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ORAU helping NRC with ongoing nuclear regulatory guide updates

For the past several years, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has been diligently revising approximately 400 hundred of its regulatory guides, many of them having originated in the early 1970s. With these guides routinely referenced by health physicists and nuclear industry professionals, providing complete, accurate and up-to-date guidance remains a considerable challenge.

Because of ORAU’s long-standing support to the NRC with the Radiation Exposure Information and Reporting System, its radiation protection experience at light water reactors, and decades-long environmental surveillance and monitoring and independent verification expertise, the Commission has routinely called on ORAU’s health physics experts to develop technical approaches for the update of several of its regulatory guides. Support has been geared to specific occupational radiation protection (known as Division 8) and environmental (Division 4) topics.

From 2007-2009, ORAU provided technical support to the NRC to update three Division 8 regulatory guides addressing the “As Low As Reasonably Achievable” philosophy, and radiation dose assessments and radiation protection training at light water nuclear reactors. An extensive set of recommendations was prepared and each technical approach used as a basis by NRC staff in the development of each updated regulatory guide. ORAU’s recommendations supported the NRC’s goal to equip industry professionals with updated guidance concerning radiation protection and associated reductions in occupational radiation exposures.

Currently, ORAU is actively assisting the NRC with an update of a Division 4 regulatory guide (RG 4.14) addressing effluent and environmental monitoring at uranium recovery facilities. ORAU is also involved with NRC’s efforts to complete the revision of two other regulatory guides on occupational dose monitoring and calculational approaches and dose reporting.

The NRC has made significant progress in updating its regulatory guides. At last count, approximately 200 guides have been updated with an equivalent number still remaining. ORAU is prepared to assist the NRC with its ongoing needs in this area.

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