Current News

24 September 2016
Low-Level Waste Workshop Hosted by NAS

A Low-level Waste Management and Disposition Workshop will be hosted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS).

Low-level waste is the most volumetrically significant waste stream (millions of cubic meters) being generated by the Department of Energy’s cleanup program. Low-level waste is physically and chemically diverse, ranging from lightly contaminated soils and building materials to highly irradiated nuclear reactor components. This workshop brings together experts to examine the management and disposition of low-level radioactive waste in the United States and internationally. The sessions will highlight successful case studies and apply common themes from those successes to low-level waste streams without a clear disposition pathway.

The Workshop will be held 24-25 October 2016 at the Keck Center, 500 5th St NW, Washington  DC 20001.

Attendees can register at http://dels.nas.edu/Upcoming-Workshop/Level-Radioactive-Waste-Management/AUTO-6-58-82-D?bname=nrsb.

 

23 September 2016
NRC Issues Revised Volumes of NUREG-1556

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that it has issued Revision 2 to NUREG–1556, Volumes 1 and 3 and Revision 1 to NUREG–1556, Volumes 2, 4, 10, 15, and 19, revising licensing guidance for various materials licenses. These documents have been updated to include information on updated regulatory requirements, safety culture, security of radioactive materials, protection of sensitive information, and changes in regulatory policies and practices. The documents are intended for use by applicants, licensees, and the NRC staff. 

Topics are as follows:

  • Volume 1 - Portable gauges
  • Volume 2 - Industrial radiography
  • Volume 3 - Sealed sources and devices
  • Volume 4 - Fixed gauges
  • Volume 10 - Master material licenses
  • Volume 15 - Changes of control and bankruptcy and
  • Volume 19 - Reciprocity

These NUREG–1556 volumes are available on the NRC’s public Web site on the: ‘‘Consolidated Guidance About Materials Licenses (NUREG–1556)" page at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/staff/sr1556/.

 

7 September 2016
Midyear Meeting in Bethesda News and Abstract Deadline

The 2017 Health Physics Society (HPS) Midyear Meeting will be held in the thriving urban district of Bethesda, Maryland. Bethesda is brimming with nearly 200 restaurants, two live theatres, 20 art galleries, and some of the best shopping in the Washington, DC, metro area. Bethesda is also the home of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Bethesda Naval Hospital (Bethesda Naval Medical Center), and the National Institutes of Health. The midyear meeting will not be a topical meeting, so we are strongly soliciting the full spectrum of radiation protection specialties. All are welcome to come to share their world to make this a wonderful midyear session!
 
Contributed abstracts are requested for sessions on the following topics:

  • Accelerator                               
  • Biokinetics/Bioeffects                  
  • Decommissioning                       
  • Emergency Planning/Response    
  • Environmental                          
  • External Dosimetry                   
  • Homeland Security                    
  • Instrumentation                        
  • Internal Dosimetry and Bioassay
  • Medical Physics
  • Military Health Physics
  • Nonionizing
  • Operational Health Physics
  • Reactor Health Physics
  • Regulatory/Legal Issues
  • Risk Analysis
  • Other Special Session (specify)

Submit your abstract (including special session abstracts!) through the HPS website. The deadline for submitting abstracts is 12 September 2016.
 
Full presentations/posters can be submitted later. Submittal and presentation guidelines can be found in the Meetings section of the HPS website.

Bethesda North Marriott Hotel
HPS Group Rates start at $169 per night. Book your room reservation at https://aws.passkey.com/event/14767364/owner/2644099/home.

 

7 September 2016
September HP News Articles

In the September issue of Health Physics News, our cover story deals with the reality of academic health physics programs in the United States. Buckle your seat belts—it is a rough ride!
 
Bob Cherry is now our president and provides us with the first of his monthly messages. Among other things, he is going to be focused on governance issues and has provided some food for thought on that topic. Bob seeks input and guidance from the members and Society leaders on the proper course of action.
 
