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Radionuclide Resources

The following resources were developed by FRTR and its member agencies to provide information on the characterization and remediation of radionuclides in the environment. The resources include webpages, guidance documents, training modules, and tools. These resources may provide useful information about technologies and strategies that are useful across regulatory platforms, but users must be careful that the technologies and strategies meet the requirements by which their site is regulated.

For Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) responses, the primary source for information from EPA, is located on the Superfund Radiation webpage. More general information about radionuclides can be found on EPA's Radionuclides webpage.

For decommissioning of U.S. NRC-licensed facilities, the prime source of information is located on the Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities Webpage.



FRTR's Screening Matrix
Section 2.9 of the screening matrix lists typical radionuclide contaminants encountered at radioactive and mixed waste disposal sites. Table 2-7 lists technologies and their development status for treatment of radionuclides in soil, sediment, sludge, groundwater, surface water, and leachate.

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Remediation of Deep Vadose Zone Radionuclide and Metal Contamination: Status and Issues
This document provides both scientific information and cost-effective in situ remediation technologies to treat metals and radionuclide contamination. The report focuses mainly on technetium-99 and uranium but also includes other contaminants of interest, including chromium, mercury, plutonium, and strontium-90. Co-contaminants are considered in evaluating remediation technologies, because they can have an impact on the effectiveness of the remediation and may also need to be addressed to protect human health and the environment.

The goal of the Performance & Risk Assessment Community of Practice (P&RA CoP) is to foster exchange of information regarding preparation of performance assessments and risk analyses in support of environmental decisions across agencies and practitioners; enhance consistency in the preparation of P&RAs across the DOE; and to develop appropriate peer guidance and/or recommendations for P&RAs such that they are based on sound science and are defensible.

Waste Information Management System (WIMS)
WIMS is developed to provide DOE Headquarters and site waste managers with the tools necessary to easily visualize, understand, and manage the vast volumes, categories, and problems of forecasted waste streams.

The Manifest Information Management System (MIMS) is a database used to monitor the management of commercial low-level radioactive waste (LLW) in the U.S. MIMS was developed in 1986 by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in response to provisions in 42 U.S.C. 2021g(a).

This service provides the ability to query the Waste Data System (WDS)/WIPP Waste Information System (WWIS). Information is available for disposed containers of transuranic (TRU) waste. Container Data will be available 14 days after emplacement in the WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant) Repository.

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Cleanup Levels and Applicable or Relevant and Appropriate Requirements (ARARs) Radiation Guidance
This webpage provides EPA remedial project managers with information and guidance for selecting remedies at radioactively contaminated Superfund sites. Guidance documents are grouped into four categories: Overall Cleanup Levels and ARARs; Overall Cleanup Levels and Risk Assessment; UMTRCA Soil, and; Ground water.

Protective Action Guides (PAGs)
The Protective Action Guide (PAG) Manual contains radiation dose guidelines that would trigger public safety measures, such as evacuation or staying indoors, to minimize or prevent radiation exposure during an emergency. EPA developed Protective Action Guides to help responders plan for radiation emergencies.

Radiation at Superfund Sites
This webpage provides EPA remedial project managers with information and guidance on the cleanup of radioactive contamination at Superfund sites, including Superfund radiation guidance and reports, risk assessment, community involvement, radiation reports from non-Superfund EPA programs and offices, and EPA's Memorandum of Understanding with NRC.

Radiation Site Cleanup: CERCLA Requirements and Guidance
This webinar from 2007 was sponsored by the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) and included two EPA instructors. The focus of this training was EPA's guidance for remediating radioactively contaminated sites, which can facilitate cleanups that are consistent with how chemical contaminants are addressed, except where technical differences posed by radiation are addressed. The webinar presentation examined the factors influencing variations in cleanup level development at various radioactively contaminated sites and underscores the need for training to enhance consistency in remedy selection for radiological contaminants.

Radiological Emergency Response
EPA's Radiological Emergency Response Team works with federal, state and local agencies to monitor radioactivity. During an emergency, EPA uses its protective action guidelines to help determine what actions are necessary to protect people from unhealthy levels of radiation.

Technology Reference Guide for Radioactively Contaminated Media
This guide helps select treatment technologies to remediate radioactively contaminated media. The solid media includes soils, sediments, sludge and solid waste, but does not include buildings and structures. The liquid media includes groundwater, surface water, leachate and wastewater.

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Groundwater and Soil Remediation Guidelines for Nuclear Power Plants Public Edition
These guidelines provide the nuclear power industry with technical guidance for evaluating the need for and timing of remediation of soil and/or groundwater contamination from onsite leaks, spills, or inadvertent releases to prevent migration of licensed material off-site and minimize decommissioning impacts.

TH28 Ground-Water Monitoring and Remediation at Operating and Decommissioning NPP Sites
This session of the 2017 Regulatory Information Conference examined groundwater monitoring and remediation methods that have been applied at operating and decommissioning nuclear power plant (NPP) sites. The session highlighted information on the Electric Power Research Institute's groundwater and soil remediation guidelines and NRC's regulatory guidance. In addition, it provides published case study examples including remediation methods from industry, both domestic and international. Takeaway messages include information on how to monitor and assess residual subsurface radioactivity and what numerical codes can be employed to estimate offsite radionuclide discharges. This information and insights from accomplished remediation programs can assist others in selecting and evaluating of the efficacy of remediation methods to help preclude significant offsite discharges of radionuclides.

