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Highlights for 2009
[See previous year's highlights by clicking links at bottom of page.]
Source Team Scores Big in Year-End Metrics
October 28, 2009 - OSRP recovered 2,320 sealed radioactive sources domestically in FY09, well over the 2,250 sources required to meet the FY09 Los Alamos Site Office year end goal. In total, the OSRP team has now recovered over 20,000 unused or unwanted radioactive sources from within the U.S.
For ten years, OSRP personnel have traveled America, rounding up these disused radioactive sources from warehouses, barns, tool sheds, schools, hospitals, and offices where they were no longer needed for industry, medicine, research, or other beneficial purposes. The 20,000 radioactive sealed sources recovered by OSRP include more than 13,000 americium-241 sources, 2400 plutonium-238 sources, 600 plutonium-239 sources, and over 4000 other types of radioactive sealed sources. These were collected from more than 760 sites in 49 of the 50 states. An additional 494 unwanted U.S.-origin sources have been repatriated from international locations.
The team’s efforts guarantee continued medical and other beneficial uses of radioactive sources; but more importantly, they work to solve the problem of potentially dangerous unwanted sources from ending up in unsafe or unsecure situations.
Tracking Sources in Sichuan
September 30, 2009 - New contracts have been placed with China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection to support additional source recovery work in China in 2009 and 2010. Staff from the Off-Site Source Recovery Project (OSRP) will also present a workshop on common source recovery concepts; such as work planning, use of Type B containers for transporting high-activity sources/devices, and hot cell operations for safe removal of radioactive sources from devices in Sichuan province.
We’re Ghana Miss Them When They’re Gone
September 30, 2009 - Two visitors from Ghana will visit OSRP in January for an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sponsored fellowship. This fellowship will include overviews of OSRP operations, field gamma spectroscopy for identification of unknown sources and devices, and visits to OSRP consolidation facilities to gain firsthand knowledge of actinide source consolidation operations and removal of high-activity beta/gamma sources from teletherapy heads and irradiators using hot cells.
From Peru to Megaports, OSRP Cleans Up
September 2, 2009 - An OSRP team will package over 400 US-origin sealed sources in Peru later this year, with repatriation of the sources to the US to follow. The picture for international OSRP work in FY10 is being clarified, with potential work in France, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Georgia, China, Egypt, and likely Brazil; as well as completion of repatriations of unwanted sources from Switzerland, Austria, and Israel.
OSRP is currently responding to several requests related to orphan or at-risk radioactive sources. In one instance, a source detected by radiation monitoring devices in Jamaica was forwarded to Florida in a load of scrap metal, where it then alarmed similar US detectors. OSRP will characterize the source, which is currently in a damaged but shielded device, and recover it from the Florida interim storage facility for disposition. In a second case, OSRP is working with NRC on a situation involving a licensee that may be near bankruptcy but currently owns items that are of concern to NRC. Finally, OSRP will assist a small, flood-damaged hospital with unwanted sources that is in the process of terminating its radioactive material license.
How to be in Two Places at Once
July 22, 2009 - The 50th Conference of the International Nuclear Materials Management Society (INMM) meeting was held July 12-16 in Tucson, AZ. An OSRP team hosted an information booth in the exhibit hall. OSRP presented a paper entitled “Ten Years and 20,000 Sources: The Off-Site Source Recovery Project.”
During the same week, several OSRP team members attended the 54th Annual Meeting of the Health Physics Society in Minneapolis, MN. An OSRP team hosted an information booth in the exhibit hall as well as oral and poster presentations. These included:
Taming Texas and Beyond
July 1, 2009 - OSRP has been asked to participate in an additional four Search and Secure missions before the end of the calendar year. The Search and Secure Program provides equipment and training to interested countries to assist them in locating radioactive sealed sources. OSRP provides health physics professionals experience in handling, packaging, and transportation of sealed sources. In related news, during the week of June 1, 2009 an OSRP team recovered 816 sealed sources from a single site in Texas, which puts OSRP within 200 sources of achieving its recovery goal for FY09.
Wherever the Sources, OSRP Brings 'Em Back
January 21, 2009 - NNSA announced that the Global Threat Reduction Iniative (GTRI) has recovered more than 20,000 excess and unwanted sealed U.S. radioactive sources, made from plutonium, cesium, americium, cobalt, strontium, and other materials. Over 18,000 of these were recovered directly buy OSRP. “This major achievement in the removal of these radioactive sources ends any threat that they could be used in a dirty bomb,” said NNSA Administrator Thomas D'Agostino in a news release. GTRI support allows OSRP, Idaho National Laboratory, and the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors to recover disused radioactive sources from medical, academic, agricultural, industrial and research institutions, when there is no other disposition path. The decade-long recovery effort, now sponsored by NNSA GTRI, includes reporting to state radiation safety agencies and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
A Passage to India for OSRP
January 21, 2009 – OSRP traveled to Mumbai, India, to participate in the NUCAR Nuclear and Radiochemistry Symposium, sponsored by the Indian Department of Atomic Energy and Mithibai College. Through the efforts of Los Alamos Director Emeritus Sig Hecker, they joined in initial discussions of potential areas of cooperation with key Indian officials from the Bhaba Atomic Research Center, Mumbai, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, and others. They also met with the chief of the Board of Radiation and Isotope Technology, which manufactures devices for domestic and international use, and provided information about OSRP to a distributor of US-origin materials in India.
Step by Step
January 7, 2009 – As of December 22, 2008, OSRP had recovered 550 sources towards the FY09 goal of 2,130 sources, including recoveries from several sites in the D.C. area that were attended by NA-21 and EPA representatives.
Press Releases & News Clippings for 2009
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