Occupational Radiation Exposure at Commercial Nuclear Power Reactors and Other Facilities 2020: Fifty-Third Annual Report (NUREG-0713, Volume 42)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: August 2022
Date Published: September 2022

Prepared by:
T.A. Brock
M.N. Nguyen
D.A. Hagemeyer*
D.B Holcomb*

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

T.A. Brock, NRC Project Manager

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 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 2020 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 2020 were received from a total of 173 NRC licensees from the five categories included in this report. The summation of reports submitted by the 173 licensees indicated that 133,139 individuals were monitored, 58,970 of whom received a measurable dose (dose that is reported as positive value, see Table 3.1). When adjusted for transient individuals, there were actually 94,779 unique individuals monitored, 43,473 of whom received a measurable dose (see Section 5).

The collective dose incurred by these individuals was 6,408 person-rem (64,080 person-millisieverts [mSv]), which represents a 10 percent decrease from the 2019 value (see Table 3.1). The 2020 collective dose is 19 percent lower than the 5-year average of 7,896 person-rem (2015 – 2019), which is a statistically significant change.2 The decrease in collective dose in 2020 was due to decreases in all 5 categories; spent fuel storage licensees (77 percent decrease), industrial radiography licensees (32 percent decrease), manufacturing and distribution (M&D) licensees (9 percent decrease), commercial nuclear power reactor licensees (4 percent decrease), and fuel cycle licenses (2 percent decrease). When compared to the 5-year average of collective dose for each category, commercial nuclear power reactor licensees, M&D, and industrial radiography each had a statistically significant decrease. The decreases for the remaining two categories were not statistically significant.

The number of individuals receiving a measurable dose decreased by 2 percent from 2019, and was 13 percent below the 5-year average and statistically significant. When adjusted for transient Individuals, the average measurable dose of 0.15 rem (1.5 mSv) was lower in 2020, compared to 0.2 rem (2.0 mSv) in 2019, and is not statistically significant when compared to 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 2020, the average annual collective dose per reactor for light-water reactor (LWR) licensees was 52 person-rem (520 person-mSv). This is a 3 percent decrease from the value reported for 2019 (Table 4.3), but is not statistically significant when compared to the 5-year average. The total outage hours at commercial nuclear power plants increased 8 percent from 2019 to 2020 [Ref. 1]. The collective dose for the LWR licensee category decreased 182 person-rem (1,820 person-mSv) from 5,081 person-rem (50,810 person-mSv) in 2019 to 4,899 person-rem (48,990 person-mSv). The average annual collective dose per reactor was 95 person-rem (950 person-mSv) for the 31 boiling-water reactors (BWRs) and 31 person-rem (310 person-mSv) for 64 pressurized-water reactors (PWRs). The BWR 2020 value is 14 percent lower than the 5-year average annual collective dose per BWR reactor, and is a statistically significant decrease. The 2020 value for PWR licensees is 12 percent below the 5-year average annual collective dose per PWR reactor and is not statistically significant when compared to the 5-year average. The primary driver for the decrease in collective dose was the closure of Duane Arnold (BWR). Additionally, Indian Point 2 closed in 2020, but since the collective dose was included in the site’s report in combination with Indian Point 3, doses for both units are included in the 2020 report.

There were 15,621 individuals 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 adjustments to account for transient individuals are noted in the footnotes for the applicable figures and tables of the commercial nuclear power reactors.

1 Commercial 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.

2 This report presents additional Statistical Comparisons in Section 2.2.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, November 30, 2022