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Current News

6 March 2015
Nominations for Envrionmental/Radon Section

The Environmental/Radon section is seeking nominations for President-elect, Secretary-Treasurer, and Board Member. Section members may nominate themselves or another section member. Please contact Pat Scofield (scofieldpa@ornl.gov) or Doug Chambers (dchambers@senes.ca) with any nominations.

If you aren't a member, maybe you should consider joining. The fee for Health Physics Society Members is a very reasonable $5. You can check out their website.  http://hpschapters.org/sections/envrad/index.html

 

3 March 2015
New IAEA Reports

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has published three new reports that are available for free download on the IAEA website.

Schedules of Provisions of the IAEA Regulations for the Safe Transport of Radioactive Material, 2012 Edition, IAEA Safety Standards Series No. SSG-33

This Safety Guide aims to aid users of radioactive material and regulators by providing a listing of relevant requirements of the regulations (IAEA Safety Standards Series No. SSR 6) as applicable to the type of radioactive material, package or shipment. Once a consignor has properly classified the radioactive material to be shipped (following the recommendations provided in Section 2 and Fig. 1 of the Safety Guide), the appropriate United Nations (UN) number can be assigned and the paragraph numbers of specific requirements for shipment can be found in the corresponding schedule.

Yttrium-90 and Rhenium-188 Radiopharmaceuticals for Radionuclide Therapy, IAEA Radioisotopes and Radiopharmaceuticals Series No. 5

A key requirement for the effective implementation of the therapeutic approach, based on the intravenous administration of radiolabelled compounds (radionuclide therapy), is the sufficient availability of radionuclides with appropriate physical characteristics. Based on their nuclear properties, 188Re and 90Y are considered among the most interesting radionuclides for therapy. Furthermore, they are produced through portable generators, which provide a crucial advantage toward ensuring a worldwide distribution of these radionuclides.

This publication illustrates recent studies aimed at investigating efficient quality-control methods to ensure both the radionuclidic purity of generator eluates and the proper preparation of new target-specific 188Re and 90Y radiopharmaceuticals for various clinical applications.

Feasibility of Producing Molybdenum-99 on a Small Scale Using Fission of Low Enriched Uranium or Neutron Activation of Natural Molybdenum, Technical Reports Series No. 478

This publication documents the work performed within the IAEA coordinated research project (CRP) on developing techniques for small-scale indigenous 99Mo production using low enriched uranium (LEU) fission or neutron activation. The CRP enabled participating institutions to gain the knowledge necessary for indigenous 99Mo production. The outcome serves to capture the steps participants undertook in examining the feasibility of becoming small-scale 99Mo producers.

Most participants carried out work related to the entire production process, from target assembly through irradiation, planning for target disassembly in hot cells, chemical processing of targets, quality-control practices, and managing waste streams. Some participants focused on one particular area, for example, testing new methods for production of LEU foil for targets and the production of gel generators from 99Mo solution. The publication aggregates all of the work undertaken as part of the CRP in order to present the results as a whole.

 

27 February 2015
New NCRP Report 175 Issued: Decision Making for Late-Phase Recovery from Major Nuclear or Radiological Incidents

NCRP Report No. 175, Decision Making for Late-Phase Recovery from Major Nuclear or Radiological Incidents, provides guidance on making decisions after a major nuclear accident (e.g., Fukushima), after an act of terrorism involving a radiological dispersal device (e.g., a dirty bomb) or an improvised nuclear device, that result in wide-area contamination with radioactive materials.

The report considers the long-term consequences of widespread contamination and provides guidance on managing the cleanup and community restoration efforts. Health, environment, economic, psychological, cultural, ethical and political issues are addressed. Optimization is described as the best approach to decision making for balancing the complex issues that follow wide-area contamination with radioactive materials. Optimization is an iterative process that can be broken down into a series of steps, all of which involve cooperation with stakeholders as an essential element for a community-focused recovery effort.

