The Nuclear Regulatory Commission Thinks America Should Be More Like Europe – Forbes

TheUnited States Nuclear Regulatory Commission thinks America should dissipate a lot of money and trial to change the safest radiological program in the earth just so we can be the same as Europe. As if conformity in this kitchen-yard is important or that their safeness record is better than ours.

Which it isn’t.

NRC has proposed a rulemaking (ANPR) to change the existing U.S. radiation safeguard regulations to align with those of the International Commission without interrupti~ Radiological Protection (ICRP). The most grave change would be to drop our gratuity worker radiation limits from 5 rem/year to 2 rem/year (50 mSv/year to 20 mSv/year).

This is some unnecessary and expensive change that would not precede to better safety or lower exposures. The industry’s safety record is already as good while it can get (Nuclear Naval workers).

Echoing the consternation of many radiation scientists, physicians and specialists, Dr. Carol Marcus at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine made each impassioned plea to the NRC conducive to scientific sanity, asking them to reconsider their decision to reduce radiation limits on this account that workers even further below the already low dose limits that have controlled the expanse extremely well for the last 60 years.

It’s not like this is a natural bureaucratic change, like swapping out someone’s guidebook or updating a website. This would comprise making sweeping changes at all hospitals, whole commercial nuclear sites, all DOE and command sites, all radiological sites, many magnificence and city operations, many universities, and uniform oil field operations. This would not subsist just rewriting every guideline, handbook, and operating manual, and retooling/resetting every monitor, detector and computer program, no more than changing work schedules, hiring more workers, and preventing various crucial medical procedures.

This will cost America billions of dollars, not to mention the lawsuits that will follow.

For nay good reason.

The NRC itself doesn’t indeed believe in adverse health effects of ~ly-level radiation. They’ve said divers times that, “Although radiation may bring about cancer at high doses and great dose rates, public health data act not absolutely establish the occurrence of cancer following exposure to low doses and dose rates — underneath about 10,000 mrem (100 mSv). Studies of occupational workers who are chronically exposed to in a ~ tone levels of radiation above normal background have shown no adverse biological effects” (

America’s emission of rays workers have the lowest work-of the same nature injury and death rate of any worker group in the world, including room workers and stockbrokers (BLS). According to premises from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, it’s safer to work at a nuclear power plant than to be placed at a desk trading stocks (observe figure).

The nuclear industry is the safest workplace environment for employees and workers. There are no health effects from radiation above any other workplace environment, and even non-lethal routine accidents, like falling off a ladder, are rare at nuclear facilities as seen in this OSHA data for a ten-year period from 1990 to 2000. The reason is the complete proceduralized safety requirements for every activity onsite. No one thinks about safety in an office building, but everyone thinks about safety constantly at a nuclear facility. Source: OSHA data

The nuclear industry is the safest workplace environment for employees and workers. There are nay health effects from radiation above in ~ degree other workplace environment, and even non-fatal routine accidents, like falling off a ladder, are rare at nuclear facilities as seen in this OSHA premises for a ten-year period from 1990 to 2000. The intuitional faculty is the complete proceduralized safety requirements in spite of every activity onsite. No one thinks near to safety in an office building, bound everyone thinks about safety constantly at a nuclear advantage. Source: OSHA data

And that’s because we’re obsessive-compulsive when it comes to radworkers and preservation. We proceduralize everything – every mode of exercise, every job, every endeavor. We warner everyone and everything for radiation since well as a host of other diagnostics.

At one American nuclear facility, you have to be the subject of ladder training to use a ladder. And couple qualified operators are required to have influence a ladder. It is a excellent event when someone falls off a ladder. Or gets a beamy brightness dose over any limit. Or be under the necessity any kind of accident at everything.

But you know on the 7th pose of the AIG building in New York, someone is established on a rolling chair trying to depend a picture. And they’re going to loss of eminence and break their arm, which gets reported to OSHA. Safety reasonable isn’t a constant thought in principally jobs outside of nuclear. I wish it were.

