HPS 66th Annual Meeting

Phoenix, Arizona
July 25th-29th 2021

Single Session

[Schedule Grid]

THAM-C - Homeland Security and Emergency Response

North 224AB   07:45 - 12:00

THAM-C.1   07:45  Preventing a Dirty Bomb: Case Studies and Lessons Learned IM Iliopulos, Nuclear Threat Initiative ; J Bufford*, Nuclear Threat Initiative; Io Iliopulos

Abstract: Preventing a Dirty Bomb: A Blueprint for Reducing Radiological Risks tells the stories of major urban areas and institutions in the United States that have made the decision to remove and replace medical and research devices containing cesium-137 with equally effective alternatives that do not pose the security risks associated with high-activity radiological materials. Although there is no regulatory mandate to achieve permanent threat reduction by removing these potentially dangerous sources, hospitals, research centers, and governments increasingly are recognizing the risks associated with radiological devices and are voluntarily removing and replacing them. This paper outlines those risks and offers successful models for permanent risk reduction at a mid-sized research institution, Emory University; a very large, statewide university system, the University of California; and a major urban center, New York City. The paper identifies key roles played by federal, state, and local regulators, operators, and decision makers in implementing cesium-137 substitution strategies. It highlights the incentives, challenges, and information gaps that shape decisions to move away from cesium-137 irradiators. The paper also is intended to: 1. Educate public health officials at the local and state levels, hospital chief operating officers (COOs) and administrators, and other cesium-137 users about the advantages of alternative technologies: greater efficacy, improved security, reduced costs and liability, and more flexible research applications. 2. Identify and advocate for areas where adjustments to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulations and practices could do more to incentivize securing and replacing cesium-137 sources and devices. 3. Foster a network of technical professionals to facilitate collaboration and share experiences among users and regulators in the field. The "lessons learned" in this report are based on consultations with stakeholders in New York City, Atlanta, and California. NTI also surveyed other officials and administrators directly involved in replacing cesium-137 devices about their experiences. These case studies offer a roadmap for successful consensus building around cesium-137 and can be replicated in a wide range of institutional settings and major metropolitan areas. In addition to providing security benefits, alternative technologies to cesium-137 also can provide long-term cost savings and operational benefits. Using x-ray irradiators reduces the need to maintain expensive surveillance systems and security procedures and eliminates the high costs of material disposal.

THAM-C.2   08:00  Uncertainty Propagation in ICRP 66 Human Respiratory Tract Model (HRTM) Applications in DCAL DE Margot*, Texas A&M University ; LD Cochran, Sandia National Laboratories; CM Jelsema, Sandia National Laboratories; SA Dewji, Texas A&M University

Abstract: For internal dosimetry, International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) Publication 66 outlines the human respiratory tract model (HRTM) for the inhalation pathway. The model has sixty-nine parameters, covering particle deposition, particle clearance, and dosimetric values. The parameters are distinct point values for biokinetic transfer rates, tissue energy absorption fractions, and dosimetric reference values to compute a deterministic dose. Currently, consequence management tools use dose coefficients computed by DCAL (Dose and Risk Calculator), which employs the ICRP 66 HRTM. As a preliminary study that is part of a larger effort between Texas A&M and Sandia National Laboratories for a National Nuclear Security Administration-supported effort, a sensitivity analysis of the ICRP 66 model of inhalation dose coefficient values used in TurboFRMAC derived response levels (DRLs) was conducted. The uncertainty range of each parameter was evaluated with regard to particle solubility and size variability, resulting in a probability density function of the value range. The uncertainty was then propagated in the calculation of the computed dose and corresponding DRL. In order to better define the range of uncertainty of the output generated by the ICRP 66 model in TurboFRMAC DRLs, an uncertainty analysis of the input parameters was performed by sampling input values from defined probability density functions using DAKOTA, a statistical software package for sampling parameters from probability density functions. The resultant dose range will result in a better understanding of potential dose to members of the public from internal exposure, and therefore increase the scientific defensibility of protective action decisions during radiological emergency responses.

