Iain Brown from Radiation Assessments attended the International Symposium on the Packaging and Transportation of Radioactive Materials (PATRAM). There were delegates, presenters, and posters from around the world, including people from both government authorities and the nuclear industry. The topics discussed included changes to the transport regulations, the future use of small and floating nuclear power plants, transport security, denial of shipment and the design of new containers for the transport of radioactive waste. Iain Brown presented details of an ongoing project which aims to update the exemption values for bulk quantities of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM). In his session there were also presentations on work he was involved in on the update of A1/A2 values used to set limits for Type A packages.
UNSCEAR 70th session
Antony Bexon, head of Radiation Assessments, was part of the UK delegation at the 70th annual session of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) which took place in Vienna in June 2023. Topics discussed included the evaluation of public exposure due to ionising radiation and the improvement of the collection, analysis and dissemination of data on radiation exposure which seeks to improve the quantity and quality of data on radiation exposure in occupational, medical and public settings. UNSCEAR has worked hard to improve the website, social media and other communications including the increased use of leaflets to help explain key reports produced by the committee. More details on the work of UNSCEAR and the 70th session are available at Welcome to the UNSCEAR.
New version of PC-CREAM includes protection of the environment
The Radiation Assessments Department has recently released a new version of the radiological assessment tool, PC-CREAM . The new version is available on-line and is free to download for existing users. One of the main changes to the tool is the inclusion of an ASSESSOR module for calculating dose rates to biota. This is in response to the latest publications of the basic safety standards for radiation protection, EU (Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom) and the IAEA (General Safety Requirements Part 3), which now include the requirement to demonstrate protection of the environment as well as members of the public. The methodology used for the calculation of dose rates to biota is based on the recommendations contained in ICRP Publication 108.
Tiberio Cabianca attends TRANSSC
Tiberio Cabianca from Radiation Assessments was part of the UK delegation that attended the 46th meeting of the IAEA Transport Safety Standards Committee (TRANSSC) which was held in Vienna in June 2023.
25th Nuclear Medical Defence Conference ConRad 2023
ConRad took place in Munich from 8-11 May and included a session dedicated to the medical impacts from the use of nuclear weapons and countermeasures. During this session, Anne Nisbet from Radiation Assessments gave a presentation 'Ongoing and future work of ICRP on radiation emergencies and malicious events'. There were also presentations on the radiological threats to Ukraine, assessment of potential radiological consequences of nuclear detonations, and public health and medical concerns following nuclear detonations.
Anne Nisbet presents at Society for Radiological Protection
A strong UKHSA delegation attended the Society for Radiological Protection (SRP) conference in Aberdeen in April 2023, including two members from Radiological Assessments. Anne Nisbet took to the main stage twice: firstly to present UKHSA views on the upcoming International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) revised Recommendations, elegantly summarizing inputs from across the radiological protection area in RCE; secondly to present on the work of ICRP Committee 4, Application of the Commission's Recommendations. Both presentations were well received in the auditorium.
IAEA MEREIA, second meeting
Justin Smith, from the UKHSA's Radiation Assessments Department, attended the second technical meeting of the MEREIA (Methods for Radiological and Environmental Impact Assessment ) programme in Vienna at the end of November 2022. This was a hybrid meeting with people attending in person and online. MEREIA is the latest in a series of programmes dealing with environmental impact assessment. There are two aspects of the MEREIA programme that have received particular emphasis. The first is that five real case studies will be used as the basis of the impact assessments, and the second is the introduction of a mentoring scheme designed to strengthen the development of young professionals in the field of radiological protection. During this technical meeting working groups were established to discuss the aims of each case study and plans for achieving them. Specific objectives that would be suitable opportunities for mentoring were identified.
Anne Nisbet receives award
Anne Nisbet, from the UKHSA's Radiation Assessments Department, was presented with an ICRP publication award at the ICRP 2021+1 meeting in Vancouver in November 2022. The award was for ICRP Publication 146: Radiological Protection of People and the Environment in the Event of a Large Nuclear Accident.
