Mike Mahathy, HPS Director
In the January 2020 issue of Health Physics News, Brett Burk discussed copyright issues that the Health Physics Society (HPS) can encounter when publishing or posting your meeting presentation on the HPS website. A negative result of that is not being able to post meeting presentations on our website—a benefit many members have enjoyed.
One of the strategic plan 2019 Annual Priority A.1 work teams recommended an alternative—ask presenters to also upload a PDF copy of their presentation with all images removed, even those owned by the presenter or those for which the presenter has permission. This action was turned into 2020 Annual Priority A.1.7, which is part of Improve Value to Stakeholders.
The Program Committee will ask each annual meeting presenter to provide the image-free copy as they review their presentation in the speaker ready room. Please note that this is voluntary; presenters will not be required to submit this second version, although we hope you will. Submitted presentations will be uploaded in accordance with HPS policies and time frames. The goal is to improve value of membership to our members.
HPS Local Arrangements Committee
The Baltimore Washington Chapter of the Health Physics Society (BWCHPS) was pleased to support local arrangements for the 2020 HPS Midyear Meeting, which was held in Bethesda, Maryland, the week of 19 January 2020. While there were many highlights of the meeting, we must say that there was great interest in the two tours that were arranged as well as the cool dry-fit HPS 2020 polo shirts that were offered for sale by the chapter and that will continue on sale through the annual meeting in National Harbor.
Tour of the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute
HPS midyear participants at AFRRI. Photo courtesy of Dr. William F. Blakely
The Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI) supported a request from the BWCHPS and hosted a visit to AFRRI on Monday, 27 January. Maj. Joshua Molgaard and Dr. William F. Blakely, both of AFFRI, organized the visit, which involved about a dozen attendees of the 2020 HPS Midyear Meeting. AFRRI tour participants saw AFRRI's 60Co Facility, Reactor Facility, and Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory. Several AFRRI staff assisted as tour guides, including Dr. V. Kumar, Dr. David Schauer Maj. J. Molgaard, Charles (Bob) Woodruff and SFC S. Moore. Additional AFRRI staff, who supported the AFRRI tour, includes Maj. C. Barrera, Dr. David Bolduc, C. Lingerfelt, and SFC B. Knibbe.
Tour of the US NRC Headquarters Operations Center
HPS midyear participants at the NRC Headquarters Operations Center. Photo courtesy of Jeff Kowalczik
On Tuesday, 28 January, about 25 HPS midyear meeting participants toured the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) Headquarters Operations Center. The center serves as the coordination point for communications with NRC licensees, state entities, and other federal agencies during incidents and emergency events at NRC-licensed facilities. The tour was hosted by HPS member Jeff Kowalczik.
HPS 2020 Dry-Fit Polo Sales
HPS polo shirts were sold at the midyear meeting. Photo courtesy of Jeff Chapman
Throughout the week of the midyear meeting, HPS polo shirts were offered for sale. These shirts feature in red, white, and blue a 4th of July celebration over our Nation's Capital, Washington, DC. We will continue to offer these shirts. Soon you will be able to preorder them online prior to the HPS annual meeting in National Harbor, Maryland.
Midyear Night Out at Pinstripes-Bistro-Bowling-Bocce
Bowling at Pinstripes. Photo courtesy of Jeff Chapman
BWCHPS members were joined by two HPS members attending the midyear meeting for a fun evening of bowling, food, and beverage at the upscale Pinstripes bistro. We are pleased to report results: n=7 and mean and 1sd of 112 ± 11. Ed Tupin was the clear winner, having amped up his game prior to attendance. When someone walks onto the alley wearing their own personal bowling shoes, beware.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued Review of Published Literature Between 2008 and 2018 of Relevance to Radiofrequency Radiation and Cancer. The document is available on the FDA website.
Emily Caffrey, ATE Editor in Chief
Rolling Stone magazine recently published an article about oil and gas truckers and their potential exposure to TENORM. The article contained significant inaccuracies, and together with a number of Health Physics Society (HPS) TENORM experts, the Ask the Experts (ATE) staff drafted a response that points out the most egregious errors. Check out the response on the HPS website and pass it along to others who might be interested!
A huge thank you to David Allard, Jan Johnson, Gary Forsee, Philip Egidi, John Frazier, Jim Grice, and the numerous others who helped with the response!
Jeff Chapman, Local Arrangements Committee Chair
The Health Physics Society (HPS) Local Arrangements Committee is busy putting together some activities for you to consider as you preregister for the 2020 HPS Annual Meeting, including a couple of tours and a special event involving the National Nuclear Security Administration's Aerial Measuring System.
