Evaluation of the impact of non-uniform neutron radiation fields on the dose received by glove box radiation workers
MetadataShow full item record
The effort to estimate the radiation dose received by an occupationally exposed worker is a complex task. Regulatory guidance assumes that the stochastic risks from uniform and non-uniform whole-body irradiations are equal. An ideal uniform irradiation of the whole body would require a broad parallel radiation field of relatively high-energy radiation, which many occupationally exposed workers do not experience. In reality, workers are exposed to a non-uniform irradiation of the whole body such as a radiation field with one or more types of radiation, each with varying energies and/or fluence rates, incident on the worker. Most occupational radiation exposure at LANL is due to neutron radiation. Many of these exposures originate from activities performed in glove boxes with nuclear materials. A standard Los Alamos 2x2x2 glove box is modeled with the source material being clean weapons grade plutonium. Dosimeter tally planes were modeled to stimulate the various positions that a dosimeter can be worn. An anthropomorphic phantom was used to determine whole body dose. Various geometries of source position and phantom location were used to determine the effects of streaming on the radiation dose a worker may receive. Based on computational and experimental results, the effects of a non-uniform radiation field have on radiation dose received by a worker in a glove box environment are: 1) Dosimeter worn at chest level can overestimate the whole body dose between a factor of two to six depending on location of the phantom with the source material close to the front of the glove box, 2) Dosimeter should be worn at waist level instead of chest level to more accurately reflect the whole body dose received, 3) Dose can be significantly higher for specific locations of the worker relative to the position of the source, 4) On the average the testes contribute almost 44% of the whole body dose for a male, and 5) Appropriate design considerations such as more shielding on the bottom of the glove box and controls such as the use of internal or external shielding can reduce the effects on dose from these non-uniform fields.