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Current News

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

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

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

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

The NRC press release contains additional information.

 

12 October 2014
IRPA Bulletin No. 3 Issued

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

 

12 October 2014
The Image Gently Alliance Will Meet at RSNA

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

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

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

 

9 October 2014
Revised Regulatory Guide 3.5 on Fuel Storage

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

8 October 2014
BEIR VIII Scoping Meeting

On 17 November 2014, the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) will be hosting a meeting 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 meeting is open to the public in its entirety and will be held at the National Academy of Sciences, located at 2101 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC. Registration and additional information about the meeting is available on the NAS website.

Seating is limited so register soon if you plan to attend.

 

1 October 2014
ACMUI Opening for Diagnostic Radiologist

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is advertising for nominations for the position of Diagnostic Radiologist on the Advisory Committee on the Medical Uses of Isotopes (ACMUI). Nominees should be a currently practicing diagnostic radiologist.

Interested candidates should submit an electronic copy of résumé or curriculum vitae, along with a cover letter and endorsement letter(s) from professional organizations, or others, to the contact person listed  below. The cover letter should describe the nominee's current duties and responsibilities and express the nominee's interest in the position. Please ensure that the résumé or curriculum vitae includes the following information, if applicable: education; certification; professional association membership and committee membership activities; duties and responsibilities in current and previous clinical, research, and/or academic position(s).

Nominations are due on or before 24 November 2014.

For further information contact Sophie Holiday, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Office of the Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management Programs; 301-415–7865; sophie.holiday@nrc.gov.

 

 

1 October 2014
EPA Funding Opportunity for Training Partnerships on Human Subjects Research

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is offering cooperative training partnerships in environmental health sciences research.

Applications may be submitted for projects that may involve human subjects research. Human subjects research supported by the EPA is governed by EPA Regulation 40 CFR Part 26 (Protection of Human Subjects). This includes the Common Rule at Subpart A and prohibitions and additional protections for pregnant women and fetuses, nursing women, and children at Subparts B, C, and D.

Information on the application process is on the EPA website.

The closing date for the applications is 11 November 2014.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

     

    19 September 2014
    National Radiation Protection Professionals Week, 2–8 November 2014

    The Health Physics Society (HPS), in conjunction with the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, Inc. (CRCPD), has designated the week of 2–8 November 2014 as "National Radiation Protection Professionals Week." This event is held to honor radiation protection professionals and is set in early November to celebrate the discovery of x rays by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen on 8 November 1895.

    Michael Snee, CRCPD chairperson, signed a proclamation noting: "Radiation Protection Professionals work with government, industry, medical, educational, and private sources to bring the benefits of X rays, radiation and radioactivity to the public while minimizing the hazards of radiation exposure. The weeklong observance is dedicated to recognizing Radiation Protection Professionals for their contributions to public safety."

    HPS President Barbara Hamrick said: "This special week is a great time to share the magic and wonder of radiation protection with friends and colleagues!  So, please raise a toast to Herr Roentgen and celebrate our ever-interesting, ever-evolving, and always-rewarding occupation."

     

    17 September 2014
    Two New NRC Commissioners Confirmed by Senate

    The Senate on Tuesday 16 September 2014 confirmed two new members to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the federal body that ensures the safe use of radioactive materials for beneficial civilian purposes while protecting people and the environment. The NRC regulates commercial nuclear power plants and other uses of nuclear materials—such as in nuclear medicine—through licensing, inspection, and enforcement of its requirements.

    The addition of Stephen Burns and Jeffrey Baran brings the NRC to its full complement of five members. The two newcomers join Chairman Allison Macfarlane, Kristine Svinicki, and William Ostendorff to round out the commission.

    Baran is former staff director for energy and environment on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

    Burns is a former longtime executive at the NRC, rising to the post of general counsel from 2009 to 2012 when he retired from the agency.

    The chairman is the principal executive officer of and the official spokesman for the NRC. As principal executive officer, the chairman is responsible for conducting administrative, organizational, long-range planning, budgetary, and certain personnel functions of the agency. The chairman has ultimate authority for all NRC functions pertaining to an emergency involving an NRC license. The chairman's actions are governed by the general policies of the Commission.

    The Commission as a collegial body formulates policies, develops regulations governing nuclear reactor and nuclear material safety, issues orders to licensees, and adjudicates legal matters.

