PEP Courses

PROFESSIONAL ENRICHMENT PROGRAM

In-Person PEPs will be taught in Spokane, WA. All times shown below are Pacific Daylight Time (PDT). Virtual attendees must adjust for their local time. All PEPs will be viewable by either type of paid PEP attendee.

If a PEP is given virtually you will be sent a link to watch the PEP virtually from home or your hotel room. There will NOT be a room on-site at the convention center to watch the PEP.
If a PEP is given in person, you can participate in the course in person or virtually. If you are attending virtually, you will be sent a link to watch it LIVE. If you are attending in person, the course will take place at the Spokane Convention Center.

AAHP is evaluating the number of Continuing Education Credits awarded for each of the PEP (and CEL) courses based on technical content. Course instructors will be able to provide this information at the time of the presentation. This information will also be made available on the AAHP recertification site after data entry is completed.


Sunday, July 17, 8:00am – 10:00am PDT

PEP 1-A: Control of Hazards from Ultraviolet Lamps and Arcs

David Sliney

Everyone is familiar with the risks posed by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from outdoor sunlight, but the health physicist is sometimes called on to assess the safety of ultraviolet lamps used in forgery detection, insect light-traps, photocuring - and since COVID-19 - germicidal applications. Open-arc sources, such as welding arcs emit both intense ultraviolet and visible light. This PEP course is designed to review UV hazards and aid in clarifying the risks, control measures, exposure limits and measurement techniques for indoor UV sources. The common questions raised with regard to indoor, artificial sources of UV will be addressed. Are different lamps equally hazardous? What are the differences between UV-A, UV-B and UV-C? What are the safety standards and the recognized human exposure limits to UV? What are the acute and chronic effects from UV exposure? What is an “action spectrum,” and why is the wavelength spectral power distribution of the UV source so important? What are the pitfalls in UV source measurement? Do germicidal lamps really pose a serious photocarcinogenic risk when used in an open setting? What is far-UV-C and is it really safer to disinfect occupied rooms? What are the most common UV lamp types? What safety standards exist for indoor sun tanning lamps? Attendees are encouraged to bring their own questions as well.


PEP 1-B: Alpha Spectroscopy for the Health Physicist

Mike Clemmer

This course offers a fast-paced review of the basic principles of alpha spectroscopic analysis for the health physicist. The course includes a review of the nature and origins of alpha-particle emitting radioactivity, basic physics of alpha-particle interaction with matter, considerations and consequences of sample preparation for alpha spectroscopy, alpha spectroscopy system components and calibrations, and a primer on interpretation of alpha spectroscopy data.


PEP 1-C: VIRTUAL – Using the Updated CAP88-PC and STARGET Codes for Estimating Dose and Risk from Chronic Atmospheric Releases

Brian Littleton

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing a new release of the CAP88-PC model for the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPs) Subpart H compliance demonstration. This new release, Version 4.1.1, fixes a minor error in the recently released Version 4.1, and is accompanied by the STARGET utility which allows for updated meteorology data to be incorporated into the compliance demonstration. CAP88-PC Version 4.1.1 fixes a glitch in the calculation for those radionuclides where previously no data existed for particulate size resulting in an error when running CAP88-PC for these radionuclides in the code. This 2-hour course will help users of CAP88-PC to understand the changes to the model; and demonstrate how meteorological data can be used to update the “.wnd” files needed to run CAP88-PC. The course will also include a brief description of the model and information about the code’s architecture, along with demonstrations on the using the code and the STARGET utility. Additional information on future update paths and regulatory approaches will also be presented.


Sunday, July 17, 10:30am – 12:30pm PDT

PEP 2-A: Nonionizing Radiation: An Overview of Biological Effects and Exposure Limits

Ben Edwards

This course provides a fundamental overview of nonionizing radiation (NIR) hazards and biological effects. Course attendees will learn the basic terminology and nomenclature, spectral region designations, regulatory framework, and consensus guidance associated with NIR. The course material will begin at the edge of the ionizing part of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum and walk participants through a tour of the optical, radiofrequency (including microwave), and extremely low frequency (ELF) portions of the EM range, finally ending with static electric and magnetic fields. The existence of a series of exposure limits covering the entire NIR spectrum forms one of the course’s basic themes. This continuous line of “safe” exposure levels helps establish the concept that NIR dose-response curves are at least well enough understood at all parts of the spectrum to provide a reasonably safe exposure envelope within which we can operate. After completing this course, attendees will be conversant in the major sources and associated hazards in each part of the NIR spectrum, along with the recognized exposure limits and control measures for those sources. Armed with this information, safety professionals can better recognize, evaluate, and communicate the hazards associated with the spectrum of significant NIR sources and address workers’ concerns in a credible, fact-based, knowledgeable, and professional manner. While some knowledge of optical, radiofrequency, ELF, and static electromagnetic field characteristics may be helpful, both experienced and novice health physicists with NIR interests or responsibilities will benefit from this course.


