[ RadSafe ] DOE warns CH2M Hill about exposure

John R Johnson idias at interchange.ubc.ca
Wed Jul 20 19:20:46 CDT 2005

Sandy et al

My "take" on the important point in Susan's message is "Managers running
around considering fining due to not following all of the site SOPs."

As an ex manager of radiation protection at sites in Canada and the US, I
think that this is very important.

If SOP are not followed, it means that the safety program is not being
followed, and that can lead to more problems than small doses.

The importanct thing is the "safty plan", not the details of it.


-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl]On
Behalf Of Sandy Perle
Sent: July 20, 2005 4:11 PM
To: Susan Gawarecki; radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] DOE warns CH2M Hill about exposure

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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