Our treasurer, Mike Lewandowski, tells us that we had a financially challenging year in 2015 and need to take appropriate steps to avoid any similar setbacks in 2016 or future years.
 
Elsewhere in this issue you will find an abundance of useful information, including:

  • John Boice reaching a milestone—his 50th report, this one providing an overview of the 63rd meeting of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation.
  • Andy Karam reporting on an "old book" whose message is still valid in these days of homeland security worries about nuclear devices.
  • Joe Bevelacqua, one of our more prolific authors, publishing a new book titled Health Physics: Radiation-Generating Devices, Characteristics, and Hazards.
  • Chapter news from the New England and Baltimore Washington Chapters.
  • Our very active Military Health Physics Section providing citations for the section's 2016 awards recognizing exceptional achievements by three section members and the Medical Health Physics Section reporting on its recent activities.
  • David Connolly discussing federal agency actions dealing with government-imposed restrictions on scientific meeting attendance.
  • The CHP Corner bringing us up to date on what occurred during the 2016 HPS Annual Meeting, who the new leaders are, and a big thank-you to those who completed their service to the Academy in 2016.

Click here to access the current issue of Health Physics News. Alternatively, you may click here to go to the HPS website newsletter page (from which you may access this or any of the past issues of Health Physics News). We always appreciate reader feedback, so please contact me, Howard Dickson, at webed@hps.org.

 

25 August 2016
Workshop on Adopting SI in the United States - Agenda Available

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is planning the workshop Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States to discuss how the adoption of System Internationale (SI) units for radiation measurements in the United States could improve information exchanges and communications.

The workshop is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is scheduled for 29–30 September 2016 in Washington, DC. The workshop is free. It may also be viewed by webcast. More information and the meeting agenda are now available on the National Academies website.

 

25 August 2016
Results of HPS Membership Survey on Future Directions

The Health Physics Society (HPS) Membership Survey on Future Directions has been completed by the Task Force on Future Directions. The results can be found on the HPS Members Only website, on the top of the Publications page. Over 800 members responded to the survey and shared their views on the topics. The results have been reviewed by the HPS Board. The Task Force on Future Directions will continue to review all the suggestions and provide exceptional ones to the Executive Committee for possible inclusion in an update of the HPS Strategic Plan 2020 (Members Only website under Organization, then Operations).

Nancy Kirner stated in the August issue of Health Physics News (Members Only website under Publications):

The Executive Committee was tasked to draft a strategic plan by the midyear meeting in North Bethesda, Maryland, 22–25 January 2017. Strategic plans identify the organization’s current state and the desired state at some specific point in the future. Strategic plans set long-term objectives and define short-term activities to reach those objectives. Strategic plans implement the organization’s purpose (mission) and vision. I expect that we will be bridging to and modifying our HPS 2020. I would also expect that by next spring, during the budget cycle, the committees will be asked to develop SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) goals that implement the updated strategic plan.

 

 

12 August 2016
New Revision to ALARA Regulatory Guide

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued Revision 2 to Regulatory Guide (RG) 8.10, "Operating Philosophy for Maintaining Occupational Radiation Exposures as Low as Is Reasonably Achievable." This revision describes methods and procedures that the NRC staff considers acceptable for maintaining radiation exposures to employees and the public as low as is reasonably achievable (ALARA). Revision 2 of RG 8.10 was issued with a temporary identification of Draft Regulatory Guide, DG-8033. Revision 2 addresses changes identified since Revision 1 was issued in September 1975 (the NRC issued Revision 1-R in May 1977). 

In 1991 the NRC promulgated amendments to part 20 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) (56 FR 23360; 21 May 1991). The 1991 rulemaking included substantive amendments to 10 CFR Part 20 as well as a renumbering of those regulations. As such, this revision to the regulatory guide aligns with the regulatory structure of current 10 CFR Part 20 by updating the regulatory guide's 10 CFR Part 20 cross-references.    