Health Physics Society members receive a 20% discount on all NCRP reports. An additional 10% discount is given if the order is for both electronic and hard-copy formats of any report.

Health Physics Society member S. Y. Chen was the chair of the NCRP committee that produced this report. He authors an article in the April HP News about the preparation of the report.

 

24 February 2015
Second North American Workshop on the Ethical Dimensions of the System of Radiological Protection

The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) has established Task Group 94 to develop a publication on the ethical foundations of the system of radiological protection, aiming to consolidate the basis of ICRP’s recommendations, to improve the understanding of the system and to provide a basis for communication on radiation risk and its perception.

To support this effort, a series of regional workshops is being held. A second series of regional workshops is planned for 2015, including meetings in Madrid, Spain 4-6 February; Fukushima City, Japan, 2-4 June; and in Baltimore, Maryland 10-12 March 2015.

The first in this series were held in Daejeon, Korea; Milan, Italy; and Baltimore, Maryland; supported by the local Associate Societies of the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA).

Collaboration between radiological protection professionals and applied ethicists in these and other related workshops has resulted in significant progress, including identifying and characterizing some of the key values that underlie the system of radiological protection.

Continuing education credits will be requested from the ABHP for attendance.

See the flyer for information on the meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.  To register contact: Behnam Taebi.

 

23 February 2015
Senator Lamar Alexander to Hold Hearings on Nuclear Energy

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is the new chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the budget for the Department of Energy (DOE). In a speech earlier this month to the Nuclear Energy Institute, Alexander discussed his views on encouraging nuclear energy in the United States, nuclear waste, and increasing funding for energy research and also discussed his intention to hold a series of hearings during the next few months. 

Alexander's speech followed the completion of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) final two volumes of a technical safety review of the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. The review was initiated by an 8,600-page application submitted by the DOE in 2008 during the Bush Administration.  DOE sought to withdraw this application during the Obama Administration; a federal judge later ruled that the review must continue. 

In a statement announcing the completion of the remaining volumes, the NRC explained: "Completion of the safety evaluation report does not represent an agency decision on whether to authorize construction. A final licensing decision, should funds beyond those currently available be appropriated, could come only after completion of a supplement to the Department of Energy's environmental impact statement, hearings on contentions in the adjudication, and Commission review."

Read more on the American Institute of Physics website.

 

19 February 2015
American Chemical Society Summer School Program

The American Chemical Society (ACS) sponsors a Nuclear and Radiochemistry Summer School Program. The ACS is seeking curious and highly motivated students with strong science backgrounds. Those selected receive an all-expenses-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 SUNY-Stony Brook. Selected students also receive a stipend of $4,000.

Information on the summer school and an online application form can be found at  http://chemistry.missouri.edu/nucsummer/index.shtml

The deadline for applications is 13 March 2015. the program is open to 12 students and the announcement of awards will be made in early April 2015. For questions, contact J. David Robertson, National Director, ACS Summer Schools in Nuclear and Radiochemistry, at 573-882-5346 or robertsonjo@missouri.edu.

A flyer is available for posting.

 

10 February 2015
The EPA Has Released CAP88-PC Model, Version 4

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the availability of Version 4 of the CAP88–PC model on its website.

This version may be used to demonstrate compliance with the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) applicable to radionuclides. Version 4 has many changes and improvements from previous versions. The most significant of these changes from a user perspective are the incorporation of age-dependent radionuclide dose and risk factors for ingestion and inhalation, the increase in the number of included radionuclides, and a change in the file-management system used by the program.

Operational Radiation Safety published a special issue on the use of CAP88 in 2013. Also, there will be a special session on NESHAPs at the 2015 HPS Annual Meeting in Indianapolis.

 

6 February 2015
YouTube Video, "Do Cell Phones Cause Brain Tumors?"

An eight-minute video called "Do Cell Phones Cause Brain Tumors?"—about the risk of cancer from the use of cell phones—can be found on Veritasium, an educational science channel on YouTube. The video starts with interviews of people on their perception of the risk of cell phone use and what different studies have concluded. It then discusses different types of epidemiological studies. The video provides a good example of how to present risk in an understandable way. It is based on an article by Emily Oster, PhD, on the website FiveThirtyEight.com.

