Radiation Exposure Data Collection
The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) manages large occupational radiation exposure database systems for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). ORISE support includes collection, management and analysis of data.
Radiation exposure data collection involves estimating the radiation exposure received during the course of a person’s work. This data can be collected in a number of different ways, including:
- Performing site surveys to determine the quality, completeness and consistency of available data
- Conducting personal and written interviews
- Extracting published information from death certificates, medical and hospitalization records, work assignments and attendance records
- Recording personal observations
Two notable radiation exposure data collection systems managed by ORISE include:
DOE Order 231.1-1 requires that radiation exposure information be reported for all DOE employees, contractors and visitors. ORISE assists DOE in this effort by managing REMS, which currently contains more than three million exposure records.
REIRS contains occupational radiation exposure records that have been submitted by NRC licensees. ORISE collects and processes more than 150,000 exposure records each year.
Though REMS and REIRS are separate systems, ORISE management of both creates operational efficiencies that benefit DOE, NRC and their respective nuclear worker populations. Some of the advantages of managing both systems:
- Advances in policies, procedures and capabilities produce shared benefits. For example, ORISE has performed a Weibull distribution analysis that provides both NRC and DOE with a means of evaluating performance against as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) standards.
- Shared management of REMS and REIRS facilitates record retrieval, saving time and improving capacity to assess exposures for individuals that move between DOE and NRC worker populations.
ORISE also collects and analyzes data regarding radioactive materials released from U.S. nuclear power plants as part of the NRC Effluent Database for Nuclear Power Plants. Effluent and dose data are reported annually by each NRC licensee. The United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) is assessing the radiation dose to the world population from all sources, and data from the effluent database will be used to inform these estimates.