skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Performance Evaluation of Whole Body Counting Facilities in the Marshall Islands (2002-2005)

Abstract

The United States Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) has recently implemented a series of strategic initiatives to address long-term radiological surveillance needs at former U.S. nuclear test sites in the Marshall Islands (https://eed.llnl.gov/mi/). Local atoll governments have been actively engaged in developing shared responsibilities for protecting the health and safety of resettled and resettling population at risk from exposure to elevated levels of residual fallout contamination in the environment. Under the program, whole body counting facilities have been established at three locations in the Marshall Islands. These facilities are operated and maintained by Marshallese technicians with scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) providing technical support services including data quality assurance and performance testing. We have also established a mirror whole body counting facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a technician training center. The LLNL facility also allows program managers to develop quality assurance and operational procedures, and test equipment and corrective actions prior to deployment at remote stations in the Marshall Islands. This document summarizes the results of external performance evaluation exercises conducted at each of the facilities (2002-2005) under the umbrella of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Intercomparison Studies Program (ISP). The ISP was specificallymore » designed to meet intercomparison requirements of the United States (U.S.) Department of Energy Laboratory Accreditation Program (DOELAP). In this way, the Marshall Islands Radiological Surveillance Program has attempted to establish quality assurance measures in whole body counting that are consistent with standard requirements used to monitor DOE workers in the United States. Based on ANSI N13.30, the acceptable performance criteria for relative measurement bias and precision for radiobioassay service laboratory quality control, performance evaluation, and accreditation is -25% to +50% and less than or equal to 40%, respectively.« less

Authors:
; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
919625
Report Number(s):
UCRL-TR-229724
TRN: US200825%%358
DOE Contract Number:
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
99 GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS//MATHEMATICS, COMPUTING, AND INFORMATION SCIENCE; EVALUATION; LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY; MARSHALL ISLANDS; NUCLEAR TEST SITES; PERFORMANCE; PERFORMANCE TESTING; QUALITY ASSURANCE; QUALITY CONTROL; WHOLE-BODY COUNTING

Citation Formats

Kehl, S R, Hamilton, T, Jue, T, and Hickman, D. Performance Evaluation of Whole Body Counting Facilities in the Marshall Islands (2002-2005). United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.2172/919625.
Kehl, S R, Hamilton, T, Jue, T, & Hickman, D. Performance Evaluation of Whole Body Counting Facilities in the Marshall Islands (2002-2005). United States. doi:10.2172/919625.
Kehl, S R, Hamilton, T, Jue, T, and Hickman, D. Tue . "Performance Evaluation of Whole Body Counting Facilities in the Marshall Islands (2002-2005)". United States. doi:10.2172/919625. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/919625.
@article{osti_919625,
title = {Performance Evaluation of Whole Body Counting Facilities in the Marshall Islands (2002-2005)},
author = {Kehl, S R and Hamilton, T and Jue, T and Hickman, D},
abstractNote = {The United States Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) has recently implemented a series of strategic initiatives to address long-term radiological surveillance needs at former U.S. nuclear test sites in the Marshall Islands (https://eed.llnl.gov/mi/). Local atoll governments have been actively engaged in developing shared responsibilities for protecting the health and safety of resettled and resettling population at risk from exposure to elevated levels of residual fallout contamination in the environment. Under the program, whole body counting facilities have been established at three locations in the Marshall Islands. These facilities are operated and maintained by Marshallese technicians with scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) providing technical support services including data quality assurance and performance testing. We have also established a mirror whole body counting facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a technician training center. The LLNL facility also allows program managers to develop quality assurance and operational procedures, and test equipment and corrective actions prior to deployment at remote stations in the Marshall Islands. This document summarizes the results of external performance evaluation exercises conducted at each of the facilities (2002-2005) under the umbrella of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Intercomparison Studies Program (ISP). The ISP was specifically designed to meet intercomparison requirements of the United States (U.S.) Department of Energy Laboratory Accreditation Program (DOELAP). In this way, the Marshall Islands Radiological Surveillance Program has attempted to establish quality assurance measures in whole body counting that are consistent with standard requirements used to monitor DOE workers in the United States. Based on ANSI N13.30, the acceptable performance criteria for relative measurement bias and precision for radiobioassay service laboratory quality control, performance evaluation, and accreditation is -25% to +50% and less than or equal to 40%, respectively.},
doi = {10.2172/919625},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Apr 03 00:00:00 EDT 2007},
month = {Tue Apr 03 00:00:00 EDT 2007}
}