 

26 January 2015
EPA Proposes New Standards for Uranium In Situ Recovery

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to add new health and environmental protection standards to regulations promulgated under the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act of 1978 (UMTRCA or the Act). The proposed standards will regulate byproduct materials produced by uranium in situ recovery (ISR), including both surface and subsurface standards, with a primary focus on groundwater protection, restoration, and stability. The rationale is that ISR facilities have a greater potential to affect groundwater than do conventional uranium mills, which were the predominant processing mode when UMTRCA was enacted.

EPA proposes to add an additional subpart within 40 CFR 192 to explicitly address groundwater protection at uranium ISR operations. A new subpart F is being proposed that would set standards that would apply to uranium ISR facilities only. The overall purpose of this subpart is to address the most significant hazards represented by ISR activities. The section would include a new standards section to specify the minimum 13 constituents for which groundwater protection standards must be met. The list includes arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium, silver, nitrate (as N), molybdenum, combined radium-226 and radium-228, uranium (total), and gross alpha-particle activity (excluding radon and uranium). A new monitoring section would detail the specific requirements of monitoring programs to be conducted during the preoperational, operational, restoration, stability, and long-term stability phases.

Comments are due on or before 27 April 2015.

 

22 January 2015
Student Awards for Posters and Presentations Given at Annual Meeting

Students, are you giving a presentation or poster at the annual meeting on a topic related to accelerator health physics? If so, please note that your presentation or poster automatically will be considered for one of two student awards given each year by the Health Physics Society Accelerator Section. No need to apply; the judges will identify your topic from the abstract you submitted.

For more information on the H. Wade Patterson Memorial Award and the Lutz Moritz Memorial Award, please see the Accelerator Section website.

The abstract due date is Saturday, 7 February 2015.  Submittals can be made online.

 

20 January 2015
New NCRP Statement About Fluoroscopically Guided Interventions

The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) has released Statement No. 11, "Outline of Administrative Policies for Quality Assurance and Peer Review of Tissue Reactions Associated with Fluoroscopically-Guided Interventions."

This statement is particularly pertinent to interventional cardiologists, interventional radiologists, and any other physicians doing interventional procedures and to the administrators and executives in health care organizations.

The statement is intended to clarify recommendations given in NCRP Report No. 168, Radiation Dose Management for Fluoroscopically-Guided Interventional [FGI] Medical Procedures (NCRP, 2010). It provides detailed recommendations for a facility's quality assurance-peer review (QA-PR) process and recommendations for administrative practices for the evaluation of known or suspected FGI radiation injuries. Facilities typically investigate and characterize all unusual medical events via a QA-PR committee composed of professional peers of the involved practitioner. Evaluating those radiation management processes and practices discussed in this statement shall be a part of an interventional service's QA-PR program.

NCRP Report No. 168 emphasizes that the safe performance of FGI procedures requires controlling radiation dose in order to prevent unexpected or avoidable tissue reactions and to minimize the severity of medically unavoidable injuries. It also provides guidance for controlling dose and for patient post-procedure follow-up. Similar guidance has been provided by professional societies and by several national and international organizations.

The statement is available online at ncrponline.org/Publications/Statements/Statement_11.pdf.  

 

31 December 2014
HPS Leadership Election Results

The Health Physics Society (HPS) election results are in. Taking office at the 2015 HPS Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, in July will be President-elect Robert Cherry, Treasurer-elect Michael Lewandowski, and Board of Directors members James Bogard, Elaine Marshall, and Debra McBaugh Scroggs.

Congratulations to all.

