Friday, September 26, 2014 02:43 PM

Possible future changes to national public and occupational radiation protection standards

State of California—Health and Human Services Agency California Department of Public Health


The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering revising some aspects of title 10, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20 (10 CFR 20), including public and occupational radiation exposure limits. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has incorporated 10 CFR 20 into title 17, California Code of Regulations, section 30253, and applies those provisions to all RAM and X-ray machine users subject to CDPH jurisdiction. Therefore, any changes by NRC may impact California’s radiation users.

The NRC has published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) to obtain input from stakeholders on the development of a draft regulatory basis to support potential changes to 10 CFR 20 to achieve greater alignment between the NRC’s radiation protection regulations and the 2007 recommendations of the International Commission on Radiation Protection (ICRP) contained in ICRP Publication 103. NRC currently proposes some differences from the ICRP recommendations, as noted in the NRC’s ANPR and summarized below (both ICRP and NRC positions are noted where differences exist). 

Specific items being evaluated include the following. (This is not an exhaustive list.)

  • Occupational Dose Limit for the Lens of the Eye

    -ICRP: Reduce the dose to the lens of the eye from 15 rem per year to 2 rem per year, averaged over 5 consecutive years, with no single year exceeding 5 rem. -NRC: Reduce the dose to the lens of the eye from 15 rem per year to 5 rem per year.

  • Dose Limit for Embryo/Fetus of a Declared Pregnant Occupational Worker -Reduce the dose to an embryo/fetus of a declared pregnant worker from 500 mrem for the entire gestation period to 100 mrem for the entire gestation period.

  • Occupational Dose/ALARA Planning
    -ICRP: Reduce the dose to occupational workers from 5 rem per year to a 5-year average of 2 rem per year, with the dose in any given year not to exceed 5 rem.
    -NRC: Retain the 5 rem per year occupational worker dose limit, but control worker doses under ALARA to achieve the ICRP recommended worker annual dose whenever reasonably achievable.

  • Metrication - Units of Radiation Exposure and Dose
    -ICRP: Use the International System (SI) of Units (e.g. Sievert/Gray/Becquerel) as the regulatory standard for expressing radiation exposure and radioactivity. - NRC: Use SI units as the regulatory standard, but also show traditional units.

  • Methodology and Terminology
    -Terminology changes concerning dose terms; updating weighting and quality factors; revising Appendix B values; introducing age and gender weighted dose coefficients for environmental intakes

  • Reporting of Occupational Exposure (Not related to ICRP Recommendations) -Expansion of 10 CFR 20.2206 radiation monitoring reporting to include Agreement State licensees and additional licensee categories

Read the full information notice here: