Experiences with Non-traditional Bioassay Methods in a Plutonium Processing Line

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An incident in an Savannah River Site (SRS) plutonium processing line (FB-Line) in 1999 highlighted the fact insoluble forms of plutonium exist at SRS that may not be readily monitored with the routine bioassay programs traditionally used at this site. To address this issue, a study was conducted in FB-Line with 21 participants for a year ending in July 2002. The purpose of the study was to examine the use of three non-traditional monitoring methods and, based on this experience, recommend a routine bioassay program that is capable of monitoring workers potentially exposed to insoluble plutonium. These non-traditional monitoring methods ... continued below

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La Bone, T.R. October 17, 2003.

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An incident in an Savannah River Site (SRS) plutonium processing line (FB-Line) in 1999 highlighted the fact insoluble forms of plutonium exist at SRS that may not be readily monitored with the routine bioassay programs traditionally used at this site. To address this issue, a study was conducted in FB-Line with 21 participants for a year ending in July 2002. The purpose of the study was to examine the use of three non-traditional monitoring methods and, based on this experience, recommend a routine bioassay program that is capable of monitoring workers potentially exposed to insoluble plutonium. These non-traditional monitoring methods are personal air sampling (PAS), thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS) of urine samples, and routine fecal bioassay. The main conclusions and recommendations of the study are: (1) A routine TIMS urine bioassay program, which is called the enhanced bioassay program (EBP), is recommended for workers in SRS facilities that have a reasonable potential for exposure to insoluble forms of plutonium. (2) Under certain conditions the EBP could result in onerous work restrictions. A contingency plan involving the use of PAS is recommended in this case. PAS is also recommended for workers who have had historic intakes of plutonium that interfere with the detection and interpretation of future intakes of insoluble plutonium. (3) For the EBP to be successful it must be used only for those workers who have a reasonable potential for exposure to insoluble plutonium, and these workers must take all necessary precautions to avoid cross-contamination of the urine (and follow-up fecal) samples. (4) Fecal bioassay is an important tool for follow-up to abnormal events, but routine fecal bioassay is not recommended. (5) The PAS data clearly shows that workers are exposed to low levels of airborne plutonium, but the participants appear to be unlikely to exceed a committed effective dose equivalent of 100 mrem from these exposures.

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  • 2004 HPS Midyear Meeting, Augusta, GA (US), 02/08/2004--02/11/2004

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  • Report No.: WSRC-MS-2003-00495
  • Grant Number: AC09-96SR18500
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 818268
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc738972

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • October 17, 2003

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  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • May 5, 2016, 1:52 p.m.

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La Bone, T.R. Experiences with Non-traditional Bioassay Methods in a Plutonium Processing Line, article, October 17, 2003; South Carolina. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc738972/: accessed October 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.