 

30 December 2014
Comments Wanted on FDA Draft Guidance: "Radiation Biodosimetry Devices"

The Food and Drug Administration has announced the availability of the draft guidance "Radiation Biodosimetry Devices." The draft guidance provides recommendations to assist industry in designing studies to establish the analytical and clinical performance characteristics of radiation biodosimetry medical countermeasure devices. This draft guidance is not final nor is it in effect at this time.

Comments on the draft guidance should be submitted before 30 March 2015.

 

30 December 2014
Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 2 Pilot Planning

The National Academies Press has published Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 2 Pilot Planning. It is available for sale in hard copy or as a free download.

The Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities is a pilot study requested by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission to assess the risk of cancer near nuclear facilities in the United States. This effort is being carried out in two phases.

The Phase 1 study recommended two study designs appropriate for assessing cancer risks near nuclear facilities. It also recommended a pilot study of seven nuclear facilities to assess the technical feasibility of the recommended study designs.

The Phase 2 study is the assessment of cancer risks. The pilot, which is part of the Phase 2 study, is being carried out in two steps: pilot planning and pilot execution. The pilot planning (current step) aims to plan for the pilot study. The pilot execution (next step) aims to carry out the pilot study and evaluate the technical feasibility of implementing the two study designs recommended in the Phase 1 study. If implementation of the study designs is feasible, the methods developed and tested in the pilot study could be used to conduct a nationwide study.

Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 2 Pilot Planning provides advice to the National Academy of Sciences in performing a number of tasks related to the planning for a pilot epidemiological study, such as identifying the processes for selecting qualified individuals and/or organizations to perform epidemiological and dosimetric tasks and initiating effluent release and meteorological data collection in preparation for estimating doses to the people who live near the pilot nuclear facilities. This brief report serves as a public record of the committee's advice to the National Academy of Sciences on general methodological considerations involved in carrying out the pilot study.

 

23 December 2014
Stephen G. Burns Becomes NRC's 16th Chairman

Stephen G. Burns, a 33-year veteran of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and a commissioner since November, has been designated as NRC chairman by President Barack Obama, effective 1 January 2015. Burns replaces outgoing Chairman Allison Macfarlane, who is stepping down to take a position at George Washington University.

"I am pleased to have been selected to serve as the NRC's next chairman. It is a great honor to lead the agency to which I dedicated most of my professional career," Burns said. "I extend my thanks to Dr. Macfarlane for her service and wish her success in her new position. I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners, the NRC staff, and our stakeholders in carrying out the NRC's important mission."

The NRC is headed by five commissioners and is a collegial body that formulates policies, develops regulations, issues orders, and adjudicates legal matters. The NRC commissioners serve five-year terms, with one term expiring every year on 30 June.  Burns' term expires in 2019.

Read more on the NRC press release.

 

19 December 2014
The Most Radioactive Places on Earth

Are you a believer in the "banana dose" concept? A Health Physics Society member has recommended an 11-minute-long YouTube video that uses bananas and travel to put radiation exposures in perspective.

The video was posted by a videographer with Veritasium who is filming a television documentary about how radiation has impacted our lives, what is perceived as very "radioactive," and what is dangerous. Veritasium is a science video blog featuring experiments, expert interviews, demonstrations, and discussions with the public about everything science related.

The filming took the videographer to the "most radioactive places" on Earth, including Hiroshima, Chernobyl, and Fukushima, as he presents postapocalyptic landscapes. He also visited nuclear power plants, research reactors, Marie Curie's institute, Einstein's apartment, nuclear medicine areas of hospitals, uranium mines, and even the Trinity bomb site.

As you might expect, there are several errors in the script that most health physicists will immediately recognize. The documentary will be ready for television broadcast in late 2015, so you may want to leave the videographer suggestions for improvements. Overall, however, it is this editor's opinion that it presents a commendable video for public consumption.

Check it out: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRL7o2kPqw0&feature=em-uploademail

By Web Operations Editor in Chief Howard Dickson

 

18 December 2014
2015 NCRP Meeting Registration Open

The 2015 National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) Annual Meeting—"Changing Regulations and Radiation Guidance: What Does the Future Hold?"—will be held in Bethesda, Maryland, 16-17 March 2015.

