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A task group of members of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff has reviewed the rationale for radiological environmental monitoring required by NRC.
The results of this group's considerations can be described as the “art” of radiological environmental monitoring, in that the group was unable to develop a tightly knit rationale for all the elements of such a program. Two major factors led to this: (1) the large number of possible nuclide pathway combinations threatened to result in specifying lower limits of detection (LLD's) much more restrictive than considered practicable, and (2) a significant number of public reassurance-type measurement requirements always remained which did not fit a dose rationale. Therefore, the topics discussed are a mixture of requirements related to dose rationale and public reassurance.
The task group concluded that radiological environmental monitoring requires a blend of two types of measurements: one type based on strict dose-related considerations and another type related to a need to make measurements which have a reassurance function.
Further, whether environmental measurement data are used to directly assess the dose, to complement radioactivity release measurements, or to confirm a negative impact on the environment, there is a need for adequate quality in the data obtained. This quality needs to be adequate to demonstrate either a correlation or lack of a correlation between facility operation and measured radioactivity levels in the environment as compared with an environmental radiation dose criterion such as 25 mrem/year.
radiation, environments, radiological environmental monitoring, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Staff, NRC licensees, radioactivity, radiation dose
Environmental Impact Coordinator, Environmental Standards Branch, Office of Standards Development, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C.,