THAM-C.3   08:15  A Graded Approach to Emergency Preparedness for Nuclear Power Reactors RE Kahler, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) ; Todd Smith*, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

Abstract: The NRC is preparing for the evolving future of nuclear power reactors, which includes the development of a graded approach to emergency preparedness for small modular reactors and new technologies. But while emergency preparedness continues to evolve, the NRC's mission, values, and principles of good regulation remain the grounding forces for the agency in order to ensure that the public’s health and safety is maintained. This presentation will discuss how a graded approach to emergency preparedness has been one of the pillars of the development of the NRC’s proposed rule for small modular reactors (SMR) and new technologies. This graded approach would base the EPZ size on the risk posed by the facility and could result in an EPZ size that is not greater than the site boundary, or at least smaller than what is required for the current fleet of large light water reactors, due to the very low risk the SMR/Next Generation Reactor poses.

THAM-C.4   08:30  Non-Radiological Health Effects from Evacuation and Relocation TR Smith*, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) ; TG Adams, Gryphon Scientific

Abstract: Evacuation and relocation are important protection actions to prevent or reduce exposure following emergency events, but they are not without their own risks. Previous research has identified these risks, but the magnitude has not been calculated. This study includes a meta-analysis of 14 health effects experienced by evacuees and relocated populations. Effects studied include anxiety, heart disease, and mortality, among others. Following a literature review of over 1,000 papers, 82 papers were selected for a meta-analysis. The likelihood of an effect in a population was estimated using odds ratios and prevalence of health effects in displaced and nondisplaced populations across various hazards. A meta-regression was performed to identify which event factors contributed to unusually high or low prevalence of health effects among displaced and nondisplaced populations. The meta-analysis showed an association between displacement and an increase in all the negative health effects studied. Additionally, a higher prevalence among displaced populations was statistically significant for nine health effects. These findings suggest that evacuation or relocation have associated quantifiable long-term risks as a result of the prolonged displacement and also suggest that these risks could be considered by protective action decision-makers to balance the risk-benefit of protective actions.

THAM-C.5   08:45  Radiation and Nuclear Countermeasures Program at NIAID/NIH C Rios*, NIH

Abstract: The public health response and national security threats from radiological/nuclear terrorism or accidents are significant concerns. Established in 2004, the RNCP supports basic, pre-clinical and translational, research to accelerate development of medical countermeasures (MCMs) and biodosimetry tools for use during a radiation public health emergency. The RNCP supports research to understand, diagnose, mitigate radiation injuries, including the acute radiation syndrome (ARS) and delayed effects of acute radiation exposure (DEARE). Advancements have been made through targeted programmatic funding such as the Centers for Medical Countermeasures against Radiation Consortium (CMCRC), cellular therapies, vascular injuries, and biomarkers consortia, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Technology Transfer (STTR) grants, contracts, and interagency agreements (IAAs). The program also supports a nonhuman primate (NHP) radiation survivor cohort, which is monitored for late effects of radiation exposure. Findings include prolonged immune impairment, evidence of adipose tissue insulin resistance in radiation-induced type 2 diabetes, and profibrotic monocyte/macrophage polarization in blood and tissues. The RNCP has funded development of well-characterized small and large animal models and services to advance promising MCMs and diagnostics toward licensure. This effort has been undertaken through an IAA with the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI) and a Product Development Support (PDS) contract, currently with SRI International. Recent PDS studies used a NHP model of hematopoietic ARS to demonstrate that Nplate® (romiplostim) significantly improved survival after a lethal radiation exposure and accelerated platelet recovery. The data were used for recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the drug on January 28th, 2021. To continue to address research gaps and advance additional products toward approval, the RNCP seeks additional opportunities to pursue MCMs and biodosimetry approaches in all stages of research, from basic through advanced development.

THAM-C.6   09:00  Gamma Irradiators and Financial Liabilities jk kamen*, Mount Sinai ; ja kamen

Abstract: According to published information, the 9/11 attacks cost about $47 billion and sparked an investigation which lead to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) development of 10 CFR part 37 calling for mandatory extra security for high activity radioactive sources. Ever since, there has been a push by the US government to eliminate the threat of a radiological dispersal device (RDD) or a “dirty bomb” event on U.S. soil. The 2019 leakage at the University of Washington in Seattle from a Cesium irradiator totaled about $100 million in cleanup costs, which was absorbed by the US Department of Energy (DOE) as it was their subcontractor who was responsible for source breach. The cost from a malicious use of such source as an RDD, would have been much higher. The NRC mandates that radioactive material licensees who possess high quantities of radioactive sealed sources obtain financial assurance. However, the threshold for such requirement is 100,000 Curies (Ci) for Cesium and majority of Cesium irradiators have only a few thousands Ci. Not requiring financial assurance by the NRC could lead to a false sense of security, or at least liability, if there is a terrorist use of a dirty bomb. In most cases, standard facility insurance policies do not include coverage for acts of terrorism, and it is unclear if nuclear, chemical, biological, and radiological (NCBR) attacks are adequately addressed by the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act of 2002 (TRIA). Unlike U.S nuclear power plants, which are forgiven from any wrongdoings and are government backed via the Price-Anderson Act, medical use licenses are not offered the same option for pooled no-fault insurance. In the event of a cesium release similar to the Seattle incident, but the responsible party for the spread contamination is not the DOE, then who would pay the enormous price tag? Licensees are encouraged to investigate their liabilities and insurance coverages and explore financial incentives offered by the US government offices of DOE-NNSA-ORS under OSRP and CIRP program not only to dispose their present gamma irradiator’s sources for free but also financial support to replace them with alternative technologies.