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Analytical Services Program
This website explains DOE's Analytical Services Program (ASP) and the functions of its three components: DOE Consolidated Audit Program, Mixed Analyte Performance Evaluation Program, and Systematic Planning and Data Assessment Tools Program. The ASP provides environmental management related services and products to DOE Program Offices and field element sites and their contractors, in support of environmental regulatory compliance programs, remediation and cleanup efforts, and waste management.

Global Positioning Radiometric Scanner (GPRS) System for Surface Soils
As part of DOE's Innovative Technology Summary Report series, the GPRS system was demonstrated in the field in 1999 at Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory's Initial Engine Test stack trench. The GPRS system comprises a detection system, a portable computer, a differential global positioning system, and a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Once survey data has been collected, GeoSoft™ software generates a geographical representation of the radiological contamination extent. A portable sodium iodide detector performed real time, in situ analyses to conduct routine large area surface radiation surveys.

Liquid Scintillation Counter for Radionuclide Swipes
As part of DOE's Innovative Technology Summary Report series, demonstrations were conducted in three phases in 1999 at the Miamisburg Environmental Project site. The cost and performance of the portable Lumi-Scint liquid scintillation radiation counter (LSC) and the standard laboratory-based LSC (baseline technology) are presented. The demonstration also determined if the portable LSC could be used as a supplement to the standard LSC and provide a rapid quantitative tool for analyzing swipes of low-energy beta-emitting radionuclides. The demonstration showed the portable unit cannot replace the baseline technology. However, it is useful for providing fast analysis in the field on a small number of samples.

Long-Term, Post-Closure Radiation Monitoring System (LPRMS) for Soil and Groundwater
This 2-page factsheet describes DOE's field trial from 1998 to 1999 at the Fernald Environmental Management Project in Ohio to demonstrate LPRMS. Based on gamma detection, LPRMS monitors radionuclides to depths of 50 meters below ground surface. This system is designed to be capable of monitoring large numbers of permanently installed probes over long time periods. Nanoprobe can be lowered into PVC casings advanced into the ground using cone penetrometer technology, while measurements are taken at the ground surface using a solar-powered station and a cell phone modem for communication to an offsite computer.

Membrane Rapid Sampling Technology for Groundwater
As part of DOE's Innovative Technology Summary Report series, the Empore™ membrane, a commercial separation technology developed and patented by 3M, was used at four sites to sample and analyze groundwater for technetium, strontium, cesium, and lead contamination. The technology consists of a method for enmeshing sorbent, surface-active particles in a web-like matrix, which is formed into a membrane. The particles are a product of molecular recognition technology and allow selective adsorption of heavy metals or radionuclides that are present as ions in aqueous solutions.

Multisensor Dig Face Characterization for Radioactive Waste
As part of DOE's Innovative Technology Summary Report series, the Dig Face Characterization system (now known as Remedial Action Management System, or RAMS) was demonstrated at Mound Environmental Management Project in Ohio. RAMS uses multiple real-time sensors (geophysical, chemical, radiological, and physical) situated at the dig face to provide characterization information during excavation.

On-Line, Real-Time Alpha Radiation Measuring Instrument
As part of DOE's Innovative Technology Summary Report series, the Thermo Alpha Monitor (TAM) technology, which counts alpha emitters, such as uranium 238 and 234 and plutonium 239, in water was demonstrated at several locations at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. A range of water chemistries, contaminant concentrations, and radioisotopes in surface water, groundwater, and process water was tested.

Photodetector Fiber-Optic Sensor for Soil
As part of DOE's Innovative Technology Summary Report series, the BetaScint™ sensor was used at the DOE Oakland Operations Office Laboratory for Energy-related Health Research (LEHR) in Davis, California, in screening and confirmation studies for Sr-90. The sensor also was used to expedite site remediation. BetaScint uses photodetectors to determine beta particle radioactivity in a soil sample and provides a measure of strontium (Sr)-90 and uranium (U)-238 contamination. Beta particles (electrons) emitted by radioactive contaminants excite electrons in plastic fiber doped with fluorescent compounds in the layers of the sensor. The plastic fibers give off light when the fluorescent molecules lose energy and return to their ground state.

Position-Sensitive Radiation Monitor for Flat Open Areas or Smooth Surfaces
As part of DOE's Innovative Technology Summary Report series, the position-sensitive radiation monitor was used at the DOE Hanford facility in 1997. The monitor can be used to document radiological surveys of large, open, flat areas and smooth surfaces, both before and after decontamination of facilities. It detects alpha and beta/gamma contamination, uses an automatic data logger, and can be configured with large detectors on mobile platforms for surveying outdoors or large wall, ceiling, and floor surfaces.

