Occupational Radiation Exposure at Commercial Nuclear Power Reactors and Other Facilities 2015: Forty-Eighth Annual Report (NUREG-0713, Volume 37)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: August 2016
Date Published: September 2017

Prepared by:
T. A. Brock
M. N. Nguyen
D. A. Hagemeyer*
Y. U. McCormick*

1299 Bethel Valley Road, SC-200, MS-21
Oak Ridge, TN 37830

Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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This report summarizes the occupational exposure data that are maintained in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Radiation Exposure Information and Reporting System (REIRS) database. The bulk of the information contained in this report was compiled from the 2015 annual reports submitted by five of the seven categories1 of NRC licensees subject to the reporting requirements of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) 20.2206, "Reports of Individual Monitoring." Because there are no geologic repositories for high-level waste currently licensed and no NRC-licensed low-level waste disposal facilities currently in operation, only five categories are considered in this report. The annual reports submitted by these licensees consist of radiation exposure records for each monitored individual. These records are analyzed for trends and presented in this report in terms of collective dose and the distribution of dose among the monitored individuals.

Annual reports for 2015 were received from a total of 198 NRC licensees from the five categories included in this report. The summation of reports submitted by the 198 licensees indicated that 186,609 individuals were monitored, 77,389 of whom received a measurable dose (Table 3.1). When adjusted for transient individuals, there were actually 131,878 unique individuals that were monitored, 56,732 of whom received a measurable dose (see Section 5).

The collective dose incurred by these individuals was 9,197 person-rem (91,970 person-millisieverts [mSv]), which represents a 2 percent decrease from the 2014 value. Although the 2015 collective dose is an 8 percent decrease from the 5-year average of 10,003 person-rem (2010 – 2014), the collective doses do not differ significantly.2 The 2014 – 2015 decrease was due to a decrease in four of the five reporting categories; for example, a 1 percent decrease in the collective dose for commercial nuclear power reactor licensees, a 7 percent decrease in the collective dose for industrial radiographers, and an 11 percent decrease for fuel cycle licensees. However, none of these categories differed significantly from the 5-year average. The number of individuals receiving a measurable dose decreased by 1 percent from the 2014 value and 5 percent from the 5-year average, although the decrease was not significant. When adjusted for transients, the average measurable dose of 0.16 rem (1.6 mSv) remained the same for 2015 and did not statistically differ significantly from the 5-year average. The average measurable dose is defined as the total effective dose equivalent (TEDE) divided by the number of individuals receiving a measurable dose.

In calendar year 2015, the average annual collective dose per reactor for light water reactor (LWR) licensees was 71 person-rem (710 person-mSv). This is the same as the value reported for 2014 (Table 4.3) and the 5-year average. The total outage hours at commercial nuclear power plants also remained statistically flat from 2014 to 2015 [Ref. 1]. The collective dose for this licensee category fell 106 person-rem to 7,019 person-rem (70,190 person-mSv). Vermont Yankee, a boiling water reactor, shut down at the end of 2014, and is therefore not included in this analysis. The average annual collective dose per reactor was 122 person-rem (1,220 person-mSv) for the 34 boiling-water reactors and 44 person-rem (440 person-mSv) for 65 pressurized-water reactors. Neither of these values differed from the 5-year average.

There were 30,294 individuals that were monitored at two or more licensees during the monitoring year. The assessment of the average measurable dose per individual is adjusted each year to account for the reporting of a measurable dose for transient individuals by multiple licensees. The adjustment to account for transient individuals has been specifically noted in footnotes in the figures and tables for commercial nuclear power reactors.

1Commercial nuclear power reactors and test reactor facilities; industrial radiographers; fuel processors (including uranium enrichment facilities), fabricators, and reprocessors; manufacturing and distribution of byproduct material; independent spent fuel storage installations; facilities for land disposal of low-level waste; and geologic repositories for high-level waste. There are currently no NRC licensees involved in low-level waste disposal or geologic repositories for high-level waste.

2A new feature in this report presents additional Statistical Comparisons which are described in further detail in Section 2.2.

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