Information for Radiation Workers
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has a wealth of information available for those who work with and around nuclear materials, as illustrated by the following examples:
- Training Requirements for Radiation Workers
- Dose Limits for Radiation Workers
- Radiation Worker Dose History Database
- How Radiation Workers and Licensees Can Obtain Dose Histories from the NRC
Training Requirements for Radiation Workers
Title 10, Part 19, of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR Part 19), "Notices, Instructions, and Reports to Workers: Inspection and Investigations," provides instructions to radiation workers. Specifically, 10 CFR Part 19 requires that all individuals who, in the course of their employment, are likely to receive a dose of more than 100 millirem in a year, must receive adequate training to protect themselves against radiation. Also, these individuals have the right to know the amount of radiation to which they have been exposed. In addition, radiation workers have the right to ask the NRC to conduct an inspection if they believe their working environment has safety problems.
Dose Limits for Radiation Workers
Title 10, Part 20, of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR Part 20), "Standards for Protection Against Radiation," establishes the dose limits for radiation workers. Although the limits vary, depending on the affected part of the body, the annual total effective dose equivalent (TEDE) for the whole body is 5,000 mrem (5 rem).
Radiation Worker Dose History Database
Among the NRC licensees that are subject to the reporting requirements of 10 CFR Part 20, certain classes of licensees are required to provide the NRC with an annual report of their workers' individual exposures. The NRC, in turn, maintains such radiation exposure data in its Radiation Exposure Information and Reporting System (REIRS). As a result, the REIRS database represents a resource for use in responding to workers' requests for exposure information and dose histories.
One function of the REIRS database is to provide individuals with reports of radiation exposure monitoring data that licensees have reported to the NRC. Under the Freedom of Information Act, the NRC must provide copies of any records that are maintained under this system. In addition, the REIRS database represents a unique resource for use in satisfying 10 CFR 20.2104(a)(2), which requires that licensees must attempt to obtain records of prior exposure for workers who will require monitoring.
How Radiation Workers and Licensees Can Obtain Dose Histories from the NRC
Organizations and individuals may request dose histories from REIRS, and may submit requests for up to 10 individuals at a time. The requestor is required to enter his or her name, title, and contact information, and then the identification number, name, and birth date of the monitored individual(s). The requestor must also provide a password, which will be needed to unlock the dose history report that the NRC will send to the requestor. Upon submitting the request form, the requestor must also fax an organizational release form signed by the monitored individual(s). (Workers requesting their own dose histories should use the individual release form.)
When the NRC receives the signed release form, the agency creates the requested Cumulative Occupational Dose History (NRC Form 4) for each identified individual, and converts the report into an Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file. (If more than one report is requested, the reports are combined into a single file.) The NRC then protects the PDF file with a password and transmits it to the requestor by email.
With regard to security, each step of the process is specifically designed to protect sensitive identifying information. The Web-based request form uses the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol to protect the information as it is entered into the form. Once entered, this information is processed behind an Internet security firewall. In addition, the PDF file containing the dose history report is password-protected using the password provided by the requestor, and is encrypted for transmittal back to the requestor via email.