[ RadSafe ] [Nuclear News] Six times as much radiation from medical devices than in 1980

Sandy Perle sandyfl at cox.net
Fri Apr 20 14:44:07 CDT 2007


Six times as much radiation from medical devices than in 1980 
PSEG considers fourth reactor for Salem Nuclear Generating Station
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Ranks as Top Workplace
Japan to inspect its nuclear plants
Iran Invites Western Nations To Build Nuclear Plants There 
Nuclear pioneer Chauncey Starr dies at his Atherton home
Walker River Tribe nixes nuclear waste transport through Lyon County 
Australia's PM Howard touts new nuclear reactor as 'triumph'

Average U.S. resident is exposed to nearly six times as much 
radiation from medical devices than in 1980 

Medical Studies/Trials April 18 - The average U.S. resident is 
exposed to nearly six times as much radiation from medical devices 
than in 1980, according to preliminary results of a study done by the 
National Council on Radiation Protection & Measurements (NCRP). 
Data from the first large-scale study of U.S. population radiation 
exposure since 1989 show the annual per capita radiation dose 
increased 5.9 times, from 0.54 millisieverts in 1980 to 3.2 
millisieverts in 2006. The collective annual population medical 
radiation dose increased 7.5 times during that same period, growing 
from a total of 124,000 sieverts to 930,000 sieverts. 

The preliminary findings, presented today by Dr. Fred A. Mettler, 
Jr., at the NCRP's annual meeting in Arlington, Virginia, focused 
only on levels of ionizing radiation exposure. They did not contain 
any recommendations or assess the risks versus benefits of medical 
radiation, two components the final study may include when it is 
completed in 2008. 

The dramatic increase in medical radiation exposure can be attributed 
to the proliferation of computed tomography (CT) scans and nuclear 
medicine procedures, both of which subject patients to high doses of 
radiation. The data Dr. Mettler presented show the number of CT scans 
done in the United States has grown each of the past 14 years, from 
18.3 million scans in 1993 to 62 million scans in 2006. Last year CT 
scans made up 12 percent of all medical radiation procedures done in 
the United States but accounted for 45 percent of the U.S. 
population's collective medical radiation dose. 

The study used data from multiple sources including the Virginia 
health care system, FDA, state radiation programs, large hospitals 
and claims data from large national employer health care plans to 
produce the greatest accuracy. 

Dr. Mettler said the doses of radiation from these tests can be 
significantly reduced without reducing diagnostic accuracy, and most 
physicians are not educated enough on the magnitude of risk 
associated with increased medical radiation. Dr. Mettler, a member of 
the NCRP subgroup responsible for the study, and Professor Emeritus 
in the Department of Radiology at the University of New Mexico School 
of Medicine, emphasized these were his own conclusions from the data 
and were not necessarily representative of those of the NCRP. 

Mahadevappa Mahesh, a medical physicist at Johns Hopkins University 
and another member of the NCRP subgroup, said it is important to 
educate physicians on the dangers of high doses of radiation. 

"These tests are now so fast and easy, we have to make sure they are 
only being used when definitely needed," said Dr. Mahesh, a member of 
the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, which in turn is 
a member society of the American Institute of Physics. 

He emphasized the value of modern medical radiation procedures far 
outweighs the potential risks involved. 

"The benefits of these tests are really high," Dr. Mahesh said. "We 
just need to pay attention to the dose issue."

PSEG considers fourth reactor for Salem Nuclear Generating Station 

A fourth nuclear reactor is under discussion for the Salem Generating 
Station in Salem County the nation's second-largest such complex. 

The prospect was raised earlier this week at a Public Service 
Enterprise Group shareholder's meeting in Newark. 

"It's exploratory," PSEG Nuclear spokesman Chic Cannon said Thursday. 
"It's keeping options open for the future." 

"They mentioned they are in exploratory talks with another company to 
build another reactor," said Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission in King of Prussia, Pa. 

The Salem Generating Station "would be priority choice" to host 
another reactor, Cannon said. 

That's the home of the Salem I and II nuclear plants opened in 1977 
and 1981 respectively and Hope Creek, which opened in 1986. 