THAM-C.7   09:15  Increased Safety Measures for Cesium and Cobalt Irradiator Removals (LA-UR-21-21590) F Cocina*, Los Alamos National Laboratory ; CJ MacKenzie, Systematic Management Services; T Taplin, National Nuclear Security Administration

Abstract: In response to lessons learned from a 2019 contamination incident during a source removal in Seattle, WA, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA), Office of Radiological Security’s (ORS) Off-Site Source Recovery Program (OSRP) has implemented new procedures and contracting requirements to enhance safety during removal of irradiation devices containing Category 1 and 2 radioactive materials. These new safety measures are applied based on the complexity of each removal, which is determined by the model of the device and the acceptable content for transport containers. The lowest complexity removals are those where the entire device can be placed in the container without removing the source from the device shielding. However, several device models present a challenge for removal due to limited availability of packaging options. These devices require removal of the source from the device shielding or a “source transfer”. NNSA is working to identify methods to package these devices that minimizes increased risk. To mitigate potential hazards, contracting procedures have been strengthened to ensure the selection of the most qualified subcontractor(s) for the removal of a given device. Following an initial site visit, subcontractors are required to produce detailed site-specific work-control documents, which will be reviewed by an independent panel of health and safety experts. OSRP personnel will be on site to conduct oversight and assist with issues resolution during all removal operations. Most importantly, the ability of all parties, including the on-site facilities representative, to pause or stop work in the event of an unanticipated safety issue or other concern is communicated and reinforced. OSRP has resumed low complexity recoveries, and a pilot recovery is being planned to test the new requirements for more complex recoveries in 2021.

09:30  BREAK

THAM-C.8   10:00  In-Situ, Field Gamma Spectrometry in a Radionuclide Air Sampler LS Lebel*, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories ; K Barlow, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories; T Clouthier, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

Abstract: The work being presented is on the development of a system to measure the speciation of airborne radionuclide emissions from the environment during a nuclear emergency. The goal is to have a system that could provide live, near real-time information about the concentrations of different radionuclides in the air, without having to rely on human intervention. On-site air sampling measurements that were conducted during the Fukushima Daiichi accident were limited because field teams had to be sent out to run the sampling systems and retrieve the filters for gamma spectrometry analysis in a separate laboratory. The start of air sampling was delayed, and it was impossible for emergency responders to use the information about the airborne radionuclide composition in a timely way. The development of the prototype in the current work is largely being enabled by Cd-Zn-Te spectrometers, which provide reasonably high resolution spectrometry with a room temperature sensor, and allow the measurements to be conducted in the field. A custom filter cartridge has been designed to hold a pair of aerosol and iodine filters in place, while keeping the gamma spectrometers as close as possible in order to obtain high count rate efficiencies. A single cartridge holds both filters and has an internal flow channel directing the air flow between them. The cartridge design also facilitates replacing the filters as the accumulated radioactivity on the filters becomes too high. An automation system can move a filter cartridge from the fresh cartridge storage bank, to the sampling location (filtration and gamma spectrometry), and return the used filter cartridge to the used cartridge storage bank. Because the gamma spectrometry measurements are done in-situ, and the system is automated, it would allow data to be transmitted back to an emergency operations centre immediately, rather than having to wait for additional laboratory analysis.

THAM-C.9   10:15  2019 Harborview Irradiator Incident Overview TR Hay, WA Department of Health ; R Maharjan*, WA Department of Health; JB Napier, WA Department of Health

Abstract: In May of 2019 a Cs-137 research irradiator sealed source was inadvertently breached at the Harborview Medical Center Research and Training Building (HRT) in downtown Seattle. The irradiator was being removed and disposed of by University of Washington (UW), as part of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Off Site Source Recovery Program (OSRP). The breach resulted in thirteen individuals being contaminated with Cs-137. The breach also saw low level contamination spread throughout the nine story HRT building, resulting in its closure and need for remediation following the incident. As of this writing the HRT is still undergoing remediation activities.

