[ RadSafe ] ALARA

garyi at trinityphysics.com garyi at trinityphysics.com
Tue Jun 24 09:47:25 CDT 2008

Hi Neil,

Your response is good natured.  Sorry I did not give you a more serious reply to your 
previous post.  When I read it, it seemed like a reformulation of Bill Liptons comments, to 
which I had already given what I thought was a cogent response.

I agree with you about the compulsion thing.  It is unpleasant to talk with people who insist 
that the world should agree with their opinion.  I'm not that sort.  I'm the sort who is happy to 
be right, and doesn't care much if the rest of the world is wrong. When I post to the list, it is 
usually because I enjoy a witty debate.  "For what do we live, but to make sport for our 
neighbors and laugh at them in our turn? "  - Jane Austen

-Gary Isenhower 

On 23 Jun 2008 at 21:13, NeilKeeney at aol.com wrote:

From:	NeilKeeney at aol.com
Date sent:	Mon, 23 Jun 2008 21:13:35 EDT
Subject:	Re: [ RadSafe ] ALARA
To:	garyi at trinityphysics.com, radsafe at radlab.nl

Gary & Joe: 

There's nothing wrong about trying to be right except for persisting in a compulsion in Having 
to Be Right; I know this to my bones because I have first hand experience in the area. ;) We 
create our reality primarily through our agreement as to what 'is' as your wife apparently so 
aptly demonstrated. 

I cannot plumb the depths of your dismay with the area of ALARA and I grant you that this 
area is subject to misuse or abuse by those with non-constructive or selfish personal 
agendas. While these proceed at the expense of all our constructive efforts and we see 
analogous trends in our everyday environs, there is Always a payback, a price to pay along 
the line for those who do this.I don't have your unique viewpoint or experience andI hope 
you have better successes in your peripheral endeavors. 

I can only relate what I have directly observed concerning the topic; it has greatly benefited 
work efficiency and effectiveness across commercial nuclear power in the U.S. and has 
resulted in dramatic collective dose reduction and avoidance.It has also created greater 
awareness on the part of theworkforce concerning all things 'radiation'. 

It's constructive application and continued use as such should be closely supported. Non-
constructive applicationsand those attempting such machinations for personal interests 
should be inhibited. 

Best regards and Buenos Suerte, 

Neil Keeney
Currently at CR3 SGRP 


Well, its hard to argue with a neatly ordered outline. I suppose I must be wrong. I ran into a
similar situation in regard to my finances a few years back.I told my wife many times that the
best way to get out of debt was to pay off the highest interest credit card first. We didn't
seem to get anwhere until she began listening to a guy who said to pay off the smallest debt
first. He called it a "debt snowball".

Any accountant can tell you that I was right. But we still made more headway going
backwards because it just felt better to my wife to picture a giant snowball wiping out our

I suppose there could be some kind of emotional gratification contained in the ALARA
concept, or maybe in the sound of the acronym itself. If you treat your patients with snake oil
and they get better, then there must be something to it.

Good night!
Gary Isenhower

On 23 Jun 2008 at 19:26, NeilKeeney at aol.com wrote:

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 points: 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 thelessons-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) thusexposing
the workforce to 30,000 manhours of increased dose-rates onthe 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 aprocess is debugged
prior to actual execution and it's a valuable element ofreducing or
avoiding dose.

I have observed the improvements across our industryfirst-hand.
Work implementation used to be carried out in a cavalierfashion
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.

Neil Keeney
Currently at CR3 SGRP

In a message dated 6/23/2008 6:43:07 P.M. Eastern DaylightTime,
garyi at trinityphysics.com writes:


Did Alara produce the successful facility, or did thesuccessful
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
causative factor.

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

-Gary Isenhower

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