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[en] A comparative analysis of regulatory systems in terms of emergency preparedness and response of the Republic of Belarus and Russian Federation in accordance with requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency was carried out. (authors)
[en] This paper introduces the characteristics and main evaluation of the comprehensive emergency drill of radiation accidents in Zhejiang province in 2018, as well as the situation setting of the emergency drill, and details the processes of on-site monitoring and handling during the drill. Considering the assessment of the practical actions taken during the drill from evaluation team, this paper analyzes the problems existing in each step during the emergency monitoring response, promotes some relevant suggestions to improve the response capability, which will provide useful experience for the future emergency monitoring and handling of radiation accidents. (authors)
[en] In 2015, the Asian Radiation Dosimetry Group established a regional network of biological dosimetry laboratories known as the ARADOS-WG03 (Working Group 03; Biological Dosimetry). A survey was conducted in 2017 to evaluate the capabilities and capacities of the participating laboratories for emergency preparedness and responses in large-scale nuclear and/or radiological incidents. The results of this survey were identified and assessed. The data provide important information on the current state of emergency cytogenetic biological dosimetry capabilities in the Asian region. (authors)
[en] In order to maintain competence or to train new employees, it is necessary to prepare and organize some training sessions suitable to the concerned audience. As a TSO (Technical and Scientific Support Organization), IRSN (Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety) is particularly implicated in this issue, specifically in the field of human radiation protection, protection of the environment and nuclear safety. IRSN created recently an 'In-house University' containing different 'Schools': 'Assessment', 'Emergency Planning/Response'.... The main objective is to support IRSN employees following a specific route. Concerning the 'Assessment' school, this route is first composed of a training on general topics (e.g. 'how to perform an assessment?'), then of other training on specific topics ('nuclear criticality safety', 'fire risks', 'containment'...). Implemented teaching methods are innovative and less academic than it used to be. These methods have been taught by training professionals specialized in andragogy (methods and principles used in adult education). In this context, the 'nuclear criticality safety' (NCS) training has been completely renewed by the SNC department (Neutronics and Criticality Safety Department)of IRSN. Scheduled over a period of one week, each day an expert teacher stays with the participants and interacts with the other speakers planned in the agenda, which allows dynamic discussions. Moreover, various exercises in groups (using paper boards, post-its, videos...) give the opportunity to test the newly acquired knowledge. The session begins with general notions concerning NCS (physical properties, consequences of a nuclear criticality accident...). Then, each control mode (mass, geometry...) is discussed considering lots of examples from actual facilities. Finally, a review of past nuclear criticality accidents is done, and the impact of other risks (fire, flood,...) on NCS is evaluated. A future project is to propose an international training in English intended in particular for other TSOs via the ENSTTI organization (European Nuclear Safety Training and Tutoring Institute). (authors)
[en] Hands on training for Fissile Material Handlers (FMH) from TA55 at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is being performed at Sandia National Laboratories and at the National Criticality Experiments Research Center (NCERC) at the Nevada Test Site. The courses are designed to give operators experience in taking special nuclear material critical in a controlled environment, and experience on how different parameters effect nuclear criticality for different types of systems. The Sandia course involves the use of an experimental reactor containing low enriched uranium fuel pins. Approach to critical experiments range from adding mass, adding water to an over massed system, separating two halves of the core, or removing fuel rods to achieve criticality. The last two experiments are designed to show the counterintuitive nature of nuclear criticality safety, which demonstrates precisely why we back away from any system that is a suspected process deviation. The experiments at NCERC are performed in conjunction with the critical experiments group at Los Alamos involving neutronically fast, reflected systems as well as an experiment involving polyethylene plates that mimics a solution system. This curriculum also encompasses specific training for Criticality Safety Officers (CSO) as well as nuclear material supervisors, known as Operations Responsible Supervisors (ORS) at LANL. As CSOs and ORSs interact more frequently than other individuals with the Nuclear Criticality Safety Division (NCSD), the training focuses on day to day interfacing with NCSD. These interfaces include how to request/schedule work with the division, how the Criticality Safety Evaluation (CSE) process develops, and the basics of a Credible Events Analysis (CEA) which determines normal and credible abnormal conditions within each operation. In addition, the class emphasizes the importance of an on-going and positive relationship between the NCSD and operations personnel. Fissile material handling training is also offered in a graded scale at LANL, in order to give the necessary information to the correct people, depending on what that individual's work entails. For example, operators who are regularly handling nuclear material inside of a glovebox enclosure will receive very detailed criticality safety training, which includes examples of previous criticality accidents and the lessons learned from those events. However, an operator working with waste drums will receive less detailed instruction, as those activities are lower risk due to the nature of the process. This ensures that operators will be given pertinent information related to their specific process, thus aiding in the retention of the important objectives. (authors)
[en] From 7-12 April, approximately 16,300 scientists from 113 countries came together at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) 2019 General Assembly held in Vienna, Austria. Close to 16,250 oral and poster presentations were shared in 683 topic sessions in this unique opportunity for scientific sharing and global networking. The SWMCN Section and Laboratory’s activities were reported in presentations covering topics in radionuclide tracers for soil erosion investigations, area-wide soil moisture screening, climate resilient crop production, remediation of radioactive contamination of agricultural land and multi-isotope approaches to tracing pollutants. Eight staff members, two interns, and one consultant attended the conference to share the research work performed in the past years. The SWMCNL’s work on large scale nuclear emergency response in food and agriculture was highlighted in the EGU session on ‘Geoscience problems related to massive release of radioactive materials by nuclear accidents and other human activities’.
