United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Health Physics Questions and Answers - Question 449

Question 449: Detectable, minor intakes may result for some individuals who do not wear respirators during specific radiological work activities for the purpose of maintaining the total effective dose equivalent (TEDE) as low as is reasonably achievable (ALARA), as required by regulation. Such resulting intakes may involve substantial follow-up activities in terms of bioassay, internal dose assessment, and responses to various monitor alarms (e.g., hand-held friskers and portal monitors) as the individual continues to perform work in the restricted area in the period following the intake, due to the sensitivity of the monitors and the low monitor alarm set points, established to detect small amounts of contamination or hot particles on individuals exiting work areas or the restricted area. In evaluating whether or not to use respirators in a given situation, may the assessment of costs versus benefits appropriately include the resource costs associated with follow-up activities to potential intakes, and ultimately be factored into the decision making on wearing respirators?

Answer: Yes; however, there is no requirement that these costs be considered.

(Reference: 10 CFR 20.1702)

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, October 09, 2015