In addition, this revision includes additional guidance from operating ALARA experience since 1975. It provides more details describing management responsibilities to ensure commitment to ALARA.

 

11 August 2016
Professional Liability Insurance

Many radiation safety professionals are in need of professional liability insurance. As a leading U.S. insurance broker, Alliant Insurance Services offers sophisticated risk-management advice and insurance placement for property and casualty and employee benefits risks. Insurance provides coverage for middle-market commercial companies, nonprofits, public entities, and individuals and has access to all major insurance markets. Alliant is ranked in the top 15 insurance brokers in the country.

The Health Physics Society is not endorsing this company, but sharing information that it has received from other scientific societies in the United States.

 

3 August 2016
Updated Report on the Number of HP Degrees in 2015 Lowest in Over a Decade

"Health Physics Enrollments and Degrees Survey, 2015 Data" has been updated with new information from an additional institution.

The overall number of undergraduate students who graduated in 2015 with health physics degrees dropped to the lowest level in more than a decade, according to the latest annual study conducted by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. The institute surveyed 22 health physics programs, representing nearly all such programs at the nation's universities.

The report showed that a total of 151 bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees were granted between 1 September 2014 and 31 August 2015.

 

25 July 2016
NAS Workshop on Adopting SI Units for Radiation Measurements

The workshop "Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States" will be held 29–30 September 2016 at 2101 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20418.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is planning a workshop to discuss how the adoption of SI units for radiation measurements in the United States could improve information exchanges and communications. The workshop is sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More information on the workshop, including an agenda draft and registration instructions, will be available soon. Comments should be sent to NRSB@nas.edu.

 

25 July 2016
Draft IRPA Guidance on Certification of a Radiation Protection Expert

The final text for comments on the "IRPA Guidance on Certification of a Radiation Protection Expert" is ready for review. The guidance was produced by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (IRPA) Task Group (TG), chaired by Kent Lambert and Colin Partington. The previous draft was distributed before the IRPA14 Congress in Cape Town, where an open meeting to discuss the guidance and collect comments took place. The TG chairs then prepared the current final text for comments.

The TG was launched in July 2013 with the objective "to develop a document of guiding principles for the development and implementation of a certification process for Radiation Protection Expert that would be useful to IRPA Associate Societies that would like to initiate such a certification process or improve an existing process in their countries."

Comments are expected by 30 September 2016 and can be emailed to kent.lambert@drexel.edu or eduardo.gallego@upm.es. The IRPA guidance is expected to receive final approval by the Executive Council in November 2016 in Madrid.

 

25 July 2016
New IRPA Bulletin

The International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA) has posted IRPA Bulletin 10, a special issue covering the IRPA14 meeting that was held in South Africa 9–13 May 2016. 

 

5 July 2016
No Page Charges for Student Papers in HPS Journals

Health Physics students, here's your opportunity to publish your work free of page charges in the journals Health Physics and Operational Radiation Safety. Mike Ryan, editor of Health Physics, and Craig Little, editor of Operational Radiation Safety, are always looking for ways to encourage students to submit papers for publication. An objection that we sometimes hear is that students have no funds to pay for published page charges. While the page charges of the Health Physics Society's (HPS) journals are modest at $70 per published page, that amount is still sometimes an obstacle. Therefore, for the next year, from 1 July 2016 through 30 June 2017, we are offering to publish papers written by students free of page charges.

To qualify for publication without page charges, the paper must be submitted to one of the journals via the Editorial Manager website before the student author graduates. The student's academic advisor must verify the student's status. Additionally, the student must be the senior and corresponding author of the paper. Finally, since color figures are expensive to produce, there will be a charge for such figures at the rate published in the author guidelines on the Editorial Manager website.