Technical Report:

Save / Share:
  • Under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE), researchers from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) have recently implemented a series of initiatives to address long-term radiological surveillance needs at former nuclear test sites in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI). The aim of this radiological surveillance monitoring program (RSMP) is to provide timely radiation protection for individuals in the Marshall Islands with respect to two of the most important internally deposited fallout radionuclides-cesium-137 ({sup 137}Cs) and long-lived isotopes 239 and 240 of plutonium ({sup 239+240}Pu) (Robison et al., 1997 and references therein). Therefore, whole-body counting formore » {sup 137}Cs and a sensitive bioassay for the presence of {sup 239+240}Pu excreted in urine were adopted as the two most applicable in vivo analytical methods to assess radiation doses for individuals in the RMI from internally deposited fallout radionuclides (see Hamilton et al., 2006a-c; Bell et al., 2002). Through 2005, the USDOE has established three permanent whole-body counting facilities in the Marshall Islands: the Enewetak Radiological Laboratory on Enewetak Atoll, the Utrok Whole-Body Counting Facility on Majuro Atoll, and the Rongelap Whole-Body Counting Facility on Rongelap Atoll. These whole-body counting facilities are operated and maintained by trained Marshallese technicians. Scientists from LLNL provide the technical support and training necessary for maintaining quality assurance for data acquisition and dose reporting. This technical basis document summarizes the methodologies used to calculate the annual total effective dose equivalent (TEDE; or dose for the calendar year of measurement) based on whole-body counting of internally deposited {sup 137}Cs and the measurement of {sup 239+240}Pu excreted in urine. Whole-body counting provides a direct measure of the total amount (or burden) of {sup 137}Cs present in the human body at the time of measurement. The amount of {sup 137}Cs detected is often reported in activity units of kilo-Becquerel (kBq), where 1 kBq equals 1000 Bq and 1 Bq = 1 nuclear transformation per second (t s{sup -1}). [However, in the United States the Curie (Ci) continues to be used as the unit of radioactivity; where 1 Ci = 3.7 x 10{sup 10} Bq.] The detection of {sup 239}Pu and {sup 240}Pu in bioassay (urine) samples indicates the presence of internally deposited (systemic) plutonium in the body. Urine samples that are collected in the Marshall Islands from volunteers participating in the RSMP are transported to LLNL, where measurements for {sup 239+240}Pu are performed using a state-of-the-art technology based on Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) (Hamilton et al., 2004, 2007; Brown et al., 2004). The urinary excretion of plutonium by RSMP volunteers is usually described in activity units, expressed as micro-Becquerel ({micro}Bq) of {sup 239+240}Pu (i.e., representing the sum of the {sup 239}Pu and {sup 240}Pu activity) excreted (lost) per day (d{sup -1}), where 1 {micro}Bq d{sup -1} = 10{sup -6} Bq d{sup -1} and 1 Bq = 1 t s{sup -1}. The systemic burden of plutonium is then estimated from biokinetic relationships as described by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (e.g., see ICRP, 1990). In general, nuclear transformations are accompanied by the emission of energy and/or particles in the form of gamma rays ({gamma}), beta particles ({beta}), and/or alpha particles ({alpha}). Tissues in the human body may adsorb these emissions, where there is a potential for any deposited energy to cause biological damage. The general term used to quantify the extent of any radiation exposure is referred to as the dose. The equivalent dose is defined by the average absorbed dose in an organ or tissue weighted by the average quality factor for the type and energy of the emission causing the dose. The effective dose equivalent (EDE; as applied to the whole body), is the sum of the average dose equivalent for each tissue weighted by each applicable tissue-specific weighing factor (which equates to the sensitivity of that tissue to damage by the equivalent radiation dose it receives). The SI unit of effective dose equivalent is the joule per kilogram (J kg{sup -1}), named the Sievert (Sv). The unit often used by federal and state agencies in the United States to describe EDE continues to be the more historical radiation equivalent man (rem); where 1 rem = 0.01 Sv.« less