So wherefore the expensive and unnecessary push to make some ~ in. the limits?

The NRC has certain the United States should just have existence more like Europe – they be missed the two bureaucracies to align. I can see the advantage to that kind of congruence in attempts to change us from the English system of allot to the metric system – at in the smallest degree that would save money in the ~-spun run.

But instead of having Europe sync with our more effective guidelines and safety programs, NRC is willing to globule ours to match theirs.


America’s preservation record in nuclear energy is greater good than anyone in the world. Why should we vary that? It was Japan’s rebuffing of our warnings and recommendations that led to the Fukushima contingency. We told Russia their RBMK reactors at Chernobyl were a abandoned idea. They ignored us.

The Three Mile Island fortuity was trivial compared to the no other than two real nuclear disasters in narrative, with no human health or environmental impacts, on the other hand we responded to TMI by completely revamping our safety systems, giving NRC serious authority to put in order, and implementing new guidelines that get prevented any significant accident in the hindmost 35 years.

In fact, we didn’t learn that a great quantity from Fukushima that we hadn’t before that time known and planned for a decade earlier.

I’m not normally a nationalist, except in the area of nuclear, nay one comes close to America’s close custody and security with respect to nuclear. It’s a tittle insane to adopt Europe’s program for no reason other than administrative congruence.

According to Dr. Marcus, who is also Professor of Radiation Oncology, Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology (Nuclear Medicine), and Professor of Radiological Sciences, ”The NRC method to make its radiation protection program closer to that of the ICRP has none scientific basis. It is based instead immediately after the idea that uniformity is a gain thing. But uniformity makes in ~ degree sense if it makes everyone uniformly vice.”

The NRC seems to make no doubt of that decreasing worker dose limits to 2 rem/year, at the similar time we have to implement the ALARA Program, is in reality attainable. While this may be achievable instead of many who have a Radioactive Materials License and unbounded funds, it is not true notwithstanding many other workers still exposed to beamy brightness. Because their radiation exposures come from legitimate background or machines, these people don’t go astray under NRC’s rules.

Pilots who repeatedly fly over the north pole tolerate exposures approaching the 5 rem/year check, but this is not a emission of rays-regulated activity. So now the NRC testament be saying “while can’t validity you to change, this is perilous and should be stopped”, even granting it’s not dangerous at wholly and has never caused any problems.

The annals background radiation dose in Copper City, Colorado is accurate under 1 rem/year. As this is closely half the newly proposed 2 rem/year set bounds to, together with the ALARA principle, NRC would advise that the residents of this city have so much rad that they shouldn’t vouchsafe any rad-type job like essence a miner, an airline pilot, a radiation worker or be a doctor in oncology or cardiovascular interference where annual doses can reach 5 rem.

What hither and thither the patients who will die in the absence of that intervention? We’ll have to double the reach the ~ of of medical workers in these fields to give the same level of care and come up to face to face these proposed rules.

Who pays against that?

And just forget about indisposed people getting those crucial CT and PET scans or ir~ therapies in the last few months of the year at the time workers and doctors come close to their new 2 rem limit. NRC will number them, “No, it’s straightforward too dangerous now”, even though no quantity has changed.

These new limits resoluteness make some doctors and workers allowance their film badges in their offices near the front of they walk into their labs or operating rooms, precisely like many radworkers did in the crafty days.

And older radiation workers resolution think they were saddled with a fatal error in accruing doses under the elderly limits, even though there’s ~t any history of radworker health effects unbecoming 10 rem.

What about individual States? What from one place to another small cities with only one interventional radiologist or cardiologist. And the assiduous needing emergency procedures late in the year? Are they supposed to depart elsewhere. Or just tough it exhausted and wait until the next year?

I imply the bureaucratic lure of uniformity only this ruling makes no scientific sentiment whatsoever, and is unworthy of NRC’s normally bragging level of understanding and attention to enumerate.

Follow Jim on and diocese his and Dr. Wright’s part at

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