     

    16 September 2014
    New HPS Position Statements

    The Health Physics Society (HPS) Board of Directors approved two new official positions at the 2014 HPS Annual Meeting in Baltimore. Positions statements will be prepared for each position and posted on the website.

    The new positions are:

    • Mobile applications to measure radiation using smart phones, or external accessories made for such devices, are not substitutes for quality-controlled measurements made by trained and qualified radiation protection professionals using calibrated radiation detection instruments. Measurements made by such devices should not be used as the primary source of information to evaluate the user's safety or to issue protective actions for the public.
    • The radiofrequency transmitters used in conjunction with smart meters do not present a public health risk.

    All positions are posted on the HPS website.

     

    9 September 2014
    NRC Strategic Plan for 2014–2018

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

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

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

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

     

    4 September 2014
    Changes in DOE Isotope Program

    The Department of Energy (DOE) Isotope Program, within the Office of Science, currently produces and distributes the radioisotope germanium-68 (68Ge). There are two primary uses of the 68Ge: (1) in the manufacture of calibration sources for positron emission tomography (PET) scanners used for diagnostic medical imaging and (2) in the manufacture of germanium-68/gallium-68 (68Ge/68Ga) generators, which provide 68Ga as a positron source in radiopharmaceuticals used in PET imaging.

    The DOE published a Notice of Inquiry and Request for comment in the Federal Register on 8 March 2013 concerning its consideration of withdrawal from commercial production of 68Ge. The DOE received numerous comments in response to this Notice of Inquiry, evaluated substantial information provided by one private domestic company seeking the DOE's withdrawal, and assessed other available information. The DOE determined that 68Ge is reasonably available from the commercial sector for use in the manufacture of calibration sources but not for use in 68Ge/68Ga generators.

    To serve the nation's interests in the advancement of health care, the DOE will continue to produce and distribute 68Ge for use in the manufacture of 68Ge/68Ga generators until such time as firm data exists establishing that there are multiple domestic suppliers capable of fully satisfying the needs of the United States market without the participation of DOE in that market.

    More information can be found in the Federal Register notice.

     

    29 August 2014
    First "Special" Issue of Health Physics News

    Health Physics Society (HPS) Web Operations has published its very first "special" issue of Health Physics News. Since the August and September monthly issues were already overflowing with valuable content, Web Operations decided to dedicate one special issue to the recently completed 59th Annual Meeting of the HPS in Baltimore, Maryland.

    For those of you who attended the meeting, you will find this issue a reminder of the great experiences you had in Baltimore. For those of you who could not attend, look at what you missed and decide right now that you will not miss the 60th Annual Meeting of the HPS in Indianapolis, Indiana, next July.

    In this special issue, you will find photographs and information about the HPS leadership (both retiring and new officers and directors); recipients of all major Society awards, scholarships, and travel grants; session content and speakers; the inaugural HPS Quiz Bowl; the Web Operations fabulous book drawing; and much more.

    The HPS is making this special issue available to the public; thus, feel free to share this link with friends and colleagues.

     

    19 August 2014
    NRC Nuclear Education Grants

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has awarded $15 million in grants to academic institutions in fiscal year 2014 through the Nuclear Education Program. The grants are used for scholarships, fellowships, trade school and community college scholarships, and faculty development.

    The NRC announces grant opportunities on Grants.gov, which helps the public find and apply for federal funding opportunities. A panel of expert reviewers evaluates all the grant proposals. The panel composition is diverse with most reviewers having both experience reviewing proposals for government agencies and advanced credentials in nuclear engineering, health physics, radiochemistry, or related disciplines. All panelists must certify that they do not have any conflicts of interest for the proposals they evaluate.

    With the award of the FY14 grants, the NRC Nuclear Education Program has awarded nearly $122 million since the program began in 2007. The complete list of grants awarded is posted on the NRC website along with more information on the NRC Nuclear Education Program.

     

    2 July 2014
    60th Annual Radiobioassay and Radiochemical Measurements Conference

    The 60th Annual Radiobioassay and Radiochemical Measurements Conference will be held in Knoxville, Tennessee, 27–31 October 2014. The call for papers and conference information can be found on the conference website. The abstract submission deadline is 31 July 2014.

     

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