Fwd: Re: [ RadSafe ] 1. official Belgian report on the Sterigenicsradiationaccident

John Jacobus crispy_bird at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 14 11:05:05 CDT 2006

Dr. Rozental,
Thank you for posting these comments which I
circulated at my place of work.

The issue of why workers, particularly in industry, do
not follow the regulations and training they learned
in not a new one, and is a constant problem.  Our
Nuclear Regulatory Commission publishes a newsletter
that reports on regulatory actions, rules, inspection
finding, enforcement actions and "significant events."
 I find them very entertaining.  

For example, in the latest issue,

Event #1: Potential radiographer overexposure at
a temporary job site

Date and Place: November 18, 2005,
Sand Springs, Oklahoma

Nature and Probable Causes: The licensee, located
in Tulsa, Oklahoma, reported a potential overexposure
to a radiographer at a temporary job site. The
crew was using a SPEC exposure device (Model
150) with a 2.44 terabecquerel (66 curie) Iridium-
192 source. The radiographer went to change the
radiographic film, thinking that the assistant had
fully retracted the source. While en route to change
the film, the radiographer set down his radiation
detection instrument to answer his cell phone. At the
same time, the assistant was sending a text message
on his cell phone. The radiographer was in front of
the exposure device for approximately 3 minutes
and his alarming rate meter was turned off. The
calculated dose the radiographer received was 23
centisieverts (rem). The radiographers were taken
to the hospital for blood tests as a precautionary
measure and their dosimeters were sent for analyses.
The Oklahoma Department of Environmental
Quality investigated the event on November 21,
2005, and determined that the radiographer’s
thermoluminescent dosimeter (TLD) result was 4.4
centisieverts (rem), and the radiographer’s total
year-to-date whole-body exposure was 6.9
centisieverts (rem). The assistant radiographer’s
TLD result was 1.21 millisieverts (121 millirem).
Both radiographers were suspended pending further

Update: The licensee contracted with the National
Radiological Protection Board, in England, to
perform cytogenetic testing on the radiographer.
On December 20, 2005, the results of the test were
received. The National Radiological Protection
Board reported the whole-body exposure to be 4
centisieverts (rem). This result is in agreement with
the results of the TLD. 

> From: Jose Julio Rozental
> <joseroze at netvision.net.il>
> Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] 1. official Belgian report
> on the
> 	Sterigenicsradiationaccident
> To: "NIXON, Grant" <Grant.NIXON at mdsinc.com>,
> radsafe at radlab.nl
> CC: 
> Your question: "Why would the operator, a veteran of
> some 24 years, enter the room to initiate the
> startup procedure without a survey meter in hand?
> Our employees do not enter irradiation chambers
> without a direct reading/alarming dosimeter in
> addition to their survey meters, the latter are
> checked for audible signal and needle deflection
> prior to entry (with a check source stationed near
> the entrance)."
> . . .

"A scientist's aim in a discussion with his colleagues is not to persuade, but to clarify." 
Leo Szilard
-- John
John Jacobus, MS
Certified Health Physicist
e-mail:  crispy_bird at yahoo.com

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