THAM-C.10   10:30  Using a 2D array of dosimetric material to retrospectively reconstruct a 3D image of Special Nuclear Material (SNM) using Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) RP O'Mara, North Carolina State University ; RB Hayes*, North Carolina State University

Abstract: A method is shown by which a fission source was retrospectively reconstructed using a blind study based on both location and energy spectral characteristics. The source was a prompt critical burst of the Godiva HEU assembly and the blind retrospective characterization was done using thermo and optically stimulated luminescence of bricks and tiles placed in the vicinity of the source at the time of the burst. The location was very well determined and the average gamma energy was reconstructed well within the 95% confidence level

THAM-C.11   10:45  Nuclear Accident Simulation Study for River Bend Station: 2017 vs. 1992 Protective Action Guidelines MD McMahon*, Tulane University, New Orleans. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge.

Abstract: The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) has aligned its Radiological Emergency Planning and Response (REPR) program with the 2017 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Protective Action Guides (PAG) Manual. This change involves a transition from the ICRP 26/30 to the ICRP 60/72 Dose Assessment Methodology, and LDEQ is also adding a one-year old child thyroid dose evacuation threshold in lieu of distributing Potassium Iodide (KI) to the public. The Nuclear Power Plants will continue to align with the 1992 PAG manual for the foreseeable future, which could lead to possible accident scenarios in which LDEQ recommendations to government officials would differ from those of the utility. In preparation for this change, this study performs a comprehensive set of simulations of potential nuclear power plant accidents. Tabulating this data for a wide variety of accident and weather conditions will allow Entergy and LDEQ personnel to know in advance which conditions will likely lead to a differing set of recommendations so that they can prepare beforehand. These results can also provide guidance to other states as they evaluate making the transition to the 2017 PAGs. The results of this study for the River Bend Station Nuclear Power Plant (a Boiling Water Reactor (BWR)) are presented, using a combination of the RASCAL software package (provided by NRC) and URI, a Software system used by Entergy combining the basic RASCAL dose modeling methodology with plant specific input.

THAM-C.12   11:00  Radiation Source Mapping and Navigational Path Determinations for Radiation Source Searches LK Chung*, Stanford University ; MA Cooney, University of Michigan; AJ Kent, University of Michigan; KJ Liebler, University of Michigan; JD Noey, University of Michigan; KJ Kearfott, University of Michigan

Abstract: Algorithms that are able to efficiently and accurately map and localize either ionizing or non-ionizing sources are highly desirable for situations in which detectors may be moved to provide improved information about source location. Such cases include finding lost radioactive sources, assessing aftermaths of radiological terrorism and accidents, identifying WiFi jamming devices, and ensuring adequate coverage of emitters for assisting management of self-driving vehicles. In this study, a navigational path generation algorithm was developed for point sources that follow a simple inverse-square characteristic relative to the source location, although the overall approach would work for more complex relationships. In the algorithm, a non-linear least squares method is first employed to determine the most likely location of the source. The sensor then moves a fixed distance along the most direct path to the current best estimate of the source location. The process is repeated until two consecutive location estimations are within 10% of each other or until 40 iterations of source estimation. Success was defined as correctly locating the source to within 10% of the total grid length. Simulations were run on 100 different source activity levels at 100 different locations in a 10 m × 10 m × 10 m 3-D plane with different noise levels ranging from 0% to 20% added to sensor measurements. An 80% success rate was achieved within certain source activity levels of the simulation. Two-dimensional experimental data were also obtained using a 3.4 MBq Cesium-137 source on a 70 cm × 70 cm surface and a 2.5 μWm2 Wi-Fi router in a 70 m x 70 m open field, which showed a 79% and 58% success rate respectively. These results can be drastically improved by providing initial data before estimation begins. Future work includes correcting failure modes, developing desirable features, and optimizing the conversion conditions of the algorithm.