Nuclear Energy Agency's workshop on Recovery Preparedness
Anne Nisbet attended a 2-day Nuclear Energy Agency workshop in Paris on Recovery Preparedness for Nuclear Accident Recovery. She gave a presentation on preparedness for remediation and decontamination. Other topics included: health and wellbeing, waste management, protecting the environment, food and drinking water management, and exercising recovery. Around 100 people attended from many different countries.
UKHSA Conference 2022
The first UKHSA Conference, held at the Royal Armouries in Leeds on the 18th and 19th October 2022, included three presentations from UKHSA's Radiation Assessments Department: PACE - Software for Calculating the Consequences of Nuclear Accidents (Tom Charnock), Tools for managing recovery from radiation incidents (Kelly Jones, presented by Tom Charnock), and JAM: modelling the consequences of nuclear accidents (Keith Mortimer, presented by Tom Charnock)
European Radiation Protection Week 2022
Several colleagues from the UKHSA's Radiation, Chemicals and Environmental Hazards (RCE) directorate, including Antony Bexon and Tom Charnock from the Radiation Assessments Department, attended European Radiation Protection Week in Estoril, Portugal in October 2022. RCE staff played an active part by chairing sessions, taking part in panel discussions, giving talks and presenting posters. Workshops organised by ICRP, NERIS and EURADOS were held at the same meeting. The NERIS workshop talks, chaired by Antony Bexon, varied from the use of drones to make measurements to an overview of managing waste from the Fukushima NPP accident. Tom Charnock presented a poster on 'High spatial and temporal resolution estimates of population for nuclear accident probabilistic safety assessment and emergency response.
PC CREAM training courses held in Scotland and the Netherlands
Justin Smith and Iain Brown, from the UKHSA's Radiation Assessments Department, visited Dounreay in Thurso in the far north of Scotland, and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu, RIVM) in the Netherlands, to give a course on the PC-CREAM software. PC-CREAM is a program which estimates the exposure of individuals and populations from discharges of radionuclides to air, rivers and sea. It does this using models of varying complexity that estimate the dispersion and build-up of radioactivity in the environment. During the course delegates were taught the theory behind the dose calculations, how to do an assessment using PC-CREAM, and the possible issues that might occur. They were also given a number of practical exercises to gain experience in using the software. PC-CREAM will be used by Dounreay as part of the work to update to their site license and by RIVM to derive generic, screening exemption values for discharges of NORM to air and water for the Netherlands.
ICRP Advice for the Public on Protection in Case of a Nuclear Detonation
On October 12th 2022 the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) published Interim Advice for the Public on Protection in Case of a Nuclear Detonation. The advice was produced by a Task Group on Radiation Emergencies and Malicious Events, chaired by Anne Nisbet from the UKHSA's Radiation Assessments Department. Anne is also an author of the related Publication 146, Radiological Protection of People and the Environment in the Event of a Large Nuclear Accident, which is available to download for free.
5th International Conference on Radioecology & Environmental Radioactivity
Justin Smith and Samantha Watson, from the UKHSA's Radiation Assessments Department, attended the 5th International Conference on Radioecology & Environmental Radioactivity in Oslo at the beginning of September 2022. The aim of this conference is to review and discuss recent achievements in radioecology, environmental radioactivity and related disciplines, as well as to promote continued development in these subjects in order to improve the radiological protection of humans and the environment. Justin presented about "Assessment of dose rates to non-human biota from Sellafield discharges using PC-CREAM" and Samantha presented "Findings from literature reviews concerning non-radiological impacts of protective actions".
During May and June 2022, the IAEA MEREIA (Methods for Radiological and Environmental Impact assessment) programme hosted a series of webinars on basic concepts in radiation protection aimed at early career scientists. The second lecture in that series, attended by around 125 people, titled "Representative person definition: Concepts and a practical approach", was jointly presented by Justin Smith and Wayne Oatway from the Radiation Assessments Department at UKHSA. This webinar gave an overview of what the representative person represents in a radiological impact assessment and, by drawing on guidance published by the National Dose Assessment Working Group (NDAWG) and UKHSA, the different ways the habits of the representative person can be defined and used in such assessments. Practical experience in using the representative person in assessments was highlighted using examples drawn from work undertaken at UKHSA.
