PEP Courses


In-Person PEPs will be taught in Phoenix, AZ. All times shown below are Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). Virtual attendees must adjust for their local time.

If a PEP is given virtually you will be sent a link to watch the PEP virtually from home or your hotel room. There will NOT be a room on-site at the convention center to watch the PEP.
If a PEP is given in person, you can participate in the course in person or virtually. If you are attending virtually, you will be sent a link to watch it LIVE through the SignalWire platform. If you are attending in person, the course will take place at the Phoenix Convention Center.

AAHP is evaluating the number of Continuing Education Credits awarded for each of the PEP (and CEL) courses based on technical content. Course instructors will be able to provide this information at the time of the presentation. This information will also be made available on the AAHP recertification site after data entry is completed.

Sunday, July 25, 8:00am – 10:00am PDT

PEP 1-A: Palomares Dose Reconstruction

S. Rademacher, PhD, CHP, AFSES/SEW

In January 1966, two USAF aircraft collided over Palomares, Spain. One of the aircraft was a B-52 carrying 4 hydrogen bombs as part of its payload. Plutonium was released into the environment and over the years, thousands of USAF personnel have been involved in the clean-up.

A significant effort was undertaken to prepare dose estimates for all the personnel involved in the incident response and recovery. This PEP will highlight that work.

PEP 1-B: VIRTUAL – Harmony in Concepts and Units for Internal Dose Calculations for Nuclear Medicine Applications or for Protection of Radiation Workers

M. Stabin, PhD, CHP; NV5/Dade Moeller and RADAR, Inc.

Internal dose calculations for nuclear medicine applications or for protection of radiation workers are based on the same fundamental concepts and units. The various systems developed to provide a basis for the needed calculations (e.g. ICRP 30/60/103, MIRD, RADAR) use equations that appear to be different, but are in fact identical when carefully studied. The RADAR method harmonized the defining equations and units employed to provide quantitative analysis for these two general problem areas. This program will show, from a theoretical standpoint, how all of these systems are identical in concept, and will then show, using practical examples, how each is applied to solve different problems. For nuclear medicine, an overview will be given of the current state of the art and promise for future improvements to provide more patient specificity in calculations and better ability to predict biological effects from calculated doses. For occupational applications of internal dosimetry, an overview will be given of currently applicable models and methods for bioassay analysis and dose assessment, showing several practical examples.

NOTE: This is a repeat of the virtual PEP offered in October 2020. The AAHP will not offer continuing education credits for participation in both sessions.

PEP 1-C: Nonionizing Radiation: An Overview of Biological Effects and Exposure Limits

B. Edwards Cree Inc.

This course provides a fundamental overview of nonionizing radiation (NIR) hazards and biological effects. Course attendees will learn the basic terminology and nomenclature, spectral region designations, regulatory framework, and consensus guidance associated with NIR. The course material will begin at the edge of the ionizing part of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum and walk participants through a tour of the optical, radiofrequency (including microwave), and extremely low frequency (ELF) portions of the EM range, finally ending with static electric and magnetic fields. The existence of a series of exposure limits covering the entire NIR spectrum forms one of the course’s basic themes. This continuous line of “safe” exposure levels helps establish the concept that NIR dose-response curves are at least well enough understood at all parts of the spectrum to provide a reasonably safe exposure envelope within which we can operate. After completing this course, attendees will be conversant in the major sources and associated hazards in each part of the NIR spectrum, along with the recognized exposure limits and control measures for those sources. Armed with this information, safety professionals can better recognize, evaluate, and communicate the hazards associated with the spectrum of significant NIR sources and address workers’ concerns in a credible, fact-based, knowledgeable, and professional manner .While some knowledge of optical, radiofrequency, ELF, and static electromagnetic field characteristics may be helpful, both experienced and novice health physicists with NIR interests or responsibilities will benefit from this course.