[en] The medical management of victims of a radiological accident is often driven by the information on the dose distribution or dose at organs at risk that is the main pertinent information expected. Since the Chernobyl accident with the feedback experience on the medical management of highly exposed liquidators, there is nowadays a medical management to treat patients if possible before clinical signs appear and therefore to develop a treatment strategy based in particular on dosimetry information. For criticality accidents, dosimetry is more complex, because of the possible high doses, high dose rates and complex gamma/neutron fields . A high dose from a criticality accident requires dose estimation with a short delay to be effective. It is important to segregate the different contributions of the radiation field, due to the difference in biological detriment. As the neutron dose is mainly deposited in the first few cm of the body that implies to take into account the morphology specificity, difference in organ doses could be up to 30%. This article presents the various techniques used (physical retrospective dosimetry, cytogenetic, activation of blood and hairs and nails, Monte Carlo simulation, etc.) to estimate doses in case of criticality accident. Then, the needs for this specific field of dosimetry will be presented, including firstly the necessity for an international collaboration and cooperation, in order to maintain and to share the few facilities still available, and secondly to have scientific cooperation for future developments and improvements. (authors)
[en] The Nuclear Criticality Safety (NCS) Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has established partnerships with Texas AM University (TAMU) and the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) in order to develop a Nuclear Criticality Safety University Pipeline Program. The goal of this program is to teach students the basics of NCS, preparing them to enter the field upon graduation. The courses consist of lectures that provide the students with the fundamentals of criticality safety, rules and regulations governing criticality safety practices, and the application of skills for writing an evaluation. Offered as a prerequisite, or in conjunction with the class, is a Monte Carlo N-Particle (MCNP) that teaches students the technical skill-set applicable to becoming a successful criticality safety engineer. The program thus far has been a success. More than 40 students were enrolled in the program during the fall 2018. The university pipeline results in several benefits: -1) reduced training time and costs, -2) interested students will naturally self-sort and pursue the discipline at the university level, and -3) a pipeline of criticality safety candidates is readily available within the DOE Complex so that unexpected organizational or mission changes can be reacted to with increased agility.
[en] As criticality safety is a niche profession, the training of new members has usually followed an apprenticeship pattern. Experienced engineers mentor incoming engineers through a variety of on-the-job training activities until the trainee demonstrates competence. Each experienced engineer must balance work and mentoring priorities, with an emphasis on mentoring because new staff represents the future of the organization. Important characteristics of the mentor is an attitude of being willing and interested in mentoring, technical credibility based on qualification, experience or expertise, and enough soft skills to be an effective communicator and teacher. One of our more successful ventures involved leveraging people who have previous experience as criticality safety engineers or have a special skill set in one of the core technical competencies. A detailed and well-documented training program will optimize the efforts of the mentor; however, it does not change the fact that the critical element of the training program is the need for face-to-face interaction between mentors and trainees on a regular basis. One of the best ways to support this interaction is by co-location of mentors and mentees in the same workspace, including routine on-the-job mentoring visits within the operating facility.
[en] Since 2015, the SWMCN Laboratory has been developing DSS4NAFA, an IT-based decision making support system for optimizing response to nuclear emergencies affecting food and agriculture. This work, now in its final stages for beta release to the Member States, was presented to the general public for the first time at the European Geophysical Union (EGU) General Assembly. Presentation of the DSS4NAFA system generated strong interest and positive responses, and the SWMCNL was invited to interview on both the EGU Geopolicy and EGU Natural Hazards on-line blog, open to all 15,000 members of EGU. The interviews can be found online.