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Current News

29 March 2015
Book at the Conference Hotels Using the HPS Room Block

Why should I book at the conference hotels?

The hotel rates that the Health Physics Society (HPS) has negotiated include many benefits for you and for the HPS. Based on the number of rooms in HPS block of hotel rooms, the hotels provide complimentary meeting room space and reduced food and beverage charges. These savings are passed on to attendees through HPS inexpensive registration rates. If the HPS is unable to meet its room-block commitment because attendees are making reservations at other hotels, the hotels charge HPS an attrition fee to make up the hotel's lost revenue. If this were to become a trend, HPS would be forced to increase the registration fee and cut services.

Is it important for me to let the reservations agent know that I'm associated with the HPS meeting?

Yes. HPS receives credit only when registrants tell hotel staff that they are attending the HPS meeting. Please make sure the reservations agent knows you are attending the HPS meeting—whether you or someone else makes your reservation—or make your reservation through the link on the HPS site and it will be handled automatically.

Why does HPS reserve a block of rooms?

The HPS reserves a block of rooms to assure availability of rooms for meeting attendees, especially during the tourist season, when it can be very difficult to find an affordable hotel room. In addition, if HPS didn't reserve a block of rooms, it would be subject to room-rental fees and full food and beverage costs, which would greatly increase the cost of holding the meeting.

What is HPS doing to reduce these attrition fees and still keep the meeting affordable?

HPS tracks sleeping-room reservations and cancellations at the meeting so that it can more accurately block a number of rooms that will be filled by attendees in the future. However, every discount we receive at a hotel is based on the number of room nights we block, so as we reduce our block, we are consequently paying more for other services at the hotel. Reducing the block means that attendees will either have to pay a higher registration fee or that services will have to be cut.

Please stay at the HPS conference hotels!

 

27 March 2015
NRC Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Changes to Regulations on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is proposing to amend its regulations that govern low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) disposal facilities to require new and revised site-specific technical analyses and to permit the development of criteria for LLRW acceptance based on the results of these analyses.

These amendments would ensure that LLRW streams that are significantly different from those considered during the development of the current regulations (i.e., depleted uranium and other unanalyzed waste streams) can be disposed of safely and meet the performance objectives for land disposal of LLRW.

Comments will be accepted until 24 July 2015. The changes may be viewed and comments submitted on the federal government's rulemaking website, regulations.gov, using Docket ID NRC-2011-0012.

The NRC has issued a press release summarizing the proposed changes.

 

18 March 2015
New IAEA Reports Available for Free Download

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

Utilization of Accelerator Based Real Time Methods in Investigation of Materials with High Technological Importance, IAEA Radiation Technology Reports No. 4

This publication presents the state of the art in the development and application of various accelerator based real time techniques. It reports examples of multidisciplinary scientific topics and challenges where application of accelerator based methods would bring significant benefits in terms of research data and further understanding of the scientific issues. The research activities that can profit from real time material characterizations using synchrotron radiation, neutron, ion and electron beams, and simultaneous combinations of different techniques are also briefly discussed. A recurrent theme emerging from the presented papers is that further work is needed to develop more robust and longer working life materials for energy applications.

Electronic version can be found: http://www-pub.iaea.org/books/IAEABooks/10490/Utilization-of-Accelerator-Based-Real-Time-Methods-in-Investigation-of-Materials-with-High-Technological-Importance

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Policy and Strategies for Environmental Remediation,  IAEA Nuclear Energy Series No. NW-G-3.1

To assure the safe, technically optimal and cost effective management of remediation situations, appropriate policies and strategies are required. This publication describes the goals, time scales, efforts necessary for implementation, cost allocation and the different interests of concerned parties with regard to environmental remediation works. It clarifies the differences between a policy and a strategy, and provides advice to Member States on the typical composition and formulation of such documents. Along with previously published IAEA safety publications on environmental remediation, this publication will help national authorities to recognize the necessity for including environmental remediation as a required component in the planning and execution of nuclear related initiatives. Recent events have shown that the existence of an established policy and strategies on environmental remediation prior to nuclear and/or radiological accidents can be of fundamental importance, as it will among other things facilitate the dialogue to be established with different affected parties.

Electronic version can be found:  http://www-pub.iaea.org/books/IAEABooks/10622/Policy-and-Strategies-for-Environmental-Remediation

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Research Reactor Benchmarking Database: Facility Specification and Experimental Data,  Technical Reports Series No. 480

This web publication contains the facility specifications, experiment descriptions, and corresponding experimental data for nine different research reactors covering a wide range of research reactor types, power levels and experimental configurations. Each data set was prepared in order to serve as a stand-alone resource of well documented experimental data, which can subsequently be used in benchmarking and validation of the neutronic and thermal-hydraulic computational methods and tools employed for improved utilization, operation and safety analysis of research reactors.