PEP 2-B: Gamma Spectroscopy for the Health Physicist

Mike Clemmer

This course offers a fast-paced review of the basic principles of gamma spectroscopic analysis for the health physicist. The course includes a review of the nature and origins of gamma-emitting radioactivity, basic physics of gamma interaction with matter, consequences of gamma interactions on gamma spectra, gamma spectroscopy system components and calibrations, gamma spectroscopy analysis methods, and interpretation of gamma spectroscopy data.


PEP 2-C: Contemporary Topics in Radiation Protection: Ethics and Insider Threat Security Risks

Robert Emery

Ethical Decision-Making Tools for Enhancing Organizational Radiation Safety Culture Recent investigations of several tragic events have repeatedly identified the absence of a culture of safety as a common contributing factor. An organization’s safety culture is a collective reflection of individual decisions made by its workforce, each carrying with them ethical implications. Safety culture, good or bad, is the sum product of many individual ethical decisions, yet the notion of ethical safety decision-making is not often discussed. This presentation will describe ethical dilemmas radiation safety professionals can encounter, and how the decisions that are made can impact an organization’s overall safety culture. A set of ethical decision-making tools will be presented, along with a suggested path forward for actually improving safety culture within an organization. Radiation Safety’s Role in Mitigating the “Insider Threat” Security Risk While organizations maintain many layers of controls to prevent outsiders from gaining unauthorized access to cause loss or harm, persons who have been granted legitimate access can become an “insider threat” risk, and because they are very difficult to detect, cause over $100 billon is losses annually. Although the typical insider targets assets or data, in some cases their actions can also have significant impacts on workplace and environmental health and safety. Because much of an organization’s radiation safety program activities are carried out with the workers in their places of work, this represents a unique opportunity to assist in the possible detection of insider threats. This presentation will discuss the threats represented by insiders and will detail their recognized traits so that radiation safety professionals can enhance their situational awareness and report suspicions to the appropriate authorities.


Sunday, July 17, 1:30pm – 3:30pm PDT

PEP 3-A: Laser Safety for Health Physicists

Ben Edwards

This course provides an overview of laser physics, biological effects, hazards, and control measures, as well as a concise distillation of the requirements in the ANSI Z136 .1-2014 Standard for the Safe Use of Lasers. Non beam hazards, emerging issues, and accident histories with lessons learned will also be covered. Course attendees will learn practical laser safety principles to assist in developing and conducting laser safety training, performing safety evaluations, and effectively managing an institutional laser safety program. While some knowledge of laser hazards will be helpful, both experienced and novice health physicists with laser safety responsibilities will benefit from this course. Attendees may find it helpful to bring their own copy of ANSI Z136.1-2014.


PEP 3-B: New Pixelated CZT 3D Detection System for Applications in Nuclear Power, Nuclear Research & Medical Imaging

David W Miller

The state-of-art advancement of CdZxTe gamma cameras launched by the University of Michigan over the past 20 years under the US Department of Defense sponsored research is now in use at over 80% of the US and Canadian nuclear power plants. The H3D CdZnTe gamma cameras verify the adequacy of temporary shielding, contamination control, PWR Crud Burst isotopic mapping and radwaste shipment surveys. The wide adoption of the CdZnTc detector have led to new applications in homeland security, safeguard on nuclear materials as part of the missions of the IAEA and nuclear emergency response. IAEA organized a gamma-ray imaging workshop and conducted blind test on gamma-ray systems developed by eight different organizations in the world. H3D's pixelated,3-D, CdZnTe gamma cameras were selected for deployment at IAEA for international nuclear safeguards applications. The position-sensitive, 3-dimensional CdZnTe room temperature semiconductor gamma-ray spectrometers and imagers are being evaluated for medical applications including proton beam therapy dose measurements, PET and radionuclide isotopic imaging. New funding from US DOE for sustainable nuclear technologies to develop spectra software wlll be discussed.


