NRC Reports Lowest Average Occupational Dose Ever For Power Plant Workers

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's compilation of 2007 nuclear power plant worker doses at U.S. reactors shows the average annual collective dose per plant is 97 person-rem, the lowest ever, and is two-thirds of the dose recorded 10 years ago.

To determine a plant's collective dose, hundreds of workers' individual doses are added up and the result is expressed in person-rem. The average American receives a dose of about 360 millirem every year from all radiation sources; the average nuclear plant worker in recent years received about an additional 160 millirem each year on the job. NRC regulations allow workers at nuclear power plants to safely receive a job-related dose of up to 5,000 millirem each year.

"These results show nuclear power plant operators remain focused on decreasing worker exposure while continuing to maintain and operate the plants safely, in accordance with NRC requirements," said NRC Chairman Dale Klein. "We'll continue encouraging those plants with above-average collective doses to improve their exposure reduction programs."

The nation's 69 pressurized-water reactors had an average annual collective dose of 69 person-rem, down 18 person-rem from 2006 and the lowest ever for that reactor category. The 35 boiling-water reactors had an average annual collective dose of 154 person-rem, the third-lowest ever for that category. Basic design differences between the categories account for the differences in collective dose.

The full report is available on the NRC's electronic document database, ADAMS, by entering ML081780671 in the search function at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams/web-based.html.

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