THAM-C.13   11:15  Data Security Considerations for Networked and Remote Stations in a Radiation and Weather Monitoring System AJ Kent*, University of Michigan ; CC Huang, University of Michigan; S Tawfik, University of Michigan; KJ Kearfott, University of Michigan

Abstract: Concerns about safe and secure data transmission are not limited to protection of sensitive information but extend to protection of the computers sending and receiving the data which may contain confidential information or be critical to the maintenance of operations. A monitoring system for both radiation and weather is being designed for educational purposes which will be based at a university but with stations potentially operated by high schools, museums, and members of the general public. In the design of this system, numerous strategies of safe data transfer were investigated. The initial strategy involved dumping data to a cloud service for retrieval by a database system. This presented numerous security concerns including the use of only a single data storage location, no method to verify safe files, and data limits by the cloud service. The next method investigated involved uploading data into onion packages–encrypted, untraceable packages–sent over The Onion Routing network, a system that moves onion packages across the web. This was deemed as too slow and inefficient for a final design, and The Onion Routing network connectivity itself may be blocked on some public networks. The next strategy involved using the Secure Shell File Transfer Protocol standard, a method of transferring encrypted files between computers, to securely send data to a managed virtual server. The server was added to monitor the data and verify it is free from malicious code and viruses. The server would then send the data to the main database and a backup database in the local network, allowing for redundancy in case of failure. This final approach greatly improved the initial design and security of data transfer while increasing the safety of data and redundancy of required data management servers and databases.

THAM-C.14   11:30  Rad/Nuc Smart Training Tool - A Powerful Alternative to Training with Live Sources JB Rolando*, Spectral Labs Incorporated ; SD Cao, Spectral Labs Incorporated; MC Hayden, Spectral Labs Incorporated; CJ Cosby, Spectral Labs Incorporated

Abstract: A major homeland security concern is protecting from radiological attacks. To defend against such attacks, adequate training is required for responders. Adequate training can be difficult and costly to run due to the limiting factors inherent to training with live radiation sources. Therefore, the Department of Homeland Security funded the development of RN-SUITE, a Rad/Nuc Smart Training Tool capable of simulating live sources. RN-SUITE reduces logistical burdens and costs associated with live sources by enabling users to conduct effective in-person rad/nuc training without live sources. The system is simple, low cost, and consists of: a base station that handles simulation calculations, a phone app that simulates common radiation detectors, and ultra-wideband (UWB) beacons that may represent a source, shield, or detector. Using these, a basic “easter egg hunt” style exercise may be easily setup by powering the unit, hiding source beacons, and giving trainees a detector beacon and phone. The system excels at simulating checkpoint screening and supports many other exercises. The kit may be used to train in areas where having a live source could be a safety concern. The flexibility of the kit allows rapid setup or adjustment of training scenarios. The configurable source beacons allow a wide variety of sources to be used. Additionally, the kit is compact, portable, and easy to use indoors or outdoors. Overall, RN-SUITE may greatly benefit organizations that wish to train more regularly but cannot procure a live source for training as often as needed. The provided talk will cover RN-SUITE in detail and will provide a case study which shows how RN-SUITE performs in the operational environment. This work has been supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, under competitively awarded contract 70RWMD20C00000013. This support does not constitute an express or implied endorsement on the part of the Government.

THAM-C.15   11:45  Optimization of a Ground Sampler Network for Postdetonation Debris Collection DA Hooper*, Oak Ridge National Laboratory ; ED Kabela, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; JP Lefebvre, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Abstract: After a near-surface nuclear weapon detonation, potentially millions of tons or more of radioactive debris may be generated and lofted into the air with the fireball (the “mushroom cloud”). Much of the debris will eventually settle to the ground as fallout, where it presents a potential radiation hazard to people, animals, plants, and equipment within the fallout field. Although computer models often satisfactorily predict the fallout field, measurements must be taken to objectively assess the area, location, and radioactivity of the debris. Ground-based air samplers represent a method to ascertain not only the location and quantity of the debris, but also the time of arrival. The siting of the air samplers must be done well ahead of a detonation, however the time and meteorological conditions of such a detonation are not known. In this research we model a 10-year climatological ensemble of detonations in various cities across the United States to determine the locations of highest likelihood of successful collections of fine debris (which may be too small for visual identification), assuming that the meteorological conditions of the detonation are unknown a priori. Time of arrival and duration were also statistically evaluated to optimize the most likely time windows for collection. We also evaluated the coverage probability of the Environmental Protection Agency’s existing Radiation Network (RadNet) and the limited International Monitoring System radionuclide stations within the continental United States. In sum, this research uses a climatological approach to demonstrate the feasibility of establishing optimized ground-based air sampler networks to collect postdetonation debris for consequence assessment without knowledge of the actual meteorological conditions.

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