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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Adopting the International System of
Units for Radiation Measurements in
the United States

Proceedings of a Workshop

Ourania Kosti, Rapporteur

Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

images

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, DC
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

This activity was supported by Contract No. 200-2011-38807 TO# 50 with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13:978-0-309-45388-2
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Digital Object Identifier:10.17226/24645

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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
×

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The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
×

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Reports document the evidence-based consensus of an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and committee deliberations. Reports are peer reviewed and are approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Proceedings chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other convening event. The statements and opinions contained in proceedings are those of the participants and have not been endorsed by other participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

For information about other products and activities of the National Academies, please visit nationalacademies.org/whatwedo.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
×

WORKSHOP PLANNING COMMITTEE1

STEVEN L. SIMON, Chair, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland

DANIEL J. BLUMENTHAL, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC

E. VINCENT HOLAHAN, JR., U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Rockville, Maryland

MARK L. MAIELLO, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Queens

RUTH E. McBURNEY, Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, Inc., Frankfort, Kentucky

JESSICA WIEDER, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC

Staff

OURANIA KOSTI, Study Director

TONI GREENLEAF, Administrative/Financial Associate

DARLENE GROS, Senior Program Assistant

___________________

1 The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s workshop planning committees are solely responsible for organizing the workshop, identifying topics, and choosing speakers. The responsibility for the published Proceedings of a Workshop rests with the workshop rapporteur and the institution.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
×

NUCLEAR AND RADIATION STUDIES BOARD

ROBERT C. DYNES, Chair, University of California, San Diego

JAMES A. BRINK, Vice Chair, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

GEORGE E. APOSTOLAKIS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (emeritus), Cambridge

DAVID J. BRENNER, Columbia University, New York

MARGARET S. Y. CHU, M.S. Chu & Associates, LLC, Albuquerque, New Mexico

TISSA H. ILLANGASEKARE, Colorado School of Mines, Golden

CAROL M. JANTZEN, Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, South Carolina

MARTHA S. LINET, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland

NANCY JO NICHOLAS, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico

HENRY D. ROYAL, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri

DANIEL O. STRAM, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

WILLIAM H. TOBEY, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Cambridge, Massachusetts

SERGEY V. YUDINTSEV, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow

Staff

KEVIN D. CROWLEY, Director

JENNIFER HEIMBERG, Senior Program Officer

OURANIA KOSTI, Senior Program Officer

TONI GREENLEAF, Administrative and Financial Associate

LAURA D. LLANOS, Administrative and Financial Associate

DARLENE GROS, Senior Program Assistant

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
×

Reviewers

This Proceedings of a Workshop was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published Proceedings of a Workshop as sound as possible and to ensure that the Proceedings of a Workshop meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this Proceedings of a Workshop:

Frazier Bronson, Canberra Industries

Donald A. Cool, Electric Power Research Institute

Jerry W. Hiatt, Nuclear Energy Institute

Sigurður M. Magnússon, Icelandic Radiation Safety Authority

David R. Musick, Federal Emergency Management Agency

Richard J. Vetter, Mayo Clinic (retired)

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they did not see the final draft of the Proceedings of a Workshop before its release. The review of this Proceedings of a Workshop was overseen by Barbara L. Hamrick, University of California, Irvine, Medical Center. She was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this Proceedings of a Workshop was carried

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
×

out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this Proceedings of a Workshop rests entirely with the rapporteur and the institution.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Preface

Most countries in the world use the SI (Système International, also known as the metric system) units for radiation measurements in commercial and technical activities. The United States, in contrast, uses a mix of SI and conventional1 units for radiation measurements, despite 30-year-old national and international recommendations to exclusively use SI.

SI units for radiation measurements are the gray (unit for absorbed dose, Gy), becquerel (unit for activity, Bq), and sievert (unit for dose equivalent and effective dose, Sv). Conventional units are the rad, curie, and rem. The size of the SI and conventional units differs, and in some cases conversions are not arithmetically convenient: 1 rad = 0.01 Gy; 1 Ci = 3.7 × 1010 Bq; 1 rem = 0.01 Sv. Radiation professionals in the United States are faced with the need to understand both systems and make conversions between the two.

Several post–Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident2 reports noted that the use of conventional units in the United States and the need to convert to/from SI hindered the exchange and interpretation of information during the accident response. The experience from the Fukushima nuclear accident led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ask the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies) to host this workshop, Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation

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1 Also referred to as “traditional.”