PEP 3-C: Introductory R programming with the 'Radsafer' package

Mark Hogue

Health physicists routinely perform computations, but many of us lack tools that help keep these computations accurate and transparent. Some even resort to – gasp – spreadsheets. In this PEP session, you learn how to quickly get started with R programming, using the radsafer package. The radsafer package provides easy-to-use functions in the following categories: radiation measurements, decay corrections, accessing radionuclide data, and tools for MCNP. (The MCNP tools will be reserved to the end of the class since they are of interest only to MCNP analysts.) R can be challenging to learn if starting from scratch. But starting with a package — a documented set of shared code and data designed for your work — makes the transition easier. All software in this course is free and open-source. The class will start with a brief overview of R and Rstudio. Attendees will perform simple computations in the Rstudio console, then run the same computations from the Rstudio source panel. This will transition to writing and saving work as scripts. A brief look at function writing will provide the user insight into the best way to use the functions provided in radsafer. Next, we will explore the radsafer package and try out functions on realistic examples. Many radsafer functions access the RadData package. RadData contains the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) Publication 107, Nuclear Decay Data for Dosimetric Calculations – one of the data sets used by ORNL’s Radiological Toolbox. More details on the packages are provided at github.com/markhogue/radsafer and github.com/markhogue/RadData. Attendees are encouraged to bring laptops, with any common operating system, loaded with the latest versions of R and Rstudio. Installing radsafer (through the Package menu in Rstudio) automatically installs all needed packages such as RadData. Loading R and RStudio is very straight-forward. If desired, a set of instructions to load the programs is located at: www.sthda.com/english/wiki/installing-r-and-rstudio-easy-r-programming.


Sunday, July 17, 3:30pm – 5:30pm PDT

PEP 4-A: VIRTUAL – Retrospective dosimetry in nuclear forensics

Robert Hayes

The physics of thermoluminescence (TL), optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) will be reviewed and then shown how these technologies can be used in nuclear forensics, radiological emergency response and epidemiology.


PEP 4-B: VIRTUAL – Calculating Effective Dose and Risk of Cancer from Internal Intake and External Exposure to Radioactive Material

David Stuenkel

With updated dose coefficients from the International Commission on Radiation Protection (ICRP) for workers and members of the public, and updated cancer risk coefficients to be published in Federal Guidance Report No. 16, there will be updated tools to calculate effective dose and cancer risks from internal intake and external exposure to radioactive material. This Professional Enrichment Program (PEP) provides an overview of the methods used to calculate dose and risk coefficients, highlighting similarities and differences in the two types of coefficients. This PEP provides a discussion of where to find and how to use these coefficients, including examples of how to estimate effective dose and risk from inhalation or ingestion of radioactive material or exposure to radioactive material in the air or on the ground for both acute and chronic intakes and exposures. The PEP also includes a discussion of the different ways to estimate dose and risks for radon-222 and its decay products. This PEP is intended for anyone interested in the calculation of dose and risk coefficients or their application.


PEP 4-C: Federal Radiological Response Teams

Kenneth Groves

This PEP will offer a review of both Federal and State (Federally Funded) Radiological/Nuclear Emergency Response Teams/Assets. FIRST AND FOREMOST‚ ALL EMERGENCIES ARE LOCAL (AND AT BEST REGIONAL)! The response times for both Federal and State resources are not fixed; so it is critical that local jurisdictions have planned for the first 24+ hours without outside support. It is critical that ‘regional’ plans be in place, documented, trained and exercised if your response is to be effective!


Monday, July 18, 12:15pm – 2:15pm PDT

PEP M-1: ICRU 95: Operational Quantities for External Radiation Exposure

Nolan Hertel

In 2020 the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements published ICRU Report 95. The report recommends a new set of operational quantities which are more closely tied to the ICRP protection quantities. The ICRU sphere has been eliminated. In the session the objectives of the report will be presented. The phantoms used in computing the dose conversion coefficients will be discussed. Resulting coefficients for skin dose, eye lens dose, effective dose, and ambient dose will be shown and discussed. Some analysis of the impact of implementing the newly recommended quantities as opposed to using the current set of operational quantities will be discussed. Some time will be carved out for practitioners to discuss the changes.


PEP M-2: Laser Safety the Next Level

Ken Barat

The goal of this PEP is to discuss a number of topics not commonly addressed in the traditional/introductory laser safety PEP or laser safety officer training. These topics will be of considerable interest to an LSO whether at a university or research facility (excluding medical facilities). The typical laser safety training course for users or Laser Safety Officers is based on the existing laser safety standards. Because of this several topics are either not touched upon or are represented in a limited format due to restrictions on how standard can address items. This even extends to items covered in the non-normative appendixes of standards. This PEP will include material on the items or elements required to be prepared to respond to a laser accident. Laser safety products that are on the market, both traditional and nontraditional which support laser safety efforts. The class will also include a performance exercise to help engage attendees in demonstrating how laser safety can be obtained and the importance of laser safety officer input. As well as the evaluation of a number of over looked audit items and laser use scenarios. I am quite sure all who attended will leave with useful information and ideas to apply to their place of employment.


PEP M-3: Integration of Health Physics into Emergency Response and Information Communication

Steve Sugarman

Response and communication go hand-in-hand. In the event of a radiation incident, it is essential that the radiological situation is properly, yet rapidly, assessed so that a proper response can be planned. Various techniques can be employed to help gather the necessary information needed. It is not always necessary to incorporate wholesale changes to the way things may usually be done in the absence of radioactive materials. For instance, stand-off distances, universal precautions, and response PPE that are normally used can also serve to protect personnel when responding to a radiological event. Coupled with a good event history and other data, health physicists can help to develop a strategy for safely and effectively responding to a radiological event. HP support duties can also include assessment of dose to patients/victims. In addition to performing the “normal” health physics duties, assisting with messaging and communication should be looked at as an area where health physicists can be of help. As time goes on and more information ‚Äì such as specific source term and chemical/physical form of the involved material, bioassay data, plume data, and other additional data ‚Äì is received, the health physicist will be called upon to interpret that data and communicate the technical information in an understandable manner to people who need it. It is, therefore, essential that health physicists are able to seamlessly integrate themselves into the response environment and effectively communicate their findings to a wide variety of people that may include on-scene command staff, involved victims, medical care providers, public information officers, decision makers, and others.


PEP M-4: Internal Dose Calculations for Nuclear Medicine Applications

Michael Stabin

Internal dose calculations for nuclear medicine applications are based on the well-established concepts and units, as defined by the RAdiation Dose Assessment Resource (RADAR) Committee of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. The RADAR method harmonized the defining equations and units employed to provide quantitative analysis for both nuclear medicine and occupational internal dose calculations. This program will show, from a practical standpoint, how data are gathered and dose calculations are performed in nuclear medicine applications, showing practical examples to solve different problems. An overview will be given of the current state of the art in the use of internal dose calculations in nuclear medicine therapy, and the promise for future improvements to provide more patient specificity in calculations (in therapeutic applications) and better ability to predict biological effects from calculated doses. Current developments in radiation biology, particularly bystander effects, that are challenging our interpretation of internal dose calculations in nuclear medicine will also be presented.


Tuesday, July 19, 12:15pm – 2:15pm PDT

PEP T-1: The Case Against The LNT

Alan Fellman

Radiation safety regulations are based on the linear no-threshold (LNT) hypothesis despite overwhelming peer-reviewed science demonstrating a carcinogenic threshold or hormesis at low doses. LNT insists that lowering a worker dose by as little as one ¬µSv results in a safer workplace. Regulators and radiation safety professionals have convinced most of the public that evacuating 150,000 persons following Fukushima ‘saving’ them from tens of mSv improves public health when in fact it caused more than 2,000 fatalities among evacuees. Despite compelling evidence revealing LNT to be fraudulent, the consistent response taken by regulatory agencies and scientific bodies whose recommendations are cited as the basis of regulatory actions is to deflect or rationalize away the science or simply pretend it doesn’t exist so as to maintain allegiance to a worldview of radiation safety built on ALARA and LNT. A sample of relevant findings supporting this allegation will be presented.


PEP T-2: Performing ANSI Z136-Based Laser Hazard Calculations

Ben Edwards

This course provides a step-by-step guide to performing laser hazard calculations based on the principles and methodology in the ANSI Z136.1-2014 Standard for the Safe Use of Lasers. Attendees will gain an understanding of how to complete these calculations for continuous wave, pulsed, and repetitively pulsed laser systems. While some knowledge of laser hazards will be helpful, both experienced and novice health physicists with laser-safety responsibilities will benefit from this course. However, anyone not already familiar with the fundamentals of radiometry and the arcane conventions of the Z136 series of standards for the safe use of lasers would benefit from attending the Laser Safety for Health Physicists PEP so they’ll have some familiarity with the concepts under discussion. Attendees will also find bringing their own copy of ANSI Z136.1-2014 a useful reference.


PEP T-3: Design, Licensing and Commissioning of a New Nuclear Medicine Accelerator Facility

Shaun Kelley

Nuclear medicine manufacturing is a quickly growing industry with many new facilities being designed, built and commissioned around the US and the world. Many of these facilities are utilizing new types of technology in the quest to deliver new radionuclides, increased yields, and improved efficiencies which can present new and different challenges in facility design, licensing and commissioning, particularly in agreement states with less experience with operations of this scope. Some examples of these new technologies include accelerator, ion source, target designs and more. These challenges dictate that the Health Physicist should get involved in the process as early as possible for proper design and planning in many areas including but not limited to siting, shielding, ventilation, waste storage and more. This lecture will inform attendees of the areas requiring greatest Health Physics attention and effort, pitfalls to be avoided and suggestions for best practices, all based on a successful recent facility commissioning.


Thursday, July 21, 12:15pm – 2:15pm PDT

PEP TH-1: VIRTUAL – Radiation in Flight

Joseph Shonka

In 2012, measurements of a extreme solar flare that missed earth by 7 days, along with analysis that showed such an event had a 12% probability of occurrence per decade led the US and UK science and technology advisors to recommend a course of action should such an event occur. Unlike the US, carriers in the EU and UK are regulated, and the doses that would have been received exceeded allowable limits. There are no radiation dose limits for US aircrew and passengers. This PEP will summarize the conclusions of those meetings and address both routine and extreme events from radiation that occur in flight. The PEP will also address methods that are being considered to control that radiation routinely and during space weather events. Recent efforts by the ISO to develop standards for measurement of radiation in flight will also be summarized.


PEP TH-2: VIRTUAL – Radon physics

Robert Hayes

The basics of radon and thoron physics as they apply to operational health physics as either an interferent to nuclear operations or as an actual health concern as found in uranium minors. The physics of transport and evolution for radon as it effects airborne air contamination measurements including diurnal variation, wind and transuranic activity deconvolution.


PEP TH-3: VIRTUAL – Technical Basis and Operational Experience for Clearance of Personal Property from SLAC Accelerator Facilities

Sayed Rokni

At high energy particle accelerators, induced radioactivity in accelerator components or materials can occur as a direct or indirect consequence to exposure to the particle beam and/or the secondary radiation particles due to beam losses. Management of the potentially activated materials is an important part of the radiation protection program. This presentation addresses the release of the materials from radiological control (i.e., clearance of personal property) in accelerator facilities to meet the DOE Order 458.1 requirements. SLAC, a high-energy electron accelerator facility, has successfully released metals for recycle in the past few years. The SLAC material clearance program with its technical bases are consistent with the DOE Technical Standard DOE-STD-6004-2016 on “Clearance and Release of Personal Property from Accelerator Facilities.” The technical bases that support the clearance of metals (e.g., aluminum, iron, steel, copper, and lead) associated operational experience at SLAC are presented. The emphasis of the technical basis is placed on the volumetric radioactivity aspects due to potential activation at high-energy accelerator facilities and the more challenging measurement methods for volumetric radioactivity. The technical basis includes process knowledge (e.g., characteristics of induced radioactivity, proxy radionuclides versus the hard-to-measure radionuclides, and surface maximum activity), measurement protocols (including quantification of detection capability), and a release criterion based on that the release measurements are indistinguishable from background. SLAC has developed and implemented a material management and release program for the material clearance and metal recycling. The program includes the establishment of radiation detection instrumentation and measurement methods to meet the ANSI N13.12 screening level requirements for clearance of accelerator materials. These instruments include portable instruments with sufficient detection capability for survey on material surfaces, field gamma spectrometer for confirmatory measurements, and a portal gate monitor. The discussion will also include best practices for instrument set-up, field measurements, documentation and record management, and communication with stakeholders. A summary of recycling progress, as well as lessons learned will be provided.