Current News

15 October 2019
HPJ Editor's Note: Something in the Water

Brant Ulsh, CHP, PhD, Health Physics Editor in Chief

I fondly recall going to the hot springs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, on a vacation when I was too young to know or care about radiation or health physics. All I knew is it was like swimming in a pool with pleasantly warm water. People around the world find bathing in hot springs very relaxing. But maybe there was something in the water… Did you know that one way hot springs can be formed is by heating rainwater that percolates down into the Earth's crust, where it is heated by the decay of naturally occurring radioactive elements? In the November issue of Health Physics, Dr. Fernando Mireles-García and his colleagues report on their research in "Assessing the Committed Effective Dose From 226Ra in Thermal Spring Water From San Diego de Alcala, Chihuahua, Mexico." And what about our drinking water? There's an article for that too, "Radionuclide Concentrations in Different Water Sources From Nigeria" by Chioma Uchenna Nwankwo and colleagues. Be sure to check out these and the other seven articles in the November issue!

The Editor's Pick for this month is Successful Migration From Radioactive Irradiators to X-Ray Irradiators in One of the Largest Medical Centers in the US.

(Note to HPS members: to access all Journal articles free, first log into Members Only on hps.org. Then, under Resources for You [on right side of page], click the Journal 1999–present icon. This will take you directly to the Health Physics Journal page or, if you have not yet done the single sign-on procedure, you will be asked to "pair accounts"—answer yes and you should be done. If you want to know more about why this process is in place, please see the news item "New Journal Website Login" on HPS Members Only.)

14 October 2019
October 2019 CHP Corner

Dan Sowers, CHP Corner Editor

Although the CHP Corner is produced by the American Academy of Health Physics (AAHP), it is relevant to all health physicists, not just those who are certified!

The October 2019 issue of the CHP Corner has been posted to the AAHP website. This edition includes:

  • Thoughts on risk communication versus facing our own mortality.
  • ABHP exam application reminder.
  • Online submission of continuing education credits.
9 October 2019
Vermont Becomes 39th NRC Agreement State

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chairman Kristine L. Svinicki and Vermont Governor Philip B. Scott have signed an agreement to give Vermont regulatory authority over certain radioactive materials in the state. Vermont is the 39th state to sign such an agreement with the NRC.

Under the agreement, effective 30 September 2019, Vermont assumes responsibility for licensing, rulemaking, inspection, and enforcement activities related to the industrial, medical, and academic uses of radioactive material. The NRC is transferring 36 academic, commercial, and medical licenses for radioactive material to Vermont's jurisdiction.

NRC retains jurisdiction over the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, which is currently decommissioning, as well as federal agencies using certain nuclear material in the state.

Before entering into the agreement, the NRC determined that Vermont's radiation control program is adequate to protect public health and safety and is compatible with the NRC's regulations. The proposed agreement was published in the Federal Register for four consecutive weeks for public comment.

More information about the Agreement State Program, including a list of Agreement States, is available on the NRC website.

9 October 2019
IRPA 15 Oral Abstract Submission Extended to 31 October

Due to the overwhelming interest in oral presentations at the 15th International Congress of the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA 15), the International Congress Programme Committee of IRPA 15 has decided to extend the deadline of abstract submissions for oral presentations to 31 October.

All abstracts must be submitted electronically through the website only. Abstracts submitted via email, fax, or regular mail will neither be accepted nor acknowledged. Submitted abstracts can be revised on the website during the abstract submission period.

All submitted abstracts will be reviewed and assigned to appropriate session. Notification on acceptance will be sent to the submitter by email.

An abstract template and the call for papers, with details about abstract and paper submission, are available.

1 October 2019
October 2019 Short Course Listing

The October short course offerings have been posted on the Short Courses page of the HPS website. Information on the following courses is available:

Radiation Safety Officer Training Course—Radiation Safety & Control Services, Inc.

Operation and Calibration of Instruments—Radiation Safety & Control Services, Inc.

Gamma Spectroscopy—ORAU'S Professional Training Programs

Site Characterization in Support of Decommissioning: Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation—ORAU'S Professional Training Programs

Facility Decommissioning Training Course—Argonne National Laboratory

30 September 2019
ICRP 2019 Keynote Speakers to Include Canadian Astronaut Dr. Robert Thirsk

The 5th International Symposium on the System of Radiological Protection (ICRP 2019), 17–21 November in Adelaide, Australia, will feature four days of presentations and discussions on "Mines, Medicine, and Mars."

