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Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health Holds Meeting

January 8, 2019

January 8, 2019

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Industry News

The Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health meeting held on December 12-13, 2018 in Redondo Beach held a couple surprises.  The first was that Dr. John Howard, Director of National Institutes for Occupational Safety and Health was on hand to greet the attendees. 

The second was that Stu Hinnefeld announced that he would be retiring, probably in June 2019.  Stu has been the director of DCAS since December 2009 and will be sorely missed. Health Physicist Dr. Jim Neton will also be retiring, in March 2019.   

The Board heard updates from NIOSH, DOL, and DOE. 

The board voted to accept the recommendation that the site profile review is concluded for Carborundum in Niagara Falls, New York. But will remain involved until the new site profile is issued. 

The Board voted to add a new Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) for Y-12.  This was due to NIOSH determining they are unable to reconstruct dose at Y-12 for 1958-1976 for thorium and Plutonium-241.  The SEC class is defined as: “All employees of the Department of Energy, its predecessor agencies, and their contractors and subcontractors who worked at the Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, during the period January 1, 1958 through December 31, 1976 for a number of work days aggregating at least 250 work days, occurring either solely under this employment or in combination with work days within the parameters established for one or more other classes of employees in the Special Exposure Cohort.”  Cold War Patriots will let you know when the SEC becomes active as soon as it is published in the Federal Register. 

Although there are still problems with falsified reports by the bioassay contractor, NIOSH feels they can reconstruct dose for Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL).  Sanford Cohen and Associates (SCA) is reviewing NIOSH’s paper on this.  

A similar issue with thorium and americium exists with the De Soto facility.  Previously, SSFL, Canoga, Downey Street and De Soto facilities were considered the same facility despite the distance which separates the facilities.  NIOSH feels that legally these entities are distinct.  The petitioner explained the history of connection between the sites.  NIOSH and SCA will continue to investigate. 

NIOSH feels they have enough information to estimate dose on uranium metal rolling operations at Superior Steel.  The Superior Site Profile will be updated to include the new information found. 

SCA identified some errors and stated concerns in NIOSH’s Metals and Controls Evaluation Report.  It is hoped these will be resolved before the next full Board meeting in April. 

NIOSH and SCA will continue to investigate whether dose can be reconstructed at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) after 1995 for “exotic” radionuclides.  A 1999 LANL self-assessment identifying serious deficiencies casts doubt on NIOSH’s ability to reconstruct dose. 

The petitioner for the Savannah River Site SEC petition, which was filed on November 19, 2007, has passed away.  This leaves this petition without a petitioner. 

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) submitted a statement to the board requesting that the SEC petition process be accelerated while maintaining the integrity of the research.  He is concerned about how this affects the sick workers or their survivors. 

The next ABRWH meeting is scheduled for April 17-18, 2019, tentatively in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.