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Current News

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.

     

    2 September 2014
    $300,000 ASSE Research Grant

    The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) Foundation Research Program has announced the creation of a landmark $300,000 grant to fund the development of knowledge in the safety and health sciences.

    In alignment with the foundation's mission, this grant will provide an excellent opportunity for scholars and researchers to perform groundbreaking studies and bring new ideas to the safety community.

    Most importantly, this grant will assist safety and health professionals in mitigating the risks of injury and illness in the workplace.

    Those wishing to submit a full proposal must first submit a 5–8 page white paper detailing their proposed research, due 1 October 2014. Proposals should be focused on safety-related topics of the NIOSH-National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA).

    The Foundation Research Committee expects to consider 6 to 12 white papers for funding based on their scientific merit, efficacy of the research design, and potential impact of the research results.

    Authors of selected white papers will be required to submit full research proposals by 1 February 2015.

    To learn more about the Foundation Research Program and specifics about the proposal process, click here.

    For further information, contact Brenda Kay Zylstra at bzylstra@asse.org.

     

    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.

     

    22 August 2014
    EPA Updates RadTown

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) student-focused radiation website, RadTown, has launched with a new look and feel. This interactive, virtual community provides information for students and teachers about different radiation sources, links to additional information, and all-new graphics and content.

    A new addition to RadTown is EPA's Radiation Education Activities for middle and high school students (grades 6–12), which includes lesson plans covering radiation basics, sources of radiation, radiation protection, exposure versus contamination, uranium mining methods, radon, and more. All educational activities are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and the Vocabulary Materials are aligned with the Common Core State Standards.

    Visit the all-new RadTown USA at epa.gov/radtown.

    Questions or comments can be directed to Angela Shogren at Shogren.angela@epa.gov or 202-343-9761.

     

    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.

     

    30 June 2014
    National Nuclear Science Week - 20–24 October

    National Nuclear Science Week, 20–24 October 2014, is a national, broadly observed, week-long celebration to focus local, regional, and national interest on all aspects of nuclear science. Each day will provide for learning about the contributions, innovations, and opportunities that can be found by exploring nuclear science.

    During the week, educators, students, employers, and the community will participate in a national recognition of how nuclear science plays a vital role in the lives of Americans . . . and the world. Activities during the week are intended to build awareness of the contributions of the nuclear science industry and those who work in it every day.

    More information can be found on the National Nuclear Science Week website.

     

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