IAEA's CONVEX-3 Emergency Exercise
Both the Radiation Assessments Department and the Glasgow and Chilton Environmental Gamma capabilities recently participated in the IAEA's ConvEx-3 radiation emergency exercise. This was based on a hypothetical accident at the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in the UAE.
The Radiation Assessment Department provides the secretariat to Joint Agency Modelling (JAM) - a partnership of UK agencies including Met Office, Office for Nuclear Regulation, environmental agencies and the Food Standards Agency amongst others that support the UK modelling of releases to atmosphere from radiological incidents as an input to SAGE.
The event began with initial notification from the RIMNET team (Radiation Incident Monitoring Network) before the JAM partners were alerted by UKHSA and an initial teleconference established to quickly gather an understanding of the situation and to agree the appropriate modelling to be carried out. Refinement of the situation was received during the day and this was reflected in an iterations of the modelling outputs to reflect both the current understanding and the potential for escalation of the incident if conditions could not be brought under control. The model output is used by the JAM partners to provide scientific advice to SAGE (in this exercise simulated by BEIS colleagues) including recommendations on appropriate protective actions ranging from sheltering or evacuation and administration of stable iodine to food and surface water impacts.
As well as ensuring that we maintain the skills required to support radiation emergencies, participation in such exercises allows lessons to be identified for continuous improvement of UK response arrangements.
Training course for ONR staff
A 1 ½ day course was held for ONR staff. The focus of the course was on the assessment of off-site radiation consequences covering topics such as public health advice for radiation emergencies and atmospheric dispersion models, PACE (Probabilistic Accident Consequence Evaluation Software) and SEER (Spreadsheets for Early Emergency Response), JAM (Joint Agency Modelling) and the Radiation Recovery Handbooks. These talks were given by staff from the Emergency Consequences Group but ONR staff were also interested in both internal and external dosimetry so we were able to draw on the expertise across the Centre. If you are interested in offering your staff similar training please get in contact.
PACE Presentation at Risk and Safety Forum
Tom Charnock presented an update on the development of UKSHA's Probabilistic Safety Analysis Code (PACE) and examples of its application. The theme of the CRA Risk and Safety Forum was considering Risk & Safety Challenges to support Energy Transition.
PGIRE Opening Meeting 9th November 2021
The Practitioner Group on the Impact of Radioactivity in the Environment (PGIRE), which is a group drawn from UK regulatory organisations, are holding an Open Meeting on 9 November 2021 to give those who have an interest in regulating or assessing the impact of discharged radioactivity on the health of humans and biota. If you are interested in attending please see the flyer and programme for more information or register for the event.
Anne Nisbet re-elected to ICRP Committee 4
Anne Nisbet has been re-elected for the current term (July 2021 - June 2025). ICRP Committee 4 provides advice on the application of the Commission's recommendations for the protection of people and the environment in an integrated manner for all exposure situations. Anne will be chairing a newly established Task Group 120 which will develop radiological protection guidance for small to medium scale radiation emergencies and malicious events. The recommendations will complement those of Publication 146 (ICRP, 2020) which focussed on large scale nuclear emergencies.
Continued collaboration with University of Reading on modelling urban dispersion
Emma Patmore, an MSc student of Applied Meteorology at the University of Reading, has completed her dissertation on "Modelling pollutant Dispersion Scenarios in Cities". This looked at street-network models to describe atmospheric dispersion in an urban environment. Model output was compared to measurements from wind tunnel studies and computational fluid dynamic modelling. Pete Bedwell was her industrial supervisor and Emma's work demonstrate the significant value of continued collaborative working between PHE and academia.
ADMLC Workshop on Challenges in modelling for emergency planning and response to contaminant releases 12 March 2020
UKHSA (as PHE) hosted a workshop to discuss the role and challenges of atmospheric dispersion modelling in planning, preparedness, response and recovery. The workshop focused on three different contaminant types: volcanic emissions, chemicals and radiation. Workshop attendees included dispersion modellers, policy experts and decision-makers. The presentations and further information can be found on the ADMLC website.