  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) contracts Brookhaven National Laboratory- (BNL) scientists to perform a whole-body counting (WBC) program of the people living at Enewetak Island since 1980. Goals of the program are to monitor the intake of fission products and to assure the radiation safety of the residing population. Under the current direction of the DOE Office of International Health Programs, a WBC unit has been transported and installed at the Enewetak Field Station during a mission from 27 November to 11 December 1995. Previous WBC missions had been conducted aboard a vessel provided by DOE. The main objectivemore » of this land-based approach is to provide a self-monitoring capability for the Enewetakese in any season at any time. The purposes of this paper are to (1) describe the technical basis for this land-based WBC operation, (2) report current monitoring results, and (3) compare the average cesium dose rates from this mission with previous WBC results. The minimum detectable amount (MDA) of the WBC system is about 60 Bq in a 900 s interval. Due to local life style in a tropical environment, about 20 counting measurements can be made per day. The average cesium body content measured during this mission is 307{+-}218 Bq for male adults, which is the lowest value since 1980. Assuming a continuous steady state intake of cesium, the corresponding effective dose rate from {sup 137}Cs is about 11 {mu}Sv y{sup -1}.« less
  • In 1978 the Marshall Islands Radiological Safety Program was organized to perform radiation measurements and assess radiation doses for the people of the Bikini, Enewetak, Rongelap and Utirik Atolls. One of the major field components of this program is whole- body counting (WBC). WBC is used to monitor the quantity of gamma- emitting radionuclides present in individuals. A primary objective of the program was to establish {sup 137}Cesium body contents among the Enewetak, Rongelap and Utirik populations. {sup 137}Cs was the only gamma-emitting fission radionuclide detected in the 1,967 persons monitored. {sup 137}Cs body burdens tended to increase with agemore » for both sexes, and were higher in males. The average {sup 137}Cs dose Annual Effective Dose for the three populations was as follows: For Enewetak, the dose was 22{+-}4 {mu}Sv. For Utirik, the dose was 33{+-} 3 {mu}Sv. Since 1985 the Rongelap people have been self-exiled to Mejatto. Biological elimination should have reduced their dose to virtually zero, and the measured dose was 2{+-}2 {mu}Sv. If they had remained on Rongelap Island, the calculated dose would have been 99 {mu}Sv, which is about one-third of the background dose. 7 refs., 1 tab. (MHB)« less
  • The United States Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) has recently implemented a series of strategic initiatives to address long-term radiological surveillance needs at former U.S. nuclear test sites in the Marshall Islands. The plan is to engage local atoll communities in developing shared responsibilities for implementing radiation protection monitoring programs for resettled and resettling populations in the northern Marshall Islands. Using the pooled resources of the U.S. DOE and local atoll governments, individual radiological surveillance programs have been developed in whole body counting and plutonium urinalysis in order to accurately assess radiation doses resulting from the ingestion and uptake ofmore » fallout radionuclides contained in locally grown foods. Permanent whole body counting facilities have been established at three separate locations in the Marshall Islands including Enewetak Island (Figure 1) (Bell et al., 2002). These facilities are operated and maintained by Marshallese technicians with scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) providing on-going technical support services. Bioassay samples are collected under controlled conditions and analyzed for plutonium isotopes at the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry at LLNL using state-of-the art measurement technologies. We also conduct an on-going environmental monitoring and characterization program at selected sites in the northern Marshall Islands. The aim of the environmental program is to determine the level and distribution of important fallout radionuclides in soil, water and local foods with a view towards providing more accurate and updated dose assessments, incorporating knowledge of the unique behaviors and exposure pathways of fallout radionuclides in coral atoll ecosystems. These scientific studies have also been essential in helping guide the development of remedial options used in support of island resettlement. Together, the individual and environmental radiological surveillance programs are helping meet the informational needs of the U.S. DOE and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Our updated environmental assessments provide a strong scientific basis for predicting future change in exposure conditions especially in relation to