Day 4 of the International Commission on Radiological Protection's (ICRP) biennial symposia series will feature Dr. Robert Thirsk, who has academic backgrounds in mechanical engineering, medicine, and business administration and has flown on two space missions as a member of the Canadian Space Agency's astronaut corps. Day 4 will include presentations and panel discussions on the current work and future trends of RP in space.

The Australasian Radiation Protection Society (ARPS) will hold its annual forum on Day 1 and will mark the commencement of the ARPS Trade Exhibition. Also on Day 1 will be the Bo Lindell lecture, given by 2019 Bo Lindell Medal recipient Liz Ainsbury.

On Day 2—"Mines"—will include topics related to the mining industry on RP of workers, public, and the environment; radon in mining and beyond; and other NORM industries. The panel will consist of discussions on NORM, mines, and future trends. Keynote speaker is Laura Tyler, asset president of Olympic Dam and chief geoscientist at BHP.

Day 3 will feature Professor Brendan Murphy, chief medical officer for the Australian Government and the principal medical adviser to the minister and the Department of Health. He also holds direct responsibility for the Department of Health's Office of Health Protection and the Health Workforce Division. Day 3 will also include sessions on health practitioners, the role of equipment manufacturers in RP, and patient focus. The panel will discuss raising awareness of RP in medicine.

The detailed program ICRP 2019 will be released soon on the ICRP 2019 website, where registration, sponsorship and exhibition packages, program information, and more can also be found. For more information about this event, or anything ICRP related, please contact ICRP Development and Communications Manager Kelsey Cloutier.

30 September 2019
Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum

The fall meeting of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum) will be held 31 October–1 November 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. The LLW Forum will include a meeting of the Disused Sources Working Group where the Health Physics Society will be represented.

30 September 2019
NRC Awards Fiscal Year 2019 Academic Grants

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has awarded 45 grants to 33 academic institutions in 19 states and Puerto Rico, totaling $15 million in fiscal year 2019.

Recipients include four-year universities and colleges, two-year trade school and community colleges, and minority-serving institutions, which are a federally recognized category of educational establishments.

Congress authorized the NRC to provide federal funding opportunities to qualified academic institutions to encourage careers and research in nuclear, mechanical and electrical engineering, health physics, and related fields to meet expected future workforce needs. Recipients are to use the grants for scholarships, fellowships, and faculty development.

More than 5,200 students in 35 states and Puerto Rico have been recipients of the NRC program over its 10-year tenure. Through this program, NRC has funded multiple research and development, educational and training, and experiential learning projects to enhance academic excellence and to produce a skilled future workforce.

The NRC announces grant opportunities on www.grants.gov, which enables the public to find and apply for federal funding opportunities. Information regarding the review process also is available. A panel of reviewers, from academia and the NRC, evaluates the grant proposals. The panel composition is diverse, with most reviewers having experience reviewing proposals for government agencies and advanced credentials in nuclear engineering, health physics, radiochemistry, or related disciplines. All panelists must certify no conflict of interest for the proposals they evaluate.

The complete list of grants awarded and general information about the grant program are available on the NRC's website.

30 September 2019
In Memoriam: Thomas S. Tenforde

Health Physics Society member Thomas S. Tenforde passed away on 6 September 2019. His obituary can be found on the HPS website In Memoriam page.

11 September 2019
Radiochemist Elizabeth Rona Recognized

Radiochemist Elizabeth Rona was recently recognized in The New York Times series Overlooked, which is "about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times." The interesting article is available on The New York Times website (may have to register to see article).

Health Physics Society member Joel Lubenau noted that the list of persons with whom she collaborated reads like a who's who of notable early radioactivity researchers. He said Rona contributed a revealing article about early health physics practices (or the lack of them) to Health Physics, "Laboratory Contamination in the Early Period of Radiation Research," 37:6 (December 1979): 723-727.

5 September 2019
Continuing Education Committee

HELP WANTED

The Health Physics Society (HPS) Continuing Education Committee is looking for individuals to provide Continuing Education Lectures (CELs) and Professional Enrichment Programs (PEPs) at the upcoming 2020 HPS Midyear Meeting.