HERCA Working Group on Natural Radiation Sources 4-5 March 2020
Kelly Jones attended as a UK representative and also to give a talk on Clearance and Exemption of NORM in the UK. Topics discussed included radon dose coefficient, development of CE Radiation from Construction Product standards, development of HERCA document on clearance and exemption and plans for radon workshop on National Radon Action Plans 29 Sept - 1 Oct 2020 in Bucharest, Romania.
Update of UK Recovery Handbook for Radiation Incidents (UKHRI) underway
The UKHRI was first published in 2005. A major update is currently underway. The aim is to broaden the scope to include malicious events and new information on waste management. The Handbook will also incorporate learning from Fukushima and other non-radiological emergencies and reflect changes in international guidance as well as national legislation. The work is being done collaboratively with other UK Government Departments and Agencies with relevant expertise in food and drinking water safety, waste management and remediation. A series of stakeholder workshops will be undertaken to trial the new handbooks.
New PHE assessment of the risks from radioactive objects in the environment near to the Sellafield site
UKHSA (as PHE) has completed an assessment of the risks to health posed by radioactive objects in the environment near to the Sellafield site. That assessment is described in two reports: one report (PHE-CRCE-056) provides a summary of the assessment whilst a second report (PHE-CRCE-057) describes the methodology used. PHE advise that, based on their assessment, the risks from radioactive objects in the environment near to the Sellafield site are very low and that measures to control them are not warranted on public health grounds.
Legacy Workshop 29 Oct - 1 Nov, Tromso, Norway
Wayne Oatway and Darren Bungay from UKHSA attended a workshop on the process of optimisation in decommissioning and in the management of legacy sites and radioactive waste. It brought together over 60 participants from 17 countries. The key lessons were the need for regulations not to be overly prescriptive; importance of stakeholder engagement to achieve long term acceptance; and having a holistic approach to all risks present, such as chemicals and building and demolition risks. A full report on the workshop, to be published early in 2020, is being prepared by DSA.
Plenary meeting of IAEA MODARIA II Programme, 21 - 24 Oct, Vienna, Austria
Tiberio Cabianca chaired the finally plenary meeting of the IAEA MODARIA II Programme. Bringing together environmental modellers from around the world, from government, academia, nuclear industry, and research organisation; the working groups of MODARIA II cover a wide range of areas including urban contamination and clean-up, long term geological disposal of nuclear waste, assessment of doses from contaminated land, and dose to non-human biota. Also attending from UKHSA were Tracey Anderson (shown here demonstrating the UKHSA PC-CREAM radiation assessment programme) and Tom Charnock who is heavily involved in the urban clean-up group
Staff take part in IAEA Mission
UKHSA staff have been working with colleagues across government to prepare for and participate in a wide ranging review by the IAEA of the UK arrangements for managing radiation and nuclear safety. Tiberio Cabianca, Wayne Oatway and Neil McColl (pictured) attended interviews and supported colleagues from government departments and regulators in describing our role in these arrangements on topics including medical radiation, environmental radioactive contamination and radon. A final report will be issued by the IAEA in a few months.
NORM IX conference
Kelly Jones attended the NORM IX conference acting as conference rapporteur on behalf of IAEA. The conference covered wide range of topics including discussions on the change in the ICRP value for the radon dose conversion factor, challenges in the transportation of NORM and potential reuse of NORM residues. The talks are on ORPNET and the conference proceedings will be available next year.
The 19th International Symposium on the Packaging and Transportation of Radioactive Materials was held in August and brought together stakeholders and experts on the packaging and transportation of radioactive materials. There were presentations and discussions from participants on subjects related to the transport of radioactive materials, such as the design of shipping casks, reassuring nearby populations and the update of regulations. PHE staff (Tiberio Cabianca and Iain Brown) gave two presentations on the updating the A1 and A2 values, which are given in IAEA transport regulations and are the activity limits for type A packages.
23rd Nuclear Medical Defence Conference, 13 - 16 May, Munich, Germany
Anne Nisbet gave a presentation on the 'Application of the Radiological Protection System in Post-Accident Situations - An update on ICRP Publications 109 and 111' in the Key Session on Living in Contaminated Areas.