PEP 1-D: VIRTUAL – Contemporary Topics Affecting Radiation Safety Program Operations: Session 1

Robert Emery and Janet Gutierrez, University of Texas

The practice of radiation safety is actually the convergence of a variety of professional disciplines, thus changes and developments that affect the field can emerge from a variety of sources. This PEP is designed to address two contemporary issues confronting radiation safety program operations:

  • The promise and peril of “citizen science”
  • Anticipating and adapting to change within your organization

Ample time will be allotted for participant questions and discussion. The particular topics included in the PEP series have been recently identified as extraordinarily useful to participants in the highly successful week-long “University of Texas EH&S Academy”

PEP 1-E: VIRTUAL – The Ins and Outs of Wound Counting

Jason E Davis, ORAU-REAC/TS

This Professional Enrichment Program course addresses practical aspects of evaluating the extent, location, and quantity of radioactive material in and around a wound. The course includes an overview of the equipment available for wound counting, and the appropriate use and care of this equipment. Sources of uncertainty in measurements, their impact on dosimetry and medical decision making, and techniques for accounting for these sources of error are also discussed. Cases involving contaminated injuries involving fission-activation products and transuranic radionuclides are reviewed to emphasize the unique aspects of the care and treatment of contaminated wounds.

Sunday, July 25, 10:30am – 12:30pm PDT

PEP 2-A: Integration of Health Physics into Emergency Response

Stephen L. Sugarman, MS, CHP, CHCM, Vice President and Corporate Health Physicist, Summit Exercises and Training

In the event of a radiation incident it is essential that the radiological situation is properly, yet rapidly, assessed so that a proper response can be planned. Various techniques can be employed to help gather the necessary information needed. There are many groups of responders that need to be considered such as law enforcement, EMS, fire, and healthcare providers. Most, if not all, of these groups have relatively little understanding of the realistic hazards associated with radiation. It is not always necessary to incorporate wholesale changes to the way things may usually be done in the absence of radioactive materials. For instance, law enforcement officers routinely incorporate stand-off distances when approaching a suspect or other dangerous situation. Firefighters are familiar with the use of protective clothing and respiratory protection. EMS and healthcare providers routinely incorporate contamination control practices – universal precautions and proper patient handling techniques – into their everyday jobs. Coupled with a good event history and other data, health physicists can help to develop a strategy for safely and effectively responding to a radiological event. Support duties can also include assessment of dose responders or patients and assistance with communication issues affecting incident response, medical care, or with external entities such as regulators and the media. As time goes on and more information, such as bioassay or biological dosimetry data, plume data, and other additional data is received the health physicist will be called upon to interpret that data and communicate its meaning to the decision-makers and otherwise advise incident command. It is, therefore, essential that health physicists are able to seamlessly integrate themselves into the response environment and effectively communicate their findings to a wide variety of people.

PEP 2-B: Federal Radiological Response Teams

Kenneth Groves, CHP, Sevorg Services, LLC

This PEP will offer a review of both Federal and State (Federally-Funded) Radiological/Nuclear Emergency Response Teams/Assets. FIRST AND FOREMOST—ALL EMERGENCIES ARE LOCAL (AND AT BEST REGIONAL)! The response times for both Federal and State resources are not fixed; so it is critical that local jurisdictions have planned for the first 24+ hours without outside support. It is critical that “regional” plans be in place, documented, trained and exercised if your response is to be effective!

PEP 2-C: Laser Safety for Health Physicists

B. Edwards Cree Inc.

This course provides an overview of laser physics, biological effects, hazards, and control measures, as well as a concise distillation of the requirements in the ANSI Z136 .1-2014 Standard for the Safe Use of Lasers. Non beam hazards, emerging issues, and accident histories with lessons learned will also be covered. Course attendees will learn practical laser safety principles to assist in developing and conducting laser safety training, performing safety evaluations, and effectively managing an institutional laser safety program. While some knowledge of laser hazards will be helpful, both experienced and novice health physicists with laser safety responsibilities will benefit from this course. Attendees may find it helpful to bring their own copy of ANSI Z136.1-2014.

PEP 2-D: VIRTUAL – Contemporary Topics Affecting Radiation Safety Program Operations: Session 2

Robert Emery and Janet Gutierrez, University of Texas

The practice of radiation safety is actually the convergence of a variety of professional disciplines, thus changes and developments that affect the field can emerge from a variety of sources. This PEP is designed to address two contemporary issues confronting radiation safety program operations:

  • A radiation protection program logic model: considering inputs, outcomes and benchmarking opportunities
  • Radiation protection measures and metrics that matter (and how to display them)

Ample time will be allotted for participant questions and discussion. The particular topics included in the PEP series have been recently identified as extraordinarily useful to participants in the highly successful week-long “University of Texas EH&S Academy”

PEP 2-E: Gamma Spectroscopy for the Health Physicist

Mike Clemmer, ORTEC

This course offers a fast-paced review of the basic principles of gamma spectroscopic analysis for the health physicist. The course includes a review of the nature and origins of gamma-emitting radioactivity, basic physics of gamma interaction with matter, consequences of gamma interactions on gamma spectra, gamma spectroscopy system components and calibrations, gamma spectroscopy analysis methods, and interpretation of gamma spectroscopy data.

