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Annual report shows potential INL radiation dose well below safe regulatory limits

August 9, 2011 - 12:00pm

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho Operations Office reported this month that radiation from the site falls well below limits established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The annual report’s conclusions are supported by direct environmental monitoring data routinely taken during the year, and show that activities at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) site are protective of human health and the environment.

Data shows that the INL site potential radiation dose is less than 1% of the limit of 10 millirem (mrem) established by the EPA. The maximum annual radiation dose that any member of the public could receive from activities at the INL site for 2010 was 0.0582 mrem – if they stayed a full year, every hour of every day, at the INL site southern boundary. For comparison, the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements estimates that the dose from a chest X-ray is about 10 mrem and the dose from cosmic radiation during a 3-hour domestic airline flight is about 1 mrem.

Operations at the Advanced Test Reactor at INL were conducted in a safe and compliant manner and resulted in a dose of 0.00828 mrem. This is about 14.2% of the total INL site dose.

This information was reported in the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants – Calendar Year 2010 INL Report for Radionuclides that was submitted to the EPA and the State of Idaho at the end of June.

The report is required each year by the National Emission Standards for Emissions of Radionuclides Other than Radon from Department of Energy Facilities, as part of federal air quality regulations. The regulation can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 40, Part 61, Subpart H. The report lists the sources, or points, where radionuclides were released, the types and quantities of radioactive materials released to the air, and a description of radioactive material handling and processing activities at INL facilities. The INL site provides this report to the EPA and State of Idaho annually. It is available on the web at: http://www.id.energy.gov/insideNEID/PDF/NESHAP_CY2010_INL_Report_for_Radionuclides.pdf

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