The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to add new health and environmental protection standards to regulations promulgated under the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act of 1978 (UMTRCA or the Act). The proposed standards will regulate byproduct materials produced by uranium in situ recovery (ISR), including both surface and subsurface standards, with a primary focus on groundwater protection, restoration, and stability. The rationale is that ISR facilities have a greater potential to affect groundwater than do conventional uranium mills, which were the predominant processing mode when UMTRCA was enacted.
EPA proposes to add an additional subpart within 40 CFR 192 to explicitly address groundwater protection at uranium ISR operations. A new subpart F is being proposed that would set standards that would apply to uranium ISR facilities only. The overall purpose of this subpart is to address the most significant hazards represented by ISR activities. The section would include a new standards section to specify the minimum 13 constituents for which groundwater protection standards must be met. The list includes arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium, silver, nitrate (as N), molybdenum, combined radium-226 and radium-228, uranium (total), and gross alpha-particle activity (excluding radon and uranium). A new monitoring section would detail the specific requirements of monitoring programs to be conducted during the preoperational, operational, restoration, stability, and long-term stability phases.
Comments are due on or before 27 April 2015.
Students, are you giving a presentation or poster at the annual meeting on a topic related to accelerator health physics? If so, please note that your presentation or poster automatically will be considered for one of two student awards given each year by the Health Physics Society Accelerator Section. No need to apply; the judges will identify your topic from the abstract you submitted.
For more information on the H. Wade Patterson Memorial Award and the Lutz Moritz Memorial Award, please see the Accelerator Section website.
The abstract due date is Saturday, 7 February 2015. Submittals can be made online.
The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) has released Statement No. 11, "Outline of Administrative Policies for Quality Assurance and Peer Review of Tissue Reactions Associated with Fluoroscopically-Guided Interventions."
This statement is particularly pertinent to interventional cardiologists, interventional radiologists, and any other physicians doing interventional procedures and to the administrators and executives in health care organizations.
The statement is intended to clarify recommendations given in NCRP Report No. 168, Radiation Dose Management for Fluoroscopically-Guided Interventional [FGI] Medical Procedures (NCRP, 2010). It provides detailed recommendations for a facility's quality assurance-peer review (QA-PR) process and recommendations for administrative practices for the evaluation of known or suspected FGI radiation injuries. Facilities typically investigate and characterize all unusual medical events via a QA-PR committee composed of professional peers of the involved practitioner. Evaluating those radiation management processes and practices discussed in this statement shall be a part of an interventional service's QA-PR program.
NCRP Report No. 168 emphasizes that the safe performance of FGI procedures requires controlling radiation dose in order to prevent unexpected or avoidable tissue reactions and to minimize the severity of medically unavoidable injuries. It also provides guidance for controlling dose and for patient post-procedure follow-up. Similar guidance has been provided by professional societies and by several national and international organizations.
The statement is available online at ncrponline.org/Publications/Statements/Statement_11.pdf.
The Health Physics Society (HPS) takes pride in recognizing and honoring distinguished members and other individuals who have made important contributions to our Society and profession. Competitive nomination packages that meet submission requirements require time and effort. The purpose of this message is to remind members that the deadline for HPS award nominations is 1 March 2015, except for the National Student Science Award, which is due by 30 May.
The Awards Committee encourages individual members, chapter presidents, and section presidents to identify and nominate candidates worthy of recognition. Eligibility criteria, nomination requirements, and further details are given in Society Rule 13.
Please address any specific questions to Darrell Fisher, chair of the Awards Committee, by email at email@example.com or by phone at 509-375-5128.
The call for papers and abstract submittal for the Health Physics Society 60th Annual Meeting, 12–16 July 2015, in Indianapolis, Indiana, is available online.
The abstract submittal information on the web page is also available in PDF format: HPS - 2015 Call for Papers - Indianapolis.pdf. The abstract due date is Saturday 7 February 2015.
Any questions should be sent to Program Committee Task Force Chair Mike Mahathy at HPSProgram@burkinc.com.
For International Poster Session, submit using the online webpage. For questions, contact Karen Barcal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The last day to preregister at discounted rates for the 2015 Health Physics Society (HPS) Midyear Meeting in Norfolk, Virginia, is 20 January. The link to register for the meeting is at the end of this article.
This will be the first midyear to follow a new format—the meeting will feature presentations covering a wide range of radiation protection specialties instead of being focused on just one topic.