changes in lifestyle, diet and/or land-use patterns. This information has important implications in addressing questions about existing (and future) radiological conditions on the islands, in determining the cost and estimating the effectiveness of potential remedial measures, and in general policy support considerations. Perhaps most importantly, the recently established individual radiological surveillance programs provide affected atoll communities with an unprecedented level of radiation protection monitoring where, for the first time, local resources are being made available to monitor resettled and resettling populations on a continuous basis. As a hard copy supplement to Marshall Islands Program website (http://eed.llnl.gov/mi/), this document provides an overview of the individual radiation protection monitoring program established for the Enewetak Atoll population group along with a full disclosure of all verified measurement data (2002-2004). Readers are advised that an additional feature of the associated web site is a provision where users are able calculate and track doses delivered to volunteers (de-identified information only) participating in the Marshall Islands Radiological Surveillance Program.« less
  • The United States Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) has recently implemented a series of strategic initiatives to address long-term radiological surveillance needs at former U.S. nuclear test sites in the Marshall Islands. The plan is to engage local atoll communities in developing shared responsibilities for implementing radiation protection monitoring programs for resettled and resettling populations in the northern Marshall Islands. Using the pooled resources of the U.S. DOE and local atoll governments, individual radiological surveillance programs have been developed in whole body counting and plutonium urinalysis in order to accurately assess radiation doses resulting from the ingestion and uptake ofmore » fallout radionuclides contained in locally grown foods. Permanent whole body counting facilities have been established at three separate locations in the Marshall Islands including Rongelap Atoll (Figure 1). These facilities are operated and maintained by Marshallese technicians with scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) providing on-going technical support services. Bioassay samples are collected under controlled conditions and analyzed for plutonium isotopes at the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry at LLNL using state-of-the art measurement technologies. We also conduct an on-going environmental monitoring and characterization program at selected sites in the northern Marshall Islands. The aim of the environmental program is to determine the level and distribution of important fallout radionuclides in soil, water and local foods with a view towards providing more accurate and updated dose assessments, incorporating knowledge of the unique behaviors and exposure pathways of fallout radionuclides in coral atoll ecosystems. These scientific studies have also been essential in helping guide the development of remedial options used in support of island resettlement. Together, the individual and environmental radiological surveillance programs are helping meet the informational needs of the U.S. DOE and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Our updated environmental assessments provide a strong scientific basis for predicting future change in exposure conditions especially in relation to changes in lifestyle, diet and/or land-use patterns. This information has important implications in addressing questions about existing (and future) radiological conditions on the islands, in determining as well as the implementation, cost and effectiveness of potential intervention options, and in general policy support considerations. Perhaps most importantly, the recently established individual radiological surveillance programs provide affected atoll communities with an unprecedented level of radiation protection monitoring where, for the first time, local resources are being made available to monitor resettled and resettling populations on a continuous basis. As a hard copy supplement to Marshall Islands Program website (http://eed.llnl.gov/mi/), this document provides an overview of the individual radiation protection monitoring program established for resettlement workers living on Rongelap Island along with a full disclosure of all verified measurement data (2002-2004). Readers are advised that an additional feature of the associated web site is a provision where users are able calculate and track doses delivered to volunteers (de-identified information only) participating the Marshall Islands Radiological Surveillance Program.« less