United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Reassessment of NRC's Dollar Per Person-Rem Conversion Factor Policy, Draft Report for Comment (NUREG-1530, Revision 1)

This NUREG-series publication was issued for public comment. The comment period is now closed.

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: August 2015
Date Published: August 2015

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

Alysia G. Bone, NRC Project Manager

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This proposed revision to NUREG-1530, "Reassessment of NRC's Dollar per Person-Rem Conversion Factor Policy," revises the dollar per person-rem conversion factor (NRC, 1995a). NUREG-1530 was initially published in December 1995. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) uses the dollar per person-rem conversion in cost-benefit analyses to determine the monetary valuation of the consequences associated with radiological exposure and establishes this factor by multiplying a value of a statistical life coefficient by a nominal risk coefficient.1 The 1995 version of NUREG-1530 set the dollar per-person rem value at $2,000.2 This number resulted from the multiplication of the value of a statistical life ($3 million) by the risk coefficient for stochastic health effects (7.3 x 10-4 per person-rem).3 NUREG-1530 instructs the staff to round the dollar per person-rem conversion factor to the nearest $1,000 value.

This revision to NUREG-1530 makes five changes to the previous version. First, it updates the dollar per person-rem conversion factor to $5,100 per person-rem. The value is based on an updated value of a statistical life of $9.0 million and a nominal risk coefficient factor of 5.7 x 10-4 per person-rem. Second, it uses low and high estimates of a statistical life value instead of a single value. Third, it directs the staff to round the conversion factor to two significant figures instead of simply rounding to the nearest $1,000 value. Fourth, it establishes a method for keeping the dollar per person-rem conversion factor current. Finally, it provides guidance to the staff on when to use a higher dollar per person-rem conversion factor.

1 The International Commission on Radiological Protection defines nominal risk coefficient as the "sex-averaged and age-at-exposure-averaged lifetime risk estimates for a representative population." This coefficient combines the cancer risks and heritable risks from radiation exposure (ICRP, 2007).

2 In order to be consistent with the Commission's policy on metrication (57 FR 46202), the conversion factor should be expressed in dollars per person-sievert (Sv) with the value in English units following parenthetically. Note that a sievert (Sv) is equal to 100 rem. Therefore, for example, $2,000 per person-rem is equal to $200,000 per person Sv. However, for purposes of continuity and to facilitate review, dollars per person-rem shall be the unit used throughout this report.

3 Stochastic health effects refer to the likelihood that effects will occur from long-term, low-level exposure to radiation.

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