[ RadSafe ] ALARA
NeilKeeney at aol.com
NeilKeeney at aol.com
Mon Jun 23 18:26:03 CDT 2008
Gary or Joe et al:
In direct response to your question, we unquestionably 'get something' from
ALARA. I've primarily been associated with planning and implementation of
major projects at commercial nuclear facilities around the country for the last
couple of decades. My observations and conclusions closely align with what
Dr. Lipton has indicated.
To take it a couple of steps further, the depth and degree of planning and
preparation necessary to achieve some of the key objectives of ALARA, which,
in the aggregate result in reduced collective dose may be summarized in a few
1. There is generally less rework necessary to be performed across our
major project tasks because:
a. We have workable plans that were compelled to be developed in detail
in part as the result of ALARA considerations. Some of these go so far as to
specify the exact tools, parts and pieces necessary to perform the work. In
some cases they call for backup equipment or components. These variables are
based on the lessons-learned for the activity. I have often observed, in
the 'old' days, a work group exiting the work areas because they had the wrong
bolt, forgot a wrench, the tool broke, the wrong gasket; on and on. That
doesn't happen anymore at a facility with a good ALARA program. It simply
results in greater efficiency all around which, in turn, optimizes the activity
in terms of collective dose expenditure.
b. We have superior scheduling that takes into consideration work
sequences that result in avoiding unnecessary exposure. For example, if it were not
for the ALARA concept, there would be nothing preventing any particular
project management team from draining the Steam Generator shell of secondary
water (shielding) thus exposing the workforce to 30,000 manhours of increased
dose-rates on the order of 2 - 3 times that of a filled shell. An extreme
example but I've seen the results of premature drain-down.
c. Via this concept, we have been able to reconcile internal and external
exposure via TEDE ALARA precepts. This took thousands of people out of
respirators and also greatly increased worker efficiency and, therefore improved
production making us more reliable as an industry. This also compelled
advances in the use and utility of engineering controls for ventilation and
Containment At The Source concepts for contamination control.
2. Enhanced proficiency in performing difficult or complex tasks -
previously discussed. There's nothing like achieving greater reality on the scope
and magnitude of one's part in a complex task. It's a drill of the technique
and methodology and is consistent with other such practices across our
society. This is how a process is debugged prior to actual execution and it's a
valuable element of reducing or avoiding dose.
I have observed the improvements across our industry first-hand. Work
implementation used to be carried out in a cavalier fashion without respect to
collective dose. Rework was routine. Schedules ignored shielding installation,
work group interferences with one another, or water level management
techniques (in PWRs). Workers were worked until they maxed-out on dose and then you
got another guy and did the same with him. It was pretty ugly.
Well. These are a few viewpoints about the matter. There are many more but
I've been accused in the past of being too verbose so I will leave it at
this for now.
Currently at CR3 SGRP
In a message dated 6/23/2008 6:43:07 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
garyi at trinityphysics.com writes:
Did Alara produce the successful facility, or did the successful
facility produce doses that were Alara?
In other words, if you went into a "dirty" plant and made them
implement Alara, would the plant become a model facility? Or would it
still be "dirty" wherever scrutiny was lacking? I agree that the
correlation you recall exists, but I strongly doubt that Alara is the
Unless you are willing to insist that Alara is a causative factor,
your concluding statement is unfounded. I assert that the well run
facilities you recall would have been just as well run (perhaps
better) if Alara had never been conceived, had never been made a part
of the compliance requirement.
So I'm back to this: Do we get anything from ALARA that we could not
have just by writing clear regs?
And, this is the last I will post on this issue. I am so busy keeping
things Alara that I have no more time to think about whether this is a
good policy. :P
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