Sheehan said the existing Salem Generating Station would be a logical 
location for a fourth plant transmission lines and other 
infrastructure are already in place and PSEG already has emergency 
plans for the site along the Delaware River. 

There are $3 billion in federal Department of Energy incentives tax 
credits and risk insurance in addition to billions more in loan 
guarantees to build new nuclear plants, according to Newhouse News 

To take advantage of those incentives, "by the end of 2008, the 
company needs to identify its intentions to go further," Cannon said.

Utilities have announced plans to build 30 new reactors across the 
nation, Sheehan said. Twenty-four of those proposed new reactors are 
in the south. 

"They are looking ahead at demand levels," Sheehan observed of public 

"The problem is we have a severe power shortage," said state Sen. 
Stephen Sweeney, whose district includes the Salem Generating 
Station. "We have to explore a lot of our options." 

The Corzine administration has mentioned the prospect of building a 
new nuclear reactor in the state as a way to address both rising 
needs and the aging Oyster Creek plant in Lacey Township, Sweeney 

Sweeney, D-3, of West Deptford suggested the Salem station "has been 
good for the economy down there. They have been managed extremely 

There are 103 nuclear power reactors in the country. 

The 104th reactor is expected to go online in May at the Browns Ferry 
Nuclear Plant outside Athens, Ala. No reactor has gone online since 
the late 1970s, when there was a partial meltdown at Three Mile 
Island outside Harrisburg, Pa. 

The Athens reactor closed down 22 years ago after a fire caused 
significant damage. The fire was caused by a worker using a candle to 
check for air leaks in a small tunnel, igniting cables that ran 
through it.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Ranks as Top Workplace

Washington Post April 20, 2007; Page D04 - The Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission was dubbed the No. 1 large government agency to work for 
in rankings released by a nonprofit group yesterday.

The NRC, which has headquarters in Rockville, got high marks from 
employees in several categories, including effective leadership, 
training and development, teamwork and support for diversity.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission was first in its category because 
of its "culture of being an open agency," Chairman Dale Klein says. 
(By Robert Gilhooly -- Bloomberg News) 

Bush to Seek 3 Percent Raise For Civil Service and Military
President Bush will propose a 3 percent pay raise for federal 
employees and military personnel in his fiscal 2008 budget, scheduled 
for release on Feb. 5, according to a senior administration official.

FEMA's score dropped 13 percent from 2005, ranking it 211th of 222 
subcomponent agencies. Lee said the agency's merger into the 
Department of Homeland Security, Hurricane Katrina controversies and 
persistent criticism in the media have taken a toll on FEMA 

She said FEMA is hiring to fill vacancies, improving communications 
with employees and taking other steps to turn the agency around.

For a second time, the Department of Homeland Security is near the 
bottom of the "Best Places" rankings, and the poor showing was 
discussed yesterday at a hearing held by the House Homeland Security 
management subcommittee. The "Best Places" data showed that the 
department's headquarters scored lower than even FEMA -- 215th of 222 
subcomponents in the rankings.

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.) said the department "cannot 
continue to score last or near last in leadership, performance, 
talent and satisfaction on the job." He and other subcommittee 
members, worried that the department may be plagued with a morale 
crisis, urged the department to take steps to improve employee 

A full listing of the 2007 "Best Places" listings can be found at 

Japan to inspect its nuclear plants

TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) -- Japan's trade minister said on Friday the 
government would order special inspections of some nuclear power 
plants after recent revelations of past safety missteps, possibly 
leading to longer-than-planned operation halts.

Akira Amari of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) 
told reporters the special inspections might force utilities to shut 
nuclear units in advance of scheduled closures for mandatory check-

Amari did not say which plants the government would target for 
special inspections, but he said four companies were responsible for 
the most serious of 450 recently reported cases of past missteps.

The companies are Tokyo Electric Power, Hokuriku Electric Power, 
Chugoku Electric Power and Japan Atomic Power.

The government will order the four utilities to set up procedures to 
report major nuclear mishaps within the companies and to authorities, 
he said.

In response to an earlier order by Amari, utilities in late March and 
early April admitted and reported decades-old missteps related to 
nuclear power plants, such as data modifications and cover-ups of 
serious incidents.

Amari said his order would help improve the operational safety of the 
country's nuclear industry and boost public confidence.

