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ORAU and Partners Contribute Papers that Encompass Key Dose Reconstruction Issues to Special Issue of Health Physics Journal

ORAU, along with radiation dose reconstruction partners Dade Moeller & Associates and MJW Corporation, and personnel from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) contributed 16 papers on dose reconstruction for a special issue of Health Physics: The Radiation Safety Journal (July 2008). The journal is the main publication of the Health Physics Society.

Dr. Dick Toohey

ORAU’s Dr. Dick Toohey used his expertise and that of Dr. Dade Moeller of Dade Moeller and Associates as co-associate editors for the Health Physics: The Radiation Safety Journal special July issue on dose reconstruction.

“This special issue of the journal will probably be the only document that assembles in one place all the key issues about the scientific aspects of the NIOSH dose reconstruction process and the worker compensation program,” said ORAU’s Dr. Dick Toohey, who served as co-associate editor of the issue and authored a paper on “The Scientific Issues in Radiation Dose Reconstruction.”

Dose reconstruction is the process of estimating the radiation exposures received during the course of a person’s work. In turn, the reconstructed dose is used to determine the probability that their cancer actually resulted from their radiation dose.

The process is required by law for compensation claims submitted by nuclear-weapons-related workers (or their families) of the U.S. Department of Energy or its predecessor agencies. Since 2002, the ORAU has performed individual dose reconstructions as part of a contract with NIOSH.

As a preface to this special issue, Dr. Dade Moeller (the other co-associate editor) and Toohey wrote an editorial titled, “The NIOSH Radiation Dose Reconstruction Program: Origin, Goals, Scope, and Results” in which they give an overview of the various aspects of the dose reconstruction process explained by the papers.

The papers provide an in-depth review of the collection, processing and management of the required data; the assessment methods used; the scientific bases for the assessments; and the prominent roles of the health physics and radiation safety profession in the effort. To ensure readability and quality, each article was peer-reviewed by three persons before submission to the journal.

“Because of the quality of these pre-submission reviews, all submitted articles were accepted for publication by the journal,” according to Dr. Donna Cragle, vice president and director of ORAU’s Occupational Exposure and Worker Health programs.

In explaining the history behind the development of the papers, Toohey said that former ORAU President Dr. Ron Townsend had suggested that documenting the scientific basis for the NIOSH dose reconstruction project would be very useful, and NIOSH leadership concurred.

Then, as a precursor to the documentation effort, Toohey analyzed all the issues that had been raised at advisory board meetings and outreach meetings, as well as by the board’s independent oversight contractor, and his findings formed the basis for the papers on dose reconstruction that will be published in the journal.

For purposes of organization, the papers are divided into four groups: general program information, data collection and supporting studies, dose reconstruction methods, as well as commentary and conclusions.