New PHE report on estimating resuspension doses in emergency situations
New publication on public health protection in radiation emergencies
Staff, particularly Anne Nisbet, have been working hard over the past few years on a report report to update and consolidate existing advice, accounting for international requirements and lessons learned from the accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Advice is given on two types of dose criteria: emergency planning thresholds of dose for guiding decisions on actions to avoid deterministic effects; and sets of other dose criteria, such as Emergency Reference Levels (ERLs), to optimise protection against lower levels of exposures from the early phase of an emergency through to the long-term. As the response phase transitions to recovery, non-radiological criteria play an increasingly important role in optimising protection.
Annual meeting of NEA Committee on Radiological Protection and Public Health (CRPPH)
This was held in Paris from 27-29 March 2019. Antony Bexon attended as part of the UK delegation with colleagues from the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency. CRPPH covers a wide range of topics and provides an opportunity to direct the work programme of the NEA in RP issues. Particular focus this year related to consideration of non-radiological aspects in post-accident public health, working to clarify understanding of the term 'risk' in RP, a topical session on the importance of stakeholder dialogue in sharing understanding and managing radiological risks.
Annual NERIS workshop
ERAS staff contributed to the annual NERIS workshop in Roskilde Denmark. NERIS is European forum for authorities; technical support organisations; operators; professional organisations; research institutes; and other stakeholders with an interest in Nuclear Emergency Management. Presentations included everything from innovative atmospheric dispersion and dose assessment solutions to real life experience of societal risks and uncertainties pertaining in nuclear emergency management.
TERRITORIES workshop in Oxford
A workshop was held in Oxford on 19/20th March on 'Assessing risks from radioactive legacy sites and how to better present uncertain information '. PHE helped organise the event with over 100 attendees taking part. More information can be found on here
Munich workshop on ensemble analysis and visualization
PHE are participating in a European Project titled CONFIDENCE (COping with uNcertainties For Improved modelling and DEcision making in Nuclear emergenCiEs). PHE are working on aspects related to model improvement in the pre-and release phase, through uncertainty analysis and propagation with an ensemble approach. What is meant by an ensemble approach? This is predominantly where model input parameters are perturbed to account for the associated uncertainties and the resulting model output is then assessed to better understand the uncertainties on endpoints used in the provision of advice. The February workshop spent significant time discussing potential methods for operationalising an ensemble approach (to describe uncertainty in emergency assessments); a task that Peter Bedwell will lead.
IAEA's MODARIA II Third Meeting
The IAEA hosted, on 22-25 October 2018, the Third Technical Meeting on the Development, Testing and Harmonization of Models and Data for the Radiological Impact Assessments (MODARIA II). The four-day meeting brought together over 150 experts, including regulators, scientists, operators and experts from technical support organizations, from 40 countries where they analysed the progress made under the programme and discussed questions on modelling environmental radiation. Tiberio Cabianca, who is the chair, said in his report of the meeting that 'it is important that we already start the process to formulate a general plan for future IAEA activities in the area of environmental protection. The objective of MODARIA to provide a platform for experts to discuss and exchange information on the topic of radiological impact assessment will continue to be a fundamental aim of any future programme and I believe we can strengthen the contribution that the MODARIA community of experts can make to not only the IAEA Nuclear Safety programme but also to the activities of other international organizations.'
Work in support of REPPIR 2019
Following on from the work that PHE has previously done for BEIS in developing a methodology for the forthcoming REPPIR 2019 Schedule 1 values, a new project has been started to support lower risk sites. The project objectives are to develop datafiles of environmental concentrations per unit release and dose per unit release, for application within REPPIR 2019, to support the consequence assessment requirements of the new regulations
New IAEA publications
The IAEA has recently published three related safety standards on Radiation Protection of the Public and the Environment (GSG-8), Regulatory Control of Discharges to the Environment (GSG-9) and Prospective Radiological Environmental Impact Assessment for Facilities and Activities (GSG-10). PHE staff, Tiberio Cabianca and Kelly Jones, were both involved in the discussions and drafting of the documents with IAEA staff.
Collaboration on population spatial estimates
The University of Southampton is working with Tom Charnock to bring their Pop24/7 approach for generating very high temporal and spatial estimates of population into operational use at PHE. The approach goes beyond census information and uses additional sources such as education, work place and transport data to allow population to be estimated for different times of day, day of week and day of year.