All of us aspire to be the best health physicist we can and look forward to the many opportunities for continuing education at meetings. The HPS Continuing Education Program continues to evolve as it relies upon all of you for its success—experts conveying their knowledge to better our profession.

If you have an idea for a CEL or PEP, send it to Elaine Marshall as soon as you can. Abstracts need to be submitted to the Secretariat to include in the registration forms by the end of September.

CEL and PEP instructors do receive some compensation for their work in putting together a course.

The Board of Directors is also working through the Continuing Education Committee to pilot livestreaming a continuing education lecture at the next annual meeting. Please let Elaine know if you might be interested in offering the lecture that would be livestreamed.

28 August 2019
Student Page Charge Waivers Available for Publishing in Health Physics or Operational Radiation Safety

If you are a student and prepared a poster or presentation for the annual meeting, you should consider submitting it for publication because it furthers your professional status and Health Physics has fee waivers for eligible students. The funding for this comes from a "special projects" initiative the Health Physics Society negotiated with our publisher. The funds are first come, first serve, until they are gone.

If your manuscript is accepted for publication, the waiver will cover page charges of $70 per printed page. These page charges help cover some costs of publication and are essential to the continuing operations of the Journal. After publication, 50 electronic reprints will be sent to the corresponding author.

Waivers cover only page charges; they do not cover any color-figure charges that might apply. If you require color on your figures, tables, or artwork, you will be charged $500 for the first color figure and $150 for each additional color figure. Note that these fees may change without notice.

Start your publishing career early for little to no cost. Health Physics Journal is a great opportunity to share your research results with the world. Additional information and a request for waiver form that can be submitted with your manuscript is available online.

14 August 2019
NNSA Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty Interviews, Part II

Kelly Classic, Web Ops Editor in Chief

Here is Part II of our interview with National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, who recently spoke at the 2019 Health Physics Society (HPS) annual meeting in Orlando.

Part II Questions

What advice would you give to younger health physicists with regard to their career?

HPS has chapters all around the world. Are there things we can do as a society to further help the NNSA's mission? (Missions: maintaining the stockpile, nonproliferation, counter terrorism, powering the Navy)

It appears that safeguarding the nuclear arsenal has historically been one of NNSA's roles and that you have added a focus on the prevention of RDDs partly through the exchange of source-based equipment (like cesium irradiators) to x-ray-based irradiators. How has the focus on RDDs changed the role of radiation protection/security professionals at NNSA?

You had indicated in your talk that there is a goal by 2027 to be cesium-irradiator free. Are you on target?

Is there anything else you'd like to share with HPS membership?

14 August 2019
Homeland Security Section
2019 Service Award

John J. Lanza received the Homeland Security Section's 2019 Service Award at the recent HPS meeting in Orlando. Submitted photo

1 August 2019
Upcoming HPS Meetings

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

1 August 2019
Military Health Physics Section
2019 Superior Civilian Service Award

Robert W. Young, PhD (second from right) receiving the Military Health Physics Section's 2019 Superior Civilian Service Award at the HPS meeting last month. Bob is joined by (left to right) LTC John Bliss, US Army (Ret.), Bob's wife, Ann Parker, and Military Health Physics Section President Colonel John Cuellar, MS, US Army. Photo courtesy of Casper Sun

1 August 2019
Military Health Physics Section
2019 Young Military Health Physicist
of the Year Award

Major Matthew Stokley, MS, US Army, right, receiving the Military Health Physics Section's 2019 Young Military Health Physicist of the Year Award from LTC Jama D. Vanhorne-Sealy, MS, US Army at the HPS meeting last month in Orlando. Photo courtesy of Casper Sun

1 August 2019
Military Health Physics Section
2019 John C. Taschner Leadership Award

Colonel Robert N. Cherry, Jr., US Army (Ret.), left, receives the Military Health Physics Section's 2019 John C. Taschner Leadership Award at the Orlando HPS meeting last month. The award is presented by Military Health Physics Section President Colonel John Cuellar, MS, US Army. Photo courtesy of Casper Sun

1 August 2019
HP Brothers at 2019 HPS Annual Meeting

What's the likelihood of three brothers all following their father into the field of health physics? The Fairchilds are also all members of the Health Physics Society and were together at the annual meeting in Orlando. Left to right, Greg Fairchild is a radiation health officer with the US Navy, Robert Fairchild II is a health physicist and deputy laser safety officer at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Brian Fairchild is the assistant health physics and safety manager at the University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR). Their father, Frank Fairchild, has retired after working almost 40 years as a health physicist. Photo courtesy of Debbie Gilley