This month's newsletter entry is for one purpose—to encourage you to plan your trip, now! The meeting will be held in National Harbor, Maryland, 5–9 July. The July 4th week is incredibly busy in Washington, DC. We would recommend you arrive before the meeting and consider staying the weekend after to enjoy the many national memorials and museums, and a trek to Annapolis or to the hills of Northern Virginia. We recommend you visit the National Harbor website and the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center website to see what is happening in and around the area.
Many people are asking about transportation, so I traveled by Uber around town, including during the premier game of the XFL Defenders. For $20, you can Uber anywhere in the DC metro area. Also, you can easily Uber to the National Mall or to Alexandria and hop on the Metro subway system. While we are working on bus/shuttle arrangements for the tours and perhaps one or two activities, it looks now like Uber or taxi will be the best option for getting around town with fewer than 10 people.
You will also want to take advantage of the Outlet Mall in the National Harbor area, as well as the MGM casino (it is Vegas style), located about a mile from the hotel.
This month's message: start planning immediately. Let your fingers do the walking on the internet and find what it is you'd like to do while you're in the Nation's Capital.
More details to follow next month!
Dan Sowers, CHP Corner Editor
While the CHP Corner is produced by the American Academy of Health Physics, it is relevant to all health physicists, not just those who are certified. The February 2020 issue of the CHP Corner is available to all on the American Academy of Health Physics website.
This edition includes:
- CHP salary survey
- McAdams award call for nominations: Due 1 March 2020
The 2020 National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) Annual Meeting will be held 23–24 March 2020 at the Bethesda Hyatt in Bethesda, Maryland. The meeting, with the topic "Radiation & Flight: A Down-to-Earth Look at Risks," begins on 23 March with the Seventeenth Annual Warren K. Sinclair Keynote Address by Dr. Serena Auñón-Chancellor, "Space Radiation: Perspective From the Astronaut Office." The program for March 23 culminates with the Forty-Fourth Lauriston S. Taylor Lecture to be given by Dr. Robert Ullrich, "Taking Up Space: The Path to Understanding Radiation Risks." The Taylor Lecture will be followed by a reception in Dr. Ullrich's honor.
On Tuesday (24 March), the meeting will begin with the business session at 8:15 a.m. The program will continue at 9:30 a.m with the Fourth Thomas S. Tenforde Topical Lecture, which will be given by Dr. Paul Locke, "Collision or Cooperation? The Law, Ethics and Science of Personalized Risk Assessments for Space and Air Travel."
The February short course offerings have been posted on the Short Courses page of the HPS website. Information on the following courses is available:
Certification Review Course Part I; Self Study Course Part I; Background Materials Review; Part I Question & Answer CD and Site License; Part I Additional Question & Answer Volume; NRRPT Question & Answer CD and Site License—Bevelacqua Resources
Certification Review Course Part II; Self Study Course Part II; Background Materials Review; NRRPT Question & Answer CD and Site License—Bevelacqua Resources
Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) Training Course and Refresher Class—RSO Services, Inc.
Radiation Safety Officer Training Class—Radiation Safety & Control Services, Inc.
Practical MCNP® for the Health Physicist, Rad. Engineer, and Medical Physicist Course—Los Alamos National Laboratory, Radiation Protection Services Group
Packaging and Shipping Class 7 (Radioactive) Material—Plexus Scientific Corporation
Applied Health Physics—ORAU's Professional Training Programs
Health Physics Society President Emeritus Dr. Darrell Fisher was interviewed 20 December 2019 for the new VersantCast podcast series, hosted by Versant Medical Physics and Radiation Safety. The podcast—Medical Internal Radiation Dose (MIRD)—addresses many issues in radiation protection and radiation dosimetry, with a few direct statements on challenging and controversial issues in radiation protection.
With the recent success of its Free the Annals initiative, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) continues to provide opportunities for radiation protection professionals to join their effort in increasing global engagement. Information on available internships, the newly created mentorship program, and more senior placements can be found on the ICRP website.
Wayne M. Glines, CHP
From 1 to 3 October 2018, more than 200 scientists, regulators, nuclear technologists, and interested parties from around the world gathered in Pasco, Washington, for the Joint American Nuclear Society (ANS) and Health Physics Society (HPS) Conference: Applicability of Radiation-Response Models to Low-Dose Protection Standards. The conference addressed some of the most fundamental questions in radiation protection: (1) how much exposure is too much and (2) how to avoid too much exposure AND still use the benefits of radioactivity and ionizing radiation. In addition, this conference posed the question of what is needed to move forward both in the area of the science of radiation effects, e.g., understanding the risk(s) of radiation in the low-dose region (<10 mSv), and in communicating this science to the public. This conference included nine plenary sessions, seven panel discussions, two luncheon speakers, an invited evening banquet speaker, and a poster session with over 40 presentations.