Don Cool (U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission) is chair of the Program Committee and Kathy Pryor (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) and Ruth McBurney (Council of Radiation Control Program Directors) are cochairs. Also on the Program Committee are Isaf Al-Nabulsi (U.S. Department of Energy), Armin Ansari (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Renate Czarwinski (International Radiation Protection Association), John D. Boice, Jr., (NCRP president), Jon Edwards (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), John MacKinney (U.S. Department of Homeland Security), Don Miller (Food and Drug Administration [FDA]), Mike Noska (FDA), and Mike Ryan (Health Physics Journal).

Ken Kase (NCRP emeritus vice president) will present the 12th Warren Sinclair Lecture, "Influence of the NCRP on Radiation Protection in the United States: Guidance and Regulation." The 39th Taylor Lecture, "Dosimetry of Internal Emitters: Contributions of Radiation Protection Bodies and Radiological Events," will be given by Keith Eckerman (Oak Ridge National Laboratory). The 1st Thomas Tenforde Topical Lecture, "Ethics and Radiation Protection," will be given by Jacques Lochard (International Commission on Radiological Protection).

This will be a remarkable gathering so register now and plan to attend. The program is available on the NCRP website and there is no cost to register at registration.ncrponline.org.

 

17 December 2014
Inaugural HPS Science Camp at Indy Meeting

The Indy Local Arrangements Committee for the 2015 Health Physics Society (HPS) Annual Meeting has an exciting announcement! In honor of the 60th anniversary of the HPS, we will hold a "day of giving" event. This will be in the form of the first HPS science camp to be held during an annual meeting.

The camp will consist of volunteers along with local students and teachers performing experiments together while learning about radiation and radiation safety. In the process, we will pass along information regarding our profession and educational opportunities. It is our hope to interest the next generation of health physicists and other radiation professionals. We will supply teachers with materials to take back to their classrooms and pass along to their future students.

The camp is in the formative stage, so there are plenty of opportunities for individuals to get involved in a "first." We are looking for volunteers to serve on a committee to oversee the event along with camp "counselors." We are also looking for material donations and for financial support to pay for expendables and take-away materials for the attending teachers.

If you are interested in serving as a committee member or playing a role at the camp, please contact Jeff Mason at Indy2015HPS@yahoo.com. In addition, if you wish to help finance the camp or donate items, please contact Jeff at the same email address. Do not let this opportunity pass you by as we look forward to making a difference in the communities we visit each summer—in Indianapolis and at future HPS meetings.

 

12 December 2014
BEIR VIII Planning Presentations Available

On 17 November 2014, the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board (NRSB) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) hosted  the meeting "Planning Towards the BEIR VIII Report" to assist with scoping the next Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR) report—the BEIR VIII report—on health risks from exposure to low levels of ionizing radiation. The presentations of the meeting are now available on the NRSB website.

 

9 December 2014
Summary of 2014 Beebe Symposium Publication Available

The Science of Responding to a Nuclear Reactor Accident, the summary of the 2014 Gilbert W. Beebe Symposium presentations and discussions, is available for purchase in paperback or as a free download on the National Academies Press website

The symposium, dedicated in honor of Gilbert W. Beebe, the distinguished National Cancer Institute radiation epidemiologist who died in 2003, was cohosted by the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Cancer Institute. The symposium topic was prompted by the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that was initiated by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami off the northeast coast of Japan. This was the fourth major nuclear accident that has occurred since the beginning of the nuclear age some 60 years ago. The 1957 Windscale accident in the United Kingdom caused by a fire in the reactor, the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in the United States caused by mechanical and human errors, and the 1986 Chernobyl accident in the former Soviet Union caused by a series of human errors during the conduct of a reactor experiment are the other three major accidents. The rarity of nuclear accidents and the limited amount of existing experiences that have been assembled over the decades heightens the importance of learning from the past.

 

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.

 

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