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Current News

19 December 2014
The Most Radioactive Places on Earth

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 they present 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 Howard Dickson, Web Operations Editor-in-Chief


18 December 2014
2015 NCRP Meeting Registration Open

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).

This will be a remarkable gathering so register now and plan to attend. The program is available on the NCRP website and there is no cost to register at


17 December 2014
Inaugural HPS Science Camp at Indy Meeting

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 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.


12 December 2014
BEIR VIII Planning Presentations Available

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.


9 December 2014
Summary of 2014 Beebe Symposium Publication Available

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.


3 December 2014
Free Download of Book on Fukushima

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.


24 November 2014
Annual Meeting Call for Papers

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 7 February 2015.

Any questions should be sent to Program Committee Task Force Chair Mike Mahathy at


20 November 2014
NRC Seeks Public Comment on Potential Changes to Radiation Protection Regulations

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 under Docket ID NRC-2009-0279. Comments may be submitted on that website; by email to; 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.


14 November 2014
IRPA Bulletin No. 3 Issued - Includes Ethics Workshops Updates

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.

The bulletin will be available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Japanese, and Spanish when all translations are complete.


3 November 2014
Chapter and Section Website Information

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 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.


31 October 2014
NAS Fukushima Lessons Learned Report Available in Print and PDF

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.


31 October 2014
ACMUI Nominations Needed

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is advertising for nominations for the position of radiation therapy medical physicist on the Advisory Committee on the Medical Uses of Isotopes (ACMUI).  

Nominations are due on or before 13 January 2015. Interested parties should submit an electronic copy of their résumé or curriculum vitae to Sophie Holiday at

The résumé or curriculum vitae should include the following information, if applicable: education, certification, professional association membership and committee membership activities, and duties and responsibilities in current and previous clinical, research, and/or academic position(s).

A full announcement from the Federal Register is at


30 October 2014
NEI Petitions NRC on 10 CFR 37

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.

The main areas of 10 CFR 37 include:
  • 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—search for Docket ID NRC–2014–0172.


27 October 2014
DOE High-Level Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel Disposal Report

The Department of Energy (DOE) has released the report "Assessment of Disposal Options for DOE-Managed High-Level Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel." The assessment considers whether DOE-managed high-level waste (HLW) and spent nuclear fuel (SNF) should be disposed of together with commercial HLW and SNF in one geologic repository, or whether there are advantages to developing separate geologic disposal pathways for some DOE-managed HLW and SNF.

Results of the assessment indicate that it is technically feasible to have multiple disposal options that can potentially provide necessary safe, long-term isolation and that there are advantages to a strategy that allows some DOE HLW and SNF to be disposed of separately from the commercial HLW and SNF. The report recommends that the DOE begin implementation of a phased, adaptive, and consent-based strategy with development of a separate mined repository for some DOE-managed HLW and cooler DOE-managed SNF.


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.


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.


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.



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