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Measuring, Predicting Radiation Exposure: Aiming at ALARA

Austin, TX, October 3, 2013 — Fiatech has released the final report from a joint project with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) that includes findings from the first phase of a potential multi-year project on estimating and enhancing radiation exposures that are aimed at exposure levels that are as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA).

Advancing the use of innovative technologies, processes, and systems to help improve building operations and maintenance by enabling intelligent, self-maintaining, and repairing operational facilities is one of Fiatech’s top priorities. Of particular concern in the nuclear industry is worker exposure to radiation, and how to accurately measure and predict dosage levels.

Traditional dose estimation techniques do not fully capture dose variations in a particular work environment. Work planning groups often rely solely on “average” dose rate values obtained from previous outages to calculate an “effective” dose rate. This rate, however, may not be representative of the actual dose rates for a person standing in a specific location. Traditional paper-based techniques also rely primarily on two-dimensional surveys, which provide little information about dose variations with elevation. These limitations thus hamper the ability of work planners to determine the actual dose a worker may receive when standing near a particular piece of equipment.

The EPRI-Fiatech ALARA Project has been a three-year effort that combines EPRI work on an algorithm that can be applied to assess dosage levels with the work of Fiatech members in developing 3D virtual reality software. The report, “ALARA Project: Phase 1,” describes the actions taken by the EPRI-Fiatech project team, including demonstrations and critiques at a Midwest nuclear power facility that hosted a three-day meeting for the project team and other interested parties. The report also discusses other details of Phase 1 activities, including numerous benefits coming from exposure levels that are ALARA.

Fiatech and EPRI are currently assessing the feasibility of a Phase 2 ALARA project, not only to extend the use of the virtual reality software and algorithms into other aspects of nuclear operations and maintenance, but to identify other potential applications as well. Those interested in more information should contact Robert Wible, Fiatech Senior Project Manager, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 703-568-2323.