The minister did not say whether the government would impose 
penalties for possible coverups in the future.

Resource-poor Japan, with 55 nuclear-power generation units, has the 
world's third-largest nuclear-power generation capacity after the 
United States and France.

It depends on nuclear power for about a third of its electricity 
needs, and the government aims to boost the proportion to 40 percent 
by 2030 by building new units.

Iran Invites Western Nations To Build Nuclear Plants There 

TEHRAN (AP)--Tehran on Friday invited Western nations to participate 
in the construction of nuclear power plants across Iran, in the 
latest round of the country reiterating its tough stance on a 
disputed nuclear issue.

The invitation would test the West's "good will" and restore Iran's 
trust in the West, shaken after the years of the country's suspension 
of nuclear activities, Vice President Gholam Reza Aghazadeh said.

It comes after Iran announced Monday an international bid for the 
building of two more nuclear power plants, despite international 
pressures to curb its controversial program.

Tehran says the plants would be light-water reactors, each with the 
capacity to generate up to 1,600 megawatts of electricity and would 
cost up to $1.7 billion and take up to 11 years to construct. It 
wasn't immediately known if there were responses to the bid.

"The international tender for construction of the two nuclear power 
plants ... is a good yardstick to test the Westerners' good will," 
Aghazadeh told the official IRNA news agency but didn't mention any 
specific country.

Aghazadeh said Iran will never again stop uranium enrichment and 
vowed that Tehran will continue to work around the clock to install 
more centrifuges at its underground enrichment plant in Natanz, until 
all 50,000 planned centrifuges are in place, IRNA reported.

Aghazadeh claimed that Iran showed "good will" when it suspended 
uranium enrichment in 2003 for three years, but later lost trust in 
Western nations after learning they were "seeking a permanent halt to 
Iran's nuclear activities" rather than guarantees the program 
wouldn't be diverted to weapons making.

"Therefore, we won't repeat this experience," he said of the 
possibility of another suspension.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, 
said Wednesday that Iran has started to deliver small amounts of 
uranium gas to 1,312 centrifuges - the machines used to enrich 
uranium - at Natanz. Last week, Iran said it had begun operating 
3,000 centrifuges at the plant - nearly 10 times the previously known 

Aghazadeh insisted Iran has upgraded uranium enrichment to an 
industrial scale but prefers not to get into a dispute over the 
number of centrifuges. The U.N. nuclear agency monitors who inspect 
Natanz would see this for themselves, he said.

"Each month, IAEA inspectors will see considerable changes in 
relation to installation of centrifuges in Natanz," said Aghazadeh. 
"The infrastructure in Natanz will not only house several thousand 
centrifuges but is geared to set up an entire nuclear fuel production 
factory ... involving 50,000 underground centrifuges."

The enrichment process can produce fuel for nuclear reactors or, if 
taken to a higher degree, the material for atomic bombs. Iran says it 
wants to enrich uranium only to lower levels suitable to generate 
nuclear power.

The U.S. and some of its allies accuse Iran of secretly developing 
nuclear weapons. Tehran has denied the charges, saying its nuclear 
program is geared toward generating electricity only and has insisted 
it would not give up its right under the Nuclear Nonproliferation 
Treaty to enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel.

The U.N. Security Council last month voted to impose new sanctions on 
Iran as part of a second set of penalties in three months against 
Tehran over its refusal to suspend enrichment.

Aghazadeh also said Iran will inaugurate a plant producing nuclear 
fuel pellets within a year. The pellets are the processed form of 
enriched uranium that serve as fuel in reactors. 

Nuclear pioneer Chauncey Starr dies at his Atherton home
Nuclear pioneer Chauncey Starr, the founder of the Electric Power 
Research Institute (EPRI) in Palo Alto, died April 17 at his Atherton 
home. He was 95.

He died a day after attending a celebration in his honor at the 
institute, attended by more than 200 of his research colleagues, an 
EPRI spokesperson said.

EPRI, which he founded in 1972, is a research and development 
organization for the electric utility industry.

During World War II, Starr worked with J. Robert Oppenheimer on the 
Manhattan project to develop the atom bomb. After World War II, he 
pioneered the development of nuclear reactor designs.