The meeting will open on Sunday evening, 1 February, with a Super Bowl welcome reception, featuring refreshments and screens for viewing the games.Look at the program and PEP sessions here. Register for the meeting here.
It is important to register at the Marriott hotel under the HPS code since the number of rooms booked under the HPS block helps reduce costs of our meetings.
Planning is ongoing for the Health Physics Society's 60th Annual Meeting Exhibition to be held 12–16 July 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Continuing Education Committee invites submission of abstracts for the Professional Enrichment Program (PEP) and Continuing Education (CEL) presentations at the annual meeting. The deadline for submitting abstracts for the 2015 Annual Meeting is 13 February 2015.
Please submit your abstract to Elaine Marshall at email@example.com.
Don't forget to check out the online program for the 2015 Health Physics Society Midyear Meeting. The online program allows for searches by author, title, abstract, or keywords. See the talks that will be given every day, the PEPs, and the CELs.
The preliminary program is also available for download as a PDF.
The meeting will be held 1–4 February in Norfolk, Virginia. Discounted registration can be made through 20 January 2015.
The Health Physics Society (HPS) election results are in. Taking office at the 2015 HPS Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, in July will be President-elect Robert Cherry, Treasurer-elect Michael Lewandowski, and Board of Directors members James Bogard, Elaine Marshall, and Debra McBaugh Scroggs.
Congratulations to all.
The Food and Drug Administration has announced the availability of the draft guidance "Radiation Biodosimetry Devices." The draft guidance provides recommendations to assist industry in designing studies to establish the analytical and clinical performance characteristics of radiation biodosimetry medical countermeasure devices. This draft guidance is not final nor is it in effect at this time.
Comments on the draft guidance should be submitted before 30 March 2015.
The National Academies Press has published Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 2 Pilot Planning. It is available for sale in hard copy or as a free download.
The Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities is a pilot study requested by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission to assess the risk of cancer near nuclear facilities in the United States. This effort is being carried out in two phases.
The Phase 1 study recommended two study designs appropriate for assessing cancer risks near nuclear facilities. It also recommended a pilot study of seven nuclear facilities to assess the technical feasibility of the recommended study designs.
The Phase 2 study is the assessment of cancer risks. The pilot, which is part of the Phase 2 study, is being carried out in two steps: pilot planning and pilot execution. The pilot planning (current step) aims to plan for the pilot study. The pilot execution (next step) aims to carry out the pilot study and evaluate the technical feasibility of implementing the two study designs recommended in the Phase 1 study. If implementation of the study designs is feasible, the methods developed and tested in the pilot study could be used to conduct a nationwide study.
Analysis of Cancer Risks in Populations Near Nuclear Facilities: Phase 2 Pilot Planning provides advice to the National Academy of Sciences in performing a number of tasks related to the planning for a pilot epidemiological study, such as identifying the processes for selecting qualified individuals and/or organizations to perform epidemiological and dosimetric tasks and initiating effluent release and meteorological data collection in preparation for estimating doses to the people who live near the pilot nuclear facilities. This brief report serves as a public record of the committee's advice to the National Academy of Sciences on general methodological considerations involved in carrying out the pilot study.
Stephen G. Burns, a 33-year veteran of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and a commissioner since November, has been designated as NRC chairman by President Barack Obama, effective 1 January 2015. Burns replaces outgoing Chairman Allison Macfarlane, who is stepping down to take a position at George Washington University.
"I am pleased to have been selected to serve as the NRC's next chairman. It is a great honor to lead the agency to which I dedicated most of my professional career," Burns said. "I extend my thanks to Dr. Macfarlane for her service and wish her success in her new position. I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners, the NRC staff, and our stakeholders in carrying out the NRC's important mission."
The NRC is headed by five commissioners and is a collegial body that formulates policies, develops regulations, issues orders, and adjudicates legal matters. The NRC commissioners serve five-year terms, with one term expiring every year on 30 June. Burns' term expires in 2019.
Read more on the NRC press release.
Now is the time to make your final hotel and travel arrangements for the 2015 Health Physics Society (HPS) Midyear Meeting being held 1–4 February in Norfolk, Virginia. The special hotel group rates are in effect until 9 January. The hotel rates, flight costs, and registration costs for the meeting are exceptionally reasonable and the technical program provides so much value that the trip should be easy to justify.
The technical programming has been completed. The scheduled presentations cover a variety of interesting topics, and four professional enrichment program (PEP) sessions have been included in the program for added value to attendees.