Sunday, July 25, 2:30pm – 4:30pm PDT

PEP 3-A: Alpha Spectroscopy for the Health Physicist

Mike Clemmer, ORTEC

This course offers a fast-paced review of the basic principles of alpha spectroscopic analysis for the health physicist. The course includes a review of the nature and origins of alpha-particle emitting radioactivity, basic physics of alpha-particle interaction with matter, considerations and consequences of sample preparation for alpha spectroscopy, alpha spectroscopy system components and calibrations, and a primer on interpretation of alpha spectroscopy data.

PEP 3-C: Performing ANSI Z136-Based Laser Hazard Calculations

B. Edwards Cree Inc.

This course provides a step-by-step guide to performing laser hazard calculations based on the principles and methodology in the ANSI Z136.1-2014 Standard for the Safe Use of Lasers. Attendees will gain an understanding of how to complete these calculations for continuous wave, pulsed, and repetitively pulsed laser systems. While some knowledge of laser hazards will be helpful, both experienced and novice health physicists with laser-safety responsibilities will benefit from this course. However, anyone not already familiar with the fundamentals of radiometry and the arcane conventions of the Z136 series of standards for the safe use of lasers would benefit from attending the Laser Safety for Health Physicists PEP so they’ll have some familiarity with the concepts under discussion. Attendees will also find bringing their own copy of ANSI Z136.1-2014 a useful reference.

PEP 3-D: VIRTUAL – Getting started in consulting: Some practical things about consulting in private practice

A. Karam, CHP

Ahh…the life of a consultant! Interesting projects, variety, setting your own hours, and finally having a boss you respect…and finding work, setting rates, writing work and cost proposals, taxes, waiting to get paid, and wondering if you ought to incorporate and/or have liability insurance. It turns out there are a lot of practical aspects to being in private practice that a lot of folks don’t think about when they decide to start consulting – and especially when they make the leap from consulting part-time to relying on it to pay the bills. That’s what we’ll be going over in this PEP – a few examples of fun or interesting projects, and then all the other stuff that also needs to be attended to; the stuff that brings in the work, gets us paid, and keeps us out of trouble.

Monday, July 26, 12:15pm – 2:15pm PDT

PEP M-1: VIRTUAL – Nuclear Space Launch Policy and Planning

Chris Hallam, EPA; Elaine Marshall, AFSES/SES (Dawson)

Nuclear power and propulsion systems have been instrumental parts of the United States’ space exploration portfolio for decades. These systems have allowed the US to be a leader among spacefaring nations. The US is committed to applying this technology safely, securely and sustainably in what will soon be a very busy space nuclear industry.

This PEP will speak to history of the space nuclear power and propulsions systems, the nuclear safety review, and the recent changes to space policy. The second part will address the ongoing collaborative efforts of governmental and commercial organizations to implement national space policy. Finally, this course will also speak to how one organization plans to implement the requirements.

PEP M-2: RDD Primer

Gus Potter, SNL

This PEP is a RDD primer. Because of the nature of the discussion, this session will only be offered in person and will not be recorded.

PEP M-3: VIRTUAL – Understanding Alpha Radiation Therapy: From Pre-clinical Considerations to Clinical Outcomes

Frank I. Lin, MD, Stephen Alder, PhD, Timothy Phelps, PhD, National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

This PEP will offer viewers an insight to several studies conducted using the alpha radiation therapies conducted through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Each study presented will provide a conceptual understanding of the medical research use of the therapies, in correlation to the researcher’s perspective in health physics. The presentations will include information about: (1) patients with osteoblastic bone metastases being candidates for radium-223 (Ra223Cl2) therapy and potentially undergoing sodium floride-18 (F18-NaF) positron emission tomography-computed tomography imaging to identify bone lesions, (2) reviewing the challenges to image radium for dosimetry calculations, (3) Pb-211 contamination caused by the outgassing of Rn-219 from Ra-223 in dry, liquid, and murine tissues samples made to help design proper handling procedures for Ra-223 in preclinical bio-distribution work and (4) the promise and successes of alpha therapies.

