objection that we sometimes hear is that students have no funds to pay for published page charges. While the page charges of the Health Physics Society's (HPS) journals are modest at $70 per published page, that amount is still sometimes an obstacle. Therefore, for the next year, from 1 July 2016 through 30 June 2017, we are offering to publish papers written by students free of page charges.
To qualify for publication without page charges, the paper must be submitted to one of the journals via the Editorial Manager website before the student author graduates. The student's academic advisor must verify the student's status. Additionally, the student must be the senior and corresponding author of the paper. Finally, since color figures are expensive to produce, there will be a charge for such figures at the rate published in the author guidelines on the Editorial Manager website.
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.”
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