If you submitted an abstract, you should have received your acceptance letter by now; if you have not or need any other type of assistance, please contact either the HPS Society Business Office at firstname.lastname@example.org, Program Task Force Chair Paul Burress at email@example.com, or Program Committee Chair Tim Kirkham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you a believer in the "banana dose" concept? A Health Physics Society member has recommended an 11-minute-long YouTube video that uses bananas and travel to put radiation exposures in perspective.
The video was posted by a videographer with Veritasium who is filming a television documentary about how radiation has impacted our lives, what is perceived as very "radioactive," and what is dangerous. Veritasium is a science video blog featuring experiments, expert interviews, demonstrations, and discussions with the public about everything science related.
The filming took the videographer to the "most radioactive places" on Earth, including Hiroshima, Chernobyl, and Fukushima, as he presents postapocalyptic landscapes. He also visited nuclear power plants, research reactors, Marie Curie's institute, Einstein's apartment, nuclear medicine areas of hospitals, uranium mines, and even the Trinity bomb site.
As you might expect, there are several errors in the script that most health physicists will immediately recognize. The documentary will be ready for television broadcast in late 2015, so you may want to leave the videographer suggestions for improvements. Overall, however, it is this editor's opinion that it presents a commendable video for public consumption.
Check it out:
By Web Operations Editor in Chief Howard Dickson
The 2015 National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) Annual Meeting—"Changing Regulations and Radiation Guidance: What Does the Future Hold?"—will be held in Bethesda, Maryland, 16-17 March 2015.
Don Cool (U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission) is chair of the Program Committee and Kathy Pryor (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) and Ruth McBurney (Council of Radiation Control Program Directors) are cochairs. Also on the Program Committee are Isaf Al-Nabulsi (U.S. Department of Energy), Armin Ansari (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Renate Czarwinski (International Radiation Protection Association), John D. Boice, Jr., (NCRP president), Jon Edwards (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), John MacKinney (U.S. Department of Homeland Security), Don Miller (Food and Drug Administration [FDA]), Mike Noska (FDA), and Mike Ryan (Health Physics Journal).
Ken Kase (NCRP emeritus vice president) will present the 12th Warren Sinclair Lecture, "Influence of the NCRP on Radiation Protection in the United States: Guidance and Regulation." The 39th Taylor Lecture, "Dosimetry of Internal Emitters: Contributions of Radiation Protection Bodies and Radiological Events," will be given by Keith Eckerman (Oak Ridge National Laboratory). The 1st Thomas Tenforde Topical Lecture, "Ethics and Radiation Protection," will be given by Jacques Lochard (International Commission on Radiological Protection).
The Indy Local Arrangements Committee for the 2015 Health Physics Society (HPS) Annual Meeting has an exciting announcement! In honor of the 60th anniversary of the HPS, we will hold a "day of giving" event. This will be in the form of the first HPS science camp to be held during an annual meeting.
The camp will consist of volunteers along with local students and teachers performing experiments together while learning about radiation and radiation safety. In the process, we will pass along information regarding our profession and educational opportunities. It is our hope to interest the next generation of health physicists and other radiation professionals. We will supply teachers with materials to take back to their classrooms and pass along to their future students.
The camp is in the formative stage, so there are plenty of opportunities for individuals to get involved in a "first." We are looking for volunteers to serve on a committee to oversee the event along with camp "counselors." We are also looking for material donations and for financial support to pay for expendables and take-away materials for the attending teachers.
If you are interested in serving as a committee member or playing a role at the camp, please contact Jeff Mason at Indy2015HPS@yahoo.com. In addition, if you wish to help finance the camp or donate items, please contact Jeff at the same email address. Do not let this opportunity pass you by as we look forward to making a difference in the communities we visit each summer—in Indianapolis and at future HPS meetings.
On 17 November 2014, the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board (NRSB) of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) hosted the meeting "Planning Towards the BEIR VIII Report" 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 presentations of the meeting are now available on the NRSB website.
The Science of Responding to a Nuclear Reactor Accident, the summary of the 2014 Gilbert W. Beebe Symposium presentations and discussions, is available for purchase in paperback or as a free download on the National Academies Press website.
