[ RadSafe ] DOE warns CH2M Hill about exposure

Sandy Perle sandyfl at earthlink.net
Wed Jul 20 18:11:27 CDT 2005

On 20 Jul 2005 at 18:37, Susan Gawarecki wrote:

> At the end of fiscal 2004, the employee's cumulative neutron dose was
> 274 millirem, a measurement of the potential biological effect on
> humans. DOE said proper safety steps weren't followed.
> The DOE-set limit is 500 millirem annually, but contractors strive to
> keep exposure lower. The average occupational dose from working at a
> DOE nuclear facility is 74 millirem.

> "Your investigation into the cause of the exposure revealed
> significant breakdowns in both work planning for the job evolution and
> in control of the neutron source," wrote Stephen Sohinki, director of
> the office, in the letter to CH2M Hill.

> "Typically, I would consider pursuing enforcement action for events
> involving such extensive and fundamental breakdowns," Sohinki wrote.

> "We have changed our procedures to make sure it will not happen
> again," CH2M Hill spokeswoman Joy Turner said.
> That includes tighter controls on who has access to radioactive 
> material, more training and more specific work plans.

Shocking!  A total of 274 mrem cumulative neutron dose! This is 
"obviously" a very serious issue, where the individual's very well 
being is threatened! Will he survive? I certainly hope so. Perhaps 
CH2M Hill management should contact REACTS to provide immediate 
medical treatments to save this life, or prevent further 
deterioration to his physical and mental health!

We can all debate LNT and its merits. However, when there is this 
type of reaction from supposedly knowledgeable individuals, there is 
no opportunity to debate the scientific facts. Here is a case where 
an individual received a relatively small annual dose. It's 
approximately 5% of the Annual Regulatory Dose Limit, yet we have 
managers running around considering fining due to not following all 
of the site SOPs. This is nothing more than "not paying attention to 
details", if that. The dose is inconsequential.

As I have so often stated, WE are our own worse enemies. We don't 
need to worry about intervenors, about anti-nuclear entities. We have 
to worry about ourselves, our own industry, when we see such idiotic 
actions taken as are stated in this news article.

I'm thrilled that I am nearing the end of my career in the nuclear 
industry (not imminent) rather than just beginning it. That is why I 
continue to recommend to students graduating to stay as far away from 
this industry as they can. It's too damn risky .. and NOT from the 
dose that they may receive. It's from management, regulators and 

Sandy Perle
Senior Vice President, Technical Operations
Global Dosimetry Solutions, Inc.
2652 McGaw Avenue
Irvine, CA 92614 

Tel: (949) 296-2306 / (888) 437-1714  Extension 2306
Fax:(949) 296-1144

E-Mail: sperle at dosimetry.com
E-Mail: sandyfl at earthlink.net 

Global Dosimetry Website: http://www.dosimetry.com/ 
Personal Website: http://sandy-travels.com/ 

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