2 The Fukushima Nuclear Plant accident was initiated by the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
×

Measurements in the United States. Its objective was to obtain perspectives from the radiation protection and user communities on potential communication improvements associated with adopting SI units for radiation measurements in the United States.

The workshop was held September 29-30, 2016, at the National Academies in Washington, DC. It was organized by a committee of six experts3 and featured a range of presentations4 on the topics listed in the statement of task (see Box P.1). The workshop was undertaken with the premise that adoption of the SI units for radiation measurements would improve the effectiveness of responding to national and international radiation emergencies and communicating with the public and among radiation experts.

This Proceedings of a Workshop, prepared by Dr. Ourania Kosti, who is a National Academies staff member, serves as a record of the workshop. It does not provide findings or recommendations or represent a consensus of workshop participants. Dr. Kosti is responsible for the overall quality and accuracy of this proceedings.

___________________

3 See p. v for the planning committee membership and Appendix C for short biographical information.

4 See Appendix A for the workshop agenda and Appendix B for short biographical information on the workshop speakers.

Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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This proceedings is organized into five chapters:

  • Chapter 1 introduces the issue of adoption of SI units for radiation measurements in the United States.
  • Chapter 2 summarizes current (as of September 2016) practices in use of units for radiation measurements in the United States.
  • Chapter 3 summarizes the issues with continuing use of conventional units for radiation measurements and benefits and challenges of exclusive use of SI.
  • Chapter 4 discusses lessons learned from international experience in adopting the SI units for radiation measurements.
  • Chapter 5 describes options on possible next steps forward toward the exclusive use of SI units for radiation measurements in the United States.
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Page xvii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Acronyms and Abbreviations

AAPM American Association of Physicists in Medicine
ACR American College of Radiology
ASTHO Association of State and Territorial Health Official
ASTRO American Society for Radiation Oncology
Bq Becquerel
CBA Cost–benefit analysis
CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CGPM General Conference on Weights and Measures (French: Conférence générale des poids et mesures)
CFR Code of Federal Regulations
Ci Curie
CNSC Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
CRCPD Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, Inc.
CTOS Counterterrorism Operations Support
DHS Department of Homeland Security
DOD Department of Defense
DOE Department of Energy
DOT Department of Transportation
EPA Environmental Protection Agency
EURATOM European Atomic Energy Community
EURDEP European Radiological Data Exchange Platform
Page xviii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency
FR Federal Register
Gy Gray
HERCA Heads of the European Radiological Protection Competent Authorities
IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency
ICRP International Commission on Radiological Protection
ICRU International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements
INPO Institute for Nuclear Power Operations
NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NCI National Cancer Institute
NCRP National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements
NEI Nuclear Energy Institute
NIST National Institute of Standards and Technology
NRC Nuclear Regulatory Commission
OMB Office of Management and Budget
OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration
OSTP Office of Science and Technology Policy
PAG Protective Action Guide
PL Public Law
REAC/TS Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site
REP Radiological Emergency Preparedness
SI Système International
SNMMI Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Sv Sievert
T-TIP Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
U.K. United Kingdom
UNSCEAR United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation
U.S. United States of America
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Page R1
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Page R2
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Page R3
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Page R6
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Page R7
Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Page xiii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Page R13
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Page R14
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Page R15
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Page R16
Page xvii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
×
Page R17
Page xviii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Adopting the International System of Units for Radiation Measurements in the United States: Proceedings of a Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24645.
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Most countries in the world use the SI (Système International, also known as the metric system) units for radiation measurements in commercial and technical activities. The United States, in contrast, uses a mix of SI and conventional units for radiation measurements, despite 30-year-old national and international recommendations to exclusively use SI. Radiation professionals in the United States are faced with the need to understand both systems and make conversions between the two.

In September 2016, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine organized a workshop to explore potential communication improvements associated with adopting the international system of units (SI units) for radiation measurements in the United States. Participants discussed potential improvements in the effectiveness of responding to national and international radiation emergencies, international experiences in adopting the exclusive use of SI units of radiation measurements, and steps needed to adopt the exclusive use of SI units in the US in terms of timing, implementation, and ways to overcome or manage technical, economic, and policy barriers. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.

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