 

14 April 2016
18 May Deadline for 2016 NORM VIII Symposium Young Professional Awards

The 2016 NORM VIII Symposium will be held 18–21 October 2016 and will bring a worldwide audience to Rio de Janeiro, where the first effort of a worldwide exchange of experiences in the naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) field occurred 17 years ago. The Technologically Enhanced Natural Radiation (TENR II) Symposium was attended by participants from 22 countries, representing all regions of the world.

The 2016 symposium will address the radiation protection control of NORM and will include the results of new research, explore practical case studies of industrial applications and waste-disposal practices, and evaluate the practical implication of international and national standards, as well as identifying new societal needs and technical requirements for regulators and industry on NORM. Possible solutions for using, recycling, and disposal of NORM residues will be another focus area, as well as the quality of NORM sampling and measurements.

The event is an essential platform for NORM industries, academic and research institutions, and regulatory authorities to share experiences, review progress made, identify opportunities, and provide an in-depth analysis of current challenges. The symposium offers a multitude of possibilities and opportunities for networking.

Taking into account that NORM VIII is an excellent opportunity for students and young professionals to get the newest technical information, while making important industry contacts, the 2016 NORM VIII Symposium committees invite students and young professionals to apply for the Young Professional Awards.

This opportunity is only open to students or professionals up to 35 years old who are the first author of a paper and whose extended abstract and presentation have been better rated by the Award Committee. Three awards will be delivered to the selected young scientists and professionals: first place (US$1,500), second place (US$700), and third place (US$350), according to the Award Commitee criteria. The awards will be announced in the closing ceremony of NORM VIII.

The contributed papers submission deadline is soon—18 May 2016.

 

30 December 2015
Fukushima Releases: The Truth

Recently, a number of websites have reported grossly false information regarding radioactive releases during the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. Here are the key facts that refute those claims.

The erroneous information cites a recently “declassified report”:

The claim is that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) “declassified” documents about Fukushima in December 2015. The truth is that the documents were requested through the Freedom of Information Act and were provided in May 2012, and more documents were provided in March 2014. None of these documents were ever “classified” in the legal sense.

The erroneous information claims that the report says “25% of the total fuel in unit 2 . . . , 50% of the total spent fuel from unit 3 . . . , and 100% of the total spent fuel . . . from unit 4” was released to the atmosphere:

Yes, these are the hypothetical releases that were evaluated in an attempt to understand the worst possible situation. No, these are not the amounts that were released from the reactors or spent fuel rods.

 The truth is that there was a high degree of uncertainty regarding actual releases early in the accident and continuing for several weeks. As a result, the NRC asked the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC) to provide dose estimates for two or more hypothetical scenarios to set bounds on the potential protective actions that might be taken.

 The NRC documents clearly identify those percentages as a hypothetical bounding case, which they asked NARAC to consider. The hypothetical releases were described as a “worst-case scenario” and “realistic worst case.” The NARAC report clearly states the scenario was hypothetical, and the documents also state “There is no evidence this scenario has occurred.”

Read the truth for yourself. These are the notes provided by the NRC on 8 May 2012 and 7 March 2014.

What was released?

Actual (not hypothetical) data show that ultimately there was major fuel damage in Units 1, 2, and 3 reactor cores. Through about mid-March of 2011, releases from these cores were primarily volatile fission products released to air, as well as some soluble fission products released to water. There has been no evidence of releases from any of the on-site spent fuel pools (http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/safety-and-security/safety-of-plants/fukushima-accident/). The total release from the Fukushima accident was about 10-15% that of Chernobyl, though by element, the iodine release was less than 25% and the cesium release was less than 45% of the Chernobyl releases (http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/Publications/PDF/AdditionalVolumes/P1710/Pub1710-TV1-Web.pdf).

Want more true facts about the Fukushima accident?

Check out the reputable resources listed on the Health Physics Society’s website at http://hps.org/fukushima/.

Barbara Hamrick, CHP, JD

 

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