1 August 2019
Health Physics Society Board at 2019 HPS Annual Meeting

Members of the HPS Board, left to right, Secretary Sander Perle, Director Kendall Berry, Director Tim Taulbee, Director Mike Mahathy, President Eric Goldin, Director Jeffrey Whicker, Director Jan Braun, Treasurer Steven King, and Treasurer-elect Ali Simpkins. Not pictured: Past President Nolan Hertel, Executive Director Brett Burk, Director Thomas Johnston, Director Thomas Morgan, and Director Latha Vasudevan. Photo courtesy of Casper Sun

1 August 2019
2019 Health Physics Society Fellows

Members of the 2019 class of HPS fellows, left to right, Timothy A. DeVol, Brant Ulsh, James P. Tarzia, Paul K. Blake, Scott Schwahn, and J. Stewart Bland. Not pictured: Elyse Thomas. Photo courtesy of Casper Sun

1 August 2019
Illinois Tech Health Physics Program at 2019 HPS Annual Meeting

Faculty members and staff from the Illinois Tech Health Physics Program hosted its growing family at the 2019 HPS Annual Meeting on 9 July. Twenty-plus students and alumni, including five sponsored under the HPS Student Travel Grant, attended the meeting. The meeting venues offered students a great opportunity to learn the profession and to enjoy the friendship. Front row, left to right, Jeff Reilly, Samantha Johnson, Lexi Detweiler, Hanna Bunting, Chad Mullins, Trish Hander, Valerie Grayson, Liz Friedman, and S.Y. Chen; back row, left to right, Shirley Xu, Robert Litman, Julia Sober, Sam Schumacher, Tim Gildea, Matt Bruette, Ian Hoppie, Trent Yadro, Jonathan Haas, Phillip Campbell, Rick Whitman, and Dewoun Hayes. Illinois Tech alumni attendees not present in the photo: Mirela Kirr, Eugene Jablonski, Bob May, and Erin Evans. Photo courtesy of S.Y. Chen

1 August 2019
Chelation Special Session at 2019 HPS Annual Meeting

Presenters at the chelation special session at the HPS meeting in Orlando included, left to right, Mitch Findley (MJW Corporation), Rebecca Abergel (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), Steve Sugarman (Summit Exercises and Training), John Klumpp (Los Alamos National Laboratory), Luiz Bertelli (Los Alamos National Laboratory), Tom LaBone (MJW Corporation), Deepesh Poudel (Los Alamos National Laboratory), Ray Guilmette (Ray Guilmette and Associates), Anne Van der Meeren (CEA, France), Sara Dumit (Los Alamos National Laboratory), and Ron Goans (MJW Corporation). Photo courtesy of Moira Dooley

1 August 2019
Public Information Committee at 2019 HPS Annual Meeting

The Public Information Committee met at the HPS Meeting in Orlando. Those in attendance were, left to right, Ali Simpkins, Steve Sugarman, Emily Caffrey, Dan Sowers, and Sara Dumit. Photo courtesy of Ali Simpkins

31 July 2019
Interview With NNSA Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty

Kelly Classic, Web Ops Editor in Chief

National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty recently spoke at the 2019 Health Physics Society (HPS) Annual Meeting in Orlando. After her talk, she agreed to be interviewed by Deepesh Poudel and me (and videoed by Craig Little). We broke the interview into two parts, one for this newsletter and one for the next.

We always learn something new when we create videos. In this case, we learned that Deepesh and I were either a bit too far from the microphone or need to speak up. Because it is difficult to hear us in the video, I've listed the questions below. We will do better next time!

Hope you enjoy.

Part I Questions

How did you end up in the profession of health physics?

Your plenary presentation centered around an aging workforce and an effort to recruit more young people into health physics/radiation protection fields. For several years, HPS has been talking to folks on Capitol Hill about funding for the Integrated Universities Program—sometimes successfully, sometimes not. How do you think we, NNSA and HPS, can work together on collaborative initiatives to draw more students into health physics programs?

We've read about NNSA's impact on removing the use of highly enriched uranium that is used for shielding Moly generators that are used to obtain 99mTc for medical procedures. This is one of the ways of reducing possible access to nuclear materials that could be used for weapons. Are there other efforts like that?

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