Tuesday, July 27, 12:15pm – 2:15pm PDT

PEP T-1: VIRTUAL – Understanding and Using the CAP88-PC Compliance Code

D. Stuenkel1, B. Littleton, R. Wood; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Trinity Engineering Associates

4.1, updates the existing Version 4.0 with new dose and risk conversion factors and includes some small modifications to the user interface. This 2-hour course will help users of the CAP88-PC users to understand the changes in this new version relative to previous versions; describe the bases for the underlying model; explain similarities and differences with other similar models and codes; and instruct users on proper use of the code and model for demonstrating regulatory compliance. The course will include a brief description of the model, information about the code’s architecture, along with demonstrations on how to install and use the code. Additional information on future update paths and regulatory approaches will also be presented.

PEP T-2: Where Did This Come From? Lessons Learned from High-Routine Bioassay Investigations

Eugene H. Carbaugh, CHP

This PEP class provides actual case studies of high-routine bioassay measurements and discusses the investigation process, resolution, and lessons learned from each. High routine bioassay results can come from several sources, including normal statistical fluctuation of the measurement process, interference from non-occupational sources, and previous occupational intakes, as well as new intakes. A good worker monitoring program will include an investigation process that addresses these alternatives and comes to a reasonable conclusion regarding which is most likely. A subtle nuance to these investigations is the possibility that a newly detected high-routine measurement might represent an old intake that has only now become detectable. This can result from the worker being placed on a different bioassay measurement protocol, a change in analytical sensitivity, unusual biokinetics associated with highly insoluble inhalations, or lack of a clear work history. As sites close down, the detailed dosimetry records of specific worker exposures are archived, becoming relatively inaccessible, with only summary dose information available. Likewise, the “tribal knowledge” of the site becomes lost or seriously diluted as knowledgeable employees retire or move on. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the site performing a potential intake investigation to thoroughly address the possible alternatives or face the consequence of accepting responsibility for a new intake. The presenter has encountered all of the foregoing issues in the course of investigating 30 years of high-routine bioassay measurements at the U.S. Department of Energy Hanford Site. The important lessons learned include, 1) have good measurement verification protocols, 2) confirm intakes by more than one bioassay measurement, 3) conduct interviews with workers concerning their specific circumstances and recollections, 4) have good retrievable site records for work history reviews, 5) exercise good professional judgment in putting the pieces together to form a conclusion, and 6) clearly communicate the conclusions to the worker, the employer, and the regulatory agency.

PEP T-3: VIRTUAL – Technical Basis and Operational Experience for Clearance of Personal Property From SLAC Accelerator Facilities

S. Rokni, SLAC

At high energy particle accelerators, induced radioactivity in accelerator components or materials can occur as a direct or indirect consequence to exposure to the particle beam and/or the secondary radiation particles due to beam losses. Management of the potentially activated materials is an important part of the radiation protection program. This presentation addresses the release of the materials from radiological control (i.e., clearance of personal property) in accelerator facilities to meet the DOE Order 458.1 requirements. SLAC, a high-energy electron accelerator facility, has successfully release metals for recycle in the past few years. The SLAC material clearance program with its technical bases are consistent with the DOE Technical Standard DOE-STD-6004-2016 on “Clearance and Release of Personal Property from Accelerator Facilities”.

The technical bases that support the clearance of metals (e.g., aluminum, iron, steel, copper, and lead) associated operational experience at SLAC will be presented. The emphasis of the technical basis is placed on the volumetric radioactivity aspects, instead of surface contamination, due to potential activation at high-energy accelerator facilities and the more challenging measurement methods for volumetric radioactivity. The technical basis includes process knowledge (e.g., characteristics of induced radioactivity, proxy radionuclides versus the hard-to-measure radionuclides, and surface maximum activity), measurement protocols (including quantification of detection capability), and a release criterion based on that the release measurements are indistinguishable from background (IFB).

SLAC has developed and implemented a material management and release program for the material clearance and metal recycling. The program includes the establishment of radiation detection instrumentation and measurement methods to meet the ANSI N13.12 screening level requirements for clearance of accelerator materials. These instruments include portable instruments with sufficient detection capability for survey on material surfaces, field gamma spectrometer for confirmatory measurements, and a portal gate monitor. The discussion will also include best practices for instrument set-up, field measurements, documentation and record management, and communication with stakeholders. A summary of recycling progress, as well as lessons learned and mitigation of safety hazards, at SLAC will be provided.