He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Doris; a daughter, Ariel 
Wooley of Los Altos; a son, Ross Starr of San Diego; and five 

Walker River Tribe nixes nuclear waste transport through Lyon County 

The Walker River Paiute Tribe passed a resolution earlier this week 
putting the kibosh on the possibility of Yucca-bound nuclear waste 
being transported through Lyon County.

The Tribe owns a critical portion of existing railway land between 
Wabuska and Schurz, which helps make up the formerly proposed Mina 
Corridor. The April 17 decision makes the second time the Tribe has 
declined permission to use their land.

Late last year the Tribe agreed to participate in an environmental 
study with the U.S. Department of Energy to reexamine the Mina 
Corridor, which passes through Fernley, Silver Springs and Wabuska 
before heading to Schurz.

"The Tribal Council began the (Environmental Impact Study) process to 
allow the Tribe to make an informed, educated decision on the 
likelihood of nuclear waste passing through our Reservation, and to 
determine the safest method for that transportation," Walker River 
Paiute Tribal Chairman Genia Williams said.

Following consideration of gathered information and consulting with 
Tribal members, the Tribe has decided to cease participation in the 
environmental study.

"The Tribe will not allow nuclear waste to be transported by rail 
through our Reservation," Williams said.

She expressed her appreciation to the Department's personnel.

"We understand that (the Department of Energy) will need to continue 
its efforts to locate a method to transport nuclear waste to Yucca 
Mountain, but the Tribe came to the decision that a rail route 
through our Reservation was not in the best interest of our people."

Allen Benson, a Department of Energy and Yucca Mountain spokesman in 
Las Vegas, told the Associated Press the Tribe's decision means the 
Mina corridor will be dropped from the department's choices of 
potential rail lines to Yucca Mountain. However, it will still be 
included in an impact statement expected for release in October.

Elimination of the Mina corridor "certainly simplifies (the 
Department of Energy's) options," said David Blee, executive director 
of the U.S. Transport Council, a coalition of nuclear waste shippers.

Another possible route includes the Caliente Corridor southeast of 
Lyon, though the Mina route was favored, as it included existing rail 
beds rather than a need for more than 300 miles of new 

Both Bob Loux, Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects executive director, 
and U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, who adamantly opposes the Yucca Mountain 
project as a whole, welcomed the tribe's announcement.

"I am so pleased that the Walker River Paiute Tribe has made the 
decision not to allow nuclear waste to be transported through their 
Reservation," Reid said in an issued statement. "With this decision, 
the Tribe has made the determination that the risks associated with 
transporting thousands of tons of nuclear waste through Nevada 
communities far outweigh any potential benefits being touted by those 
looking to turn Nevada into the nation's nuclear dumping ground."

Reid also spoke to the larger project, which is, at minimum, 10 years 

"Further, what is true for Nevada is true for the nation. It is not 
safe to haul 77,000 tons of the most dangerous substance known to man 
through this nation's cities and towns so it can be buried 90 miles 
outside of Las Vegas. The Tribe's decision is yet another blow to 
this project, which is on its last legs."

Australia's PM Howard touts new nuclear reactor as 'triumph'

Prime Minister John Howard has launched the new nuclear reactor at 
Sydney's Lucas Heights saying nuclear energy technology and medicine 
are the way of the future.

After touring the new OPAL research reactor, Mr Howard says it is 
worth every dollar of its $400 million price tag.

"If a nation is unwilling to make a capital investment in projects of 
this nature, then it's really not interested in our future," he said.

Mr Howard says the facility is a triumph for those who believe in the 
central role of science in society.

The chief executive of the Australian Nuclear Science and Training 
Organisation (ANSTO), Dr Ian Smith, says the OPAL demonstrates 
Australia has the capacity for more nuclear projects.

He says the new facility has many of the challenges and almost the 
scale of a nuclear power plant.

ANSTO chairman Ziggy Switkowski says the OPAL project is a flagship 
for Australian science and nuclear technology.

"It's quite interesting to observe in this particular case how the 
project has been managed, how successfully it's been managed," he 

"Although this is a research reactor it has many of the challenges of 
a large power reactor and what we've demonstrated is Australia's 
ability to tackle very complicated nuclear projects."

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 cox.net 

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

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