Energy Department Revising Occupational Radiation Protection Requirements

The Department of Energy's Office of Health, Safety and Security issued a final rule June 8 that will amend DOE's Procedural Rules for DOE Nuclear Activities and its Occupational Radiation Protection requirements. The amendments to 10 CFR part 835, the Occupational Radiation Protection requirements, "account for lessons learned since the initial adoption of these regulations, comments from the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board and members of the public, new recommendations from the International Commission on Radiological Protection," and the establishment of the National Nuclear Security Administration, the rule says.

The rule will take effect July 9. Part 835 was proposed in December 1991 and published as a final rule two years later. This final rule amends it by, among other things, updating the dosimetric models and dose terms to be consistent with newer recommendations from ICRP, including updated tissue and radiation weighting factors and updated derived air concentration (DAC) values. It sets DAC values for Special Tritium Compounds and also lowers the maximum amount of radioactive material that does not have to be labeled, as well as allowing the use of thresholds for recording occupational exposures.

Updated radiation protection programs must be submitted to DOE within 180 days following the effective date of this rule or Jan. 4, 2008. Changes that do not decrease the effectiveness of a radiation protection program may be implemented prior to DOE approval, the rule states. Radiation protection programs must fully comply with these changes by July 8, 2010.

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