Electronic version can be found:  http://www-pub.iaea.org/books/IAEABooks/10578/Research-Reactor-Benchmarking-Database-Facility-Specification-and-Experimental-Data

 

18 March 2015
60th Annual HPS Meeting Program is Available Online

The Online Program for the 2015 Health Physics Society annual meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana from 12-16 July 2015 is now available for viewing.

 

13 March 2015
2015 Call for Student Fellowships, Travel Grants, and Scholarships

Time is running out! The online links are now available for the 2015–2016 Health Physics Society Fellowships, the 2015 Travel Grants, and the 2015 Dade Moeller Scholarships. The deadline for all submittals (online or postmarked) is 20 March 2015. Notification will take place by mid-April 2015.

Students submit directly online for all fellowships and scholarships. Take a look at the links below to see eligibility and to apply. You will receive an email at the end of the process confirming your submission.

Travel Grants: https://hps.org/apply/travelgrant.html
Fellowships: https://hps.org/apply/fellowship.html
Dade Moeller Scholarships: https://hps.org/apply/moeller.html

 

12 March 2015
Argonne Internships for U.S. Students at the IAEA in Vienna

The Argonne National Lab International Program is advertising internships on its website for U.S. students at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria.

U.S. students and citizens can subscribe to an email list that notifies subscribers of new job postings.

For assistance, candidates can contact IAEAStaffing@anl.gov.

 

11 March 2015
NRC Solicits Applications for Scholarships and Fellowships and Reviewers

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) fiscal year 2015 Integrated University Program (IUP) Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) for scholarship and fellowship, faculty development, and trade school scholarships are now available on grants.gov!

The FOAs are available under NRC on the grants.gov website. Note the FOA closing dates:

17 April 2015—Scholarship and Fellowship
20 April 2015—Faculty Development
20 April 2015—Trade School and Community College Scholarship

The NRC is also soliciting volunteers to serve as peer reviewers for these proposals. Reviewers will be needed for faculty development, scholarship and fellowship, and trade school and community college scholarship proposals.

Each reviewer will be assigned 5–8 proposals to review (depending on the number of proposals received) and will be expected to participate on a review-panel teleconference. Proposals are nontechnical research proposals. The expected time frame for the review process is May–June. The NRC does not have exact dates as of yet. The NRC recognizes that this is an extremely busy time for all. However, FOA revisions and managerial decisions have imposed delays in this year's schedule. Only serious and dedicated individuals should volunteer to assist the NRC as they diligently strive to continue the success of the NRC IUP.

If interested, please respond to both Nancy.Hebron-Isreal@nrc.gov and Tanya.Parwani-Jaimes@nrc.gov. Make sure to provide the program for which you would be interested in reviewing (i.e., faculty development, scholarship and fellowship, or trade school and community college scholarship) and your area of expertise.

 

11 March 2015
Dainiak Named Director of REAC/TS

Nicholas Dainiak, MD, FACP, has been named director of the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS) at the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education.

A deployable asset of the U.S. Department of Energy, REAC/TS provides 24/7 emergency medical response for incidents involving radiation anywhere in the world. REAC/TS also provides direct support for the National Nuclear Security Administration's Office of Emergency Operations and the Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC).

Adding to its depth of radiation response and consultation capabilities, REAC/TS is uniquely qualified to teach medical personnel, health physicists, first responders, and occupational health professionals about radiation emergency medicine. REAC/TS also operates a cytogenetic biodosimetry laboratory, one of only two in the United States, where chromosome aberration analysis is used for ionizing radiation dose assessment.

More information is posted on the REAC/TS website.

 

10 March 2015
Science Camp for Teachers and Students at Annual 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.

This camp is open to science teachers and students and allows the HPS to give back to the communities we visit. Admission to this camp is free of charge. However, attendance is limited to the first 50 teachers and 50 students. There will be a waiting list if there are last-minute cancellations. A pamphlet is available with more information.

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.

If you are have any questions, 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.

 

9 March 2015
Annual Meeting Travel Planning—Full Day of Presentations on Thursday

This year's annual meeting runs 12–16 July 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. There will be a full day of presentations on Thursday, 16 July, as there was at last year's meeting.

When making your travel plans, make sure to plan to attend for four full days to ensure that you don't miss any of the sessions that are of interest to you.

 

6 March 2015
Nominations for Environmental/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 of the Environmental/Radon Section, maybe you should consider joining. The fee for Health Physics Society members is a very reasonable $5. You can check out the section website.

 

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

National council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (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) or after an act of terrorism involving a radiological dispersal device (e.g., a dirty bomb) or an improvised nuclear device resulting 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 Health Physics News about the preparation of the report.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.  

 

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.

 

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

 

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.

 

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