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Y-12 Advisory Board Work Group Holds Meeting to Discuss Expanding Special Exposure Cohort Years

September 25, 2020

September 25, 2020

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Industry News

The Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health’s Work Group (WG) held a video conference to discuss Petition 250 to expand the years covered under the Special Exposure Cohort beyond July 31, 1979.  Claimants who were employed for 250 aggregate days and were diagnosed with one of the 22 specified cancers are automatically compensated under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program without the need to undergo dose reconstruction.

This was the first Y-12 Work Group meetings in many years.  The reason for this is that the SEC petitions in the past were either generated by NIOSH or the petition did not qualify for the Board’s review so there was no need for the Board to be involved in reviewing NIOSH’s dose reconstruction methods.

NIOSH explained that during the August 2019 full Board meeting they had decided to reserve the evaluation of years 1987 through 1994 for thorium exposure. They requested additional monitoring records from Y-12 and just recently received them. NIOSH said it will take some time to understand the records before they can report to the WG.  NIOSH also explained that there are a lot of technical documents they use to reconstruct dose which need to be updated.  NIOSH reviewed the white paper submitted by the petitioners and found that none of the concerns would affect dose reconstruction.

SC&A provided a summary of their review of NIOSH’s Evaluation Report.  They noted that while the major thorium production ended in the 1970s records for after that date do not have information for small jobs done after the 1970s.  They also cannot tell where the thorium process was performed.  This would impact determining which workers were exposed.

There was also a discussion about the exotic radionuclides such as plutonium 241.  The petitioner reminded everyone that while this was an X-10 project the work was performed in Y-12 using Y-12 employees.

The petitioners also submitted a PowerPoint presentation (click here to download the PowerPoint presentation).  They asked why NIOSH didn’t think that the Department of Energy own documents which state that internal and external dose were inaccurate was sufficient to show that dose cannot be reconstructed with reasonable accuracy.  They had questions on the statistics used showing how many monitoring samples they had.  The petitioners performed their own statistical analysis and came up with different numbers.

NIOSH committed to answering the concerns raised by SC&A and the petitioners.

The WG also directed SC&A to participate in worker interviews.  Before the issuance of NIOSH’s Evaluation Report, only 6 workers were interviewed.  SC&A was not involved in the recent interview with the petitioner or a co-worker.  The WG asked the petitioners to locate and submit names to NIOSH. The petitioners determined that the following labor categories have the best information on the production and monitoring practices at Y-12:

  • Chemical workers and RED mechanics from beta 3
  • Machinists and other employees from M wing
  • Chemical operators that worked in 9215
  • Rad Con techs

 

If you or anyone you know would like to be involved please contact Steve Hicks, [email protected] or Terrie Barrie, [email protected]