The symposium, dedicated in honor of Gilbert W. Beebe, the distinguished National Cancer Institute radiation epidemiologist who died in 2003, was cohosted by the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Cancer Institute. The symposium topic was prompted by the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that was initiated by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami off the northeast coast of Japan. This was the fourth major nuclear accident that has occurred since the beginning of the nuclear age some 60 years ago. The 1957 Windscale accident in the United Kingdom caused by a fire in the reactor, the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in the United States caused by mechanical and human errors, and the 1986 Chernobyl accident in the former Soviet Union caused by a series of human errors during the conduct of a reactor experiment are the other three major accidents. The rarity of nuclear accidents and the limited amount of existing experiences that have been assembled over the decades heightens the importance of learning from the past.
Reflections on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident: Toward Social-Scientific Literacy and Engineering Resilience has been published electronically by Springer Link.
This book was developed through a collaboration between the University of California Berkeley (UCB) and the University of Tokyo, between social scientists and engineers. Most of the work included in the book was performed after the Fukushima Daiichi Accident in March 2011 and the summer school held at UCB in August 2011.
The content of the book (12,990 KB) is available at no cost in PDF format at on the Springer Link website.
The print version will be available for purchase soon.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is seeking public comment as the staff begins to consider possible changes to radiation protection standards 10 CFR 20.
The agency's radiation protection regulations traditionally have aligned closely with those used internationally, which are issued by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). The ICRP has made changes since the NRC's last update in 1991. The NRC staff has identified six policy and technical issues to be addressed as it begins to develop the technical basis for proposing changes. The request for comment, published in the 25 July 2015 Federal Register, asked for input on these issues.
The comment period has been extended until 24 March 2015.
The NRC has posted material related to the proposed rulemaking on the Federal e-Rulemaking portal at regulations.gov under Docket ID NRC-2009-0279. Comments may be submitted on that website; by email to Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov; by mail to Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff; or by fax to Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 301-415-1101.
Have you looked at your Health Physics Society (HPS) chapter or section website lately? Is it up to date? Does it need a new look?
Chapter and section websites are the responsibility of each individual chapter and section. The primary website server provided by the Society for chapters and sections is http://hpschapters.org/. If your chapter or section has a website on this server and you need help with your site, or if you want to inquire about establishing a new website on this server, contact the server webmaster, Ruediger (Ruedi) Birenheide. The Society expects that all chapter and section websites are kept up to date and have a professional look. There is no cost to chapters or sections to use the server or Ruedi's services.
Ruedi is assisted by HPS member Thomas P. Johnston, who volunteers his time and helps with the design and maintenance of chapter websites.
All chapters and sections need to assign a member to be their webmaster who can either have access to their website to make changes or provide information to Ruedi or Thomas to make updates. Contact Ruediger (Ruedi) Birenheide with any questions or Thomas P. Johnston if you would like his assistance.
Lessons Learned From the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety and Security of U.S. Nuclear Plants is a study of the Fukushima Daiichi accident by the National Academies of Science (NAS). This report examines the causes of the crisis, the performance of safety systems at the plant, and the responses of its operators following the earthquake and tsunami. The report then considers the lessons that can be learned and their implications for U.S. safety and storage of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste, commercial nuclear reactor safety and security regulations, and design improvements.
Lessons Learned makes recommendations to improve plant systems, resources, and operator training to enable effective ad hoc responses to severe accidents. This report's recommendations to incorporate modern risk concepts into safety regulations and improve the nuclear safety culture will help the industry prepare for events that could challenge the design of plant structures and lead to a loss of critical safety functions. The report is available in print for $79.95 or free PDF download.
Health Physics Society President Barbara Hamrick is one of the authors of the report.
The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) has submitted a rulemaking petition requesting that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) amend its regulations in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 37, specifically regarding category 1 and 2 quantities of radioactive materials to remove "unnecessary and burdensome requirements on licensees with established physical security systems."
10 CFR 37 was promulgated by NRC to regulate byproduct material that could by used to make a dirty bomb. The NRC has determined that the petition meets the threshold sufficiency requirements for a petition for rulemaking under § 2.802 of Title 10, "Petition for rulemaking," and the petition has been docketed as PRM–37–1.
Background investigations and access control programs, setting trustworthiness and reliability (T&R) requirements for persons granted unescorted access to radioactive material in quantities of concern.
Physical protection requirements during use, requiring licensees to establish a written security program, coordinate with local law enforcement, and be able to monitor, detect, and assess theft of radioactive material.
Physical protection in transit, requiring transporters of radioactive material to follow certain procedures.
The petition may be viewed at regulations.gov—search for Docket ID NRC–2014–0172.
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.