The proceedings of this conference are now being published in a special issue of the Health Physics Journal due out in March 2020. These proceedings provide abstracts for all presentations given during each of the plenary sessions, panel discussions, and speakers. For all plenary sessions and panel discussions, the abstracts are followed by a discussion of the salient observations, discussions, and conclusions made during that session. In addition, appendices provide (1) a listing of all conference presenters and panelists, (2) a listing of all conference participants, and (3) a listing of all poster presentations.
Efforts were made to ensure that the interdisciplinary composition of the participants was well represented in all relevant sessions. Participants encompassed a wide range of disciplines, including epidemiology, systems biology, cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, health physics, mathematics, modeling, legal socioeconomics, medical practitioners, regulators, as well as lay people directly impacted by radiation protection decisions, e.g., evacuations following Fukushima.
After three days of presentations and extensive discussions, there were several areas of near consensus, while in other areas, there remained a wide range of views supported by different scientific bases. The areas of near consensus included:
- Fear of radiation is a serious problem, and lack of communication between the scientific community and stakeholders seems to be a major contributor to that fear.
- There is a need for carefully directed, focused research to provide data on the underlying science of low-dose radiation effects in humans and to help address regulatory concerns.
- There is a gross inconsistency related to the setting of protection standards in light of the variable background levels of radiation.
- Medical uses of radiation provide great benefit and should not be refused if the exposure is justified and the exam recommended by medical experts.
- There is a lack of young people entering radiation protection disciplines.
Additional information from the conference beyond what is presented in these proceedings may be found on the conference website. This website includes copies of most of the conference presentations; biographies of many of the presenters; links to videos for all of the plenary sessions, panel discussions, and invited speakers; and other supplemental information.
Conference General Chair Dr. Alan Waltar addressing attendees at the welcoming session. Photo courtesy of Dan Strom
Kenneth Krieger, CHP
Because the garage sale at the Health Physics Society (HPS) annual meeting two years ago was a success, we will hold it again at the 2020 HPS Annual Meeting in National Harbor, Maryland. If you have an interesting health-physics-related item—current or historical—that you want out of your house and that you think other health physicists might like, bring it to the meeting. You will receive a tax deduction for your donation. HPS will hold a silent auction for donated items and the money received will be used for scholarships, fellowships, student travel grants, and other benevolent Society activities.
The logistics are straightforward. You bring the item to the 2020 HPS Annual Meeting and deliver it to the Secretariat, who will place it in the auction. The auction will open when the exhibit hall opens, and meeting attendees will be able to view all items. At the end of the auction, Wednesday morning at about 10 a.m., winners will pay for the items and pick them up or arrange for shipment. If the winners of the silent auctions are not present, the second-place bid will win unless previous arrangements have been made. Shipping arrangements, if needed, are the responsibility of the winner—HPS will not take possession of any items. If no one bids on an item, the owner must take that item back—and maybe try again the following year.
Items too large to bring to the meeting may also be entered in the auction. Pictures and descriptions of items can be brought to the meeting and arrangements for shipping the item will be between the owner and the bid winner.
Please help make this event an interesting, fun, and profitable event for HPS. Bring your old and/or interesting items to be auctioned off at the annual meeting, See you there!
Brant Ulsh, CHP, PhD, Health Physics Editor in Chief
The March issue of Health Physics presents Proceedings of the Joint American Nuclear Society and Health Physics Society Conference: Applicability of Radiation-Response Models to Low-Dose Protection Standards, which was held in Pasco, Washington, in October 2018. As Tony Brooks and colleagues describe in their introductory article, this conference was the latest meeting focused on this topic, and it follows the 1998 Wingspread Conference, the 2000 Arlie Conference, and the 2011 and 2016 Victor Bond Conferences. Why so many conferences on low-dose radiation? Well, because radiation protection professionals continue to be acutely interested in the topic. Three of the journal's most frequently accessed 2019 articles dealt low-dose radiation effects:
- "Linear No-Threshold (LNT) vs. Hormesis: Paradigms, Assumptions, and Mathematical Conventions That Bias the Conclusions in Favor of LNT and Against Hormesis" by Sacks and Meyerson.
- "Towards a New Concept of Low Dose" by Mothersill and colleagues.
- "Reflections on Basic Science Studies Involving Low Doses of Ionizing Radiation" by Paunescu and Woloschak.
There is an ongoing and vigorous discussion of low-dose radiation effects and radiation protection strategies to appropriately deal with them. Glines and Feinendegen observed that the conference attendees fell roughly into three groups:
- The first and oldest group holds the LNT model to be unconditionally best for the practice of radiation protection.
- The second group judged the risks of any health effects from low doses and low dose rates to be negligibly small, supporting the abandonment of the LNT model in favor of a threshold model.
- The third group focused on recent cell biology data and advocated for integrating all response patterns in system elements into a holistic system response.
Which, if any, of these views do you find compelling? Read through the March issue of Health Physics to get the best respective arguments and decide for yourself!
Those interested have until 15 March 2020 to submit extended abstracts for oral presentations or posters for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) International Conference on Radiation Safety, to be held in Vienna, Austria, 9–13 November 2020.
Conference participants are expected to share their experience in applying the current system of radiological protection based on the IAEA International Basic Safety Standards on Radiation Protection and Safety of Radiation Sources to the protection of workers, patients, the public, and the environment from both natural and artificial radiation sources.
More information is available on the IAEA website.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has issued Developing a Nuclear Security Contingency Plan for Nuclear Facilities, part of IAEA Nuclear Security Series No. 39-T. This publication provides guidance to states, competent authorities, and operators on how to develop and maintain contingency plans for nuclear facilities. It can be used as a starting point for organizations that have not previously prepared or developed contingency plans, as well as a reference for organizations that wish to validate or improve their existing contingency plans. It is intended for use by senior managers and security specialists charged with developing such plans and by competent authorities responsible for their oversight.
Interested contributors have until 28 February 2020 to submit abstracts for the International Conference on the Management of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) in Industry, to be held in Vienna, Austria, 19–23 October 2020.
Over the past decades, many studies have found higher natural radionuclide activity concentrations in wastes and residues from a wide range of industrial activities that are not part of the nuclear fuel cycle. Despite some successful cases, many Member States have struggled to find feasible and implementable approaches for the proper management of NORM wastes and residues.
The IAEA's first conference on NORM will build upon knowledge and experience gathered from a variety of events previously held around the world. The conference aims to explore good practices worldwide and bring together different players to identify current issues, expected future challenges, and possible strategies for dealing with them.
The IAEA welcomes high-quality contributions that fall under the umbrella of five cross-cutting topics:
- NORM Inventories.
- National Policies and Strategies.
- NORM Characterization in Industrial Operations.
- Residue and Waste Management.
- Decommissioning of NORM Facilities and Remediation of Contaminated Sites.
More information can be found on the IAEA website.
The National Alliance for Radiation Readiness (NARR) has made available radiation training modules for public health. Radiation emergencies require an all-hazards response with necessary additions to protect responders and receivers, limit health impacts, and save lives. Due to their high threat/low probability, public health preparedness planners often focus resources elsewhere. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledged this gap in prioritizing radiation preparedness, and during the 2018 refresh of the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) capabilities, included radiation language in 14 of those 15 capabilities.
Throughout these training modules, subject-matter experts (SMEs) will walk you through the radiation-specific issues that should be considered before and during the four phases of response. These SMEs are members of the NARR and represent public health, health care, and emergency management. There is no doubt that a radiation emergency will require a multidisciplinary response across coordinating sectors. These modules will help enhance that coordination.
Brett Rosenberg passed the most recent health physics certification exam and now joins the ranks of 22 other certified health physicists (CHPs) on the NV5/Dade Moeller staff. Brett has been with NV5 since July 2016 and currently supports the Hanford In Vivo Monitoring Program operated by Mission Support Alliance Radiological Site Services.
Brett earned his doctorate from Colorado State University in radiological health science while working at Hanford, allowing him to sit for the exam early. He took the preparation course offered by the Columbia Chapter of the Health Physics Society (HPS) last spring.
Brett is a recent past president of the Columbia Chapter of the HPS, a Department of Energy Laboratory Accreditation Program (DOELAP) assessor, and a member of the American National Standards Institute/HPS N13.35 (Specifications for the Bottle Manikin Absorption Phantom) working group.
The 2019 Health Physics Society (HPS) Salary Survey has been posted on the HPS website. Survey data was collected by having health physicists submit their responses to survey questions on a web-based data entry form. As in previous years, data was collected in conjunction with a salary survey of certified health physicists (CHPs). The CHP salary survey results will be reported separately in the CHP Corner.
It is time to encourage your students to apply for the 2020–2021 Health Physics Society (HPS) fellowships, scholarships, and travel grant awards. Please note that the deadline for submission of applications (online only) is 27 February 2020.
The fellowships are to support full-time entering or continuing students in US graduate programs in health physics or a closely related field. Three scholarships are also available: the Dade Moeller Scholarship Awards and the Environmental/Radon Section Scholarship Award. In addition, the HPS provides travel grants for health physics students to attend the 2020 HPS Annual Meeting in National Harbor, Maryland, 5–9 July. More information on each award can be found via the corresponding link.
Add the dates of the following Health Physics Society meetings to your calendar. Check the Meetings and Conferences page of the website for the most current information.
53rd Midyear Meeting: 26–29 January 2020; Bethesda, Maryland
65th Annual Meeting: 4–9 July 2020; National Harbor, Maryland
66th Annual Meeting: 25–29 July 2021; Phoenix, Arizona
67th Annual Meeting: 16–21 July 2022; Spokane, Washington