RESidual RADiation (RESRAD) Family of Codes
The RESRAD family of codes analyzes potential human and biota radiation exposures from environmental contamination of RESRAD materials. The codes use pathway analysis to evaluate radiation exposure and associated risks, and to derive cleanup criteria or authorized limits for radionuclide concentrations in the contaminated source medium.

Spectral Gamma Probe for Soil and Groundwater
As part of DOE's Innovative Technology Summary Report series, the Spectral Gamma Probe was evaluated at the R-Reactor Seepage Basins at the Savannah River site for its ability to measure cesium-137 in the presence of other subsurface radioactive contaminants. The Spectral Gamma Probe consists of a gamma radiation detection probe driven into the subsurface using a cone penetrometer. A sodium iodide scintillation crystal detects gamma radiation at the probe tip. Gamma rays emitted by radioactive wastes are collected and the spectrum is analyzed to identify radioactive constituents and their relative concentrations.

Spectrometer Monitor for Transuranics in Glass
As part of DOE's Innovative Technology Summary Report series, this report presents the results from three demonstrations of the Real-Time Monitor for Transuranics in Glass that were conducted during August 1997, July 1998, and October 1999 at the Savannah River site. The monitor can be used to determine the concentration of certain metals in a glass stream as it flows out of a melter. The monitor is based on the detection of the spectrum of light emitted by a high-temperature object. Light emitted by the hot glass stream is focused into an optical fiber, which is coupled into a spectrometer with an array detector. Target analytes included ytterbium, a plutonium surrogate; erbium, a surrogate for americium and curium; and neodymium, an americium surrogate.

Subpart H—National Emission Standards for Emissions of Radionuclides Other Than Radon from Department of Energy Facilities
This Information Brief provides guidance from DOE's Office of Public Radiation Protection (AU-22) to DOE site staff involved in Subpart H compliance reporting. It provides recommendations to DOE sites regarding program related items, such as: compliance reporting; software upgrades; environmental surveillance activities; and definitions for commonly used terms. Additionally, it promotes consistency amongst all reports and is issued to identify compliance tools and procedures that have evolved since Subpart H was issued. This Information Brief does not supersede or replace the requirements of 40 CFR 61, Subpart H; nor does it over-ride existing agreements for compliance reporting between DOE sites and their regulating authority for Subpart H reporting. AU

Surveillance and Measurement System (SAMS)
As part of DOE's Innovative Technology Summary Report series, this report presents the results and lessons learned from field demonstrations conducted at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory in March and April 2000 to investigate the feasibility of using SAMs technology to make in situ isotopic radiation measurements in paint chips and soil samples. The SAM Model 935 is a handheld detector that uses a thallium activated sodium iodide detector to provide isotopic analysis in the field.

Visual Sample Plan (VSP)
The VSP is a software tool that supports the development of a defensible sampling plan based on statistical sampling theory and the statistical analysis of sample results to support confident decision making. VSP couples site, building, and sample location visualization capabilities with optimal sampling design and statistical analysis strategies to develop a sampling plan for a chemical, biological or radionuclide release.

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Training: Enhancing Radiological Laboratory Testing for Radionuclides in Drinking Water
This video course in radiochemistry is divided into seven different modules:

  • Basics of Radioactivity
  • Sample Preservation, Pretreatment, and Preparation
  • Principles of Radiochemical Separations
  • Detection Techniques
  • EPA Approved Radiochemical Drinking Water Methods
  • Determination of Measurement Uncertainty for Radiochemical Analysis
  • Quality Assurance and Quality Control in Radiochemical Analysis

Incident Response Guidance for Radioanalytical Laboratories
The incident guides describe the likely analytical decision paths that would be required by personnel at a radioanalytical laboratory following a radiological or nuclear incident. EPA's responsibilities include response and recovery actions to detect and identify radioactive substances and to coordinate federal radiological monitoring and assessment activities. These documents were developed to provide guidance to those radioanalytical laboratories that will support EPA's response and recovery actions following a radiological or nuclear Incident of National Significance.

Rapid Radiochemical Methods for Selected Radionuclides
This compendium of PDF documents provides rapid radioanalytical methods for selected radionuclides applicable to the intermediate and recovery phases of a nuclear or radiological incident requiring integrated laboratory response. They were developed to expedite the analytical turnaround time while providing quantitative results that meet measurement quality objectives. The methods present key laboratory operational considerations and likely radioanalytical requirements, decision paths, and default data quality and measurement quality objectives for samples taken after a radiological or nuclear incident, including incidents caused by a terrorist attack. The methods were not developed for compliance monitoring of drinking water samples and should not be construed to have EPA approval for that or for any other regulatory program.

Sample Collection Procedures for Radiochemical Analytes in Environmental Matrices
This document provides instructions regarding the collection of samples from environmental matrices to be analyzed for radiological contaminants using the methods provided in the Selected Analytical Methods for Environmental Remediation and Recovery. The information focuses on Site Characterization, Remediation, and Final Status Survey (site release) in support of EPA's post incident responsibilities outlined in the National Response Plan.

Superfund Risk Assessment Radiation Guidance
This page provides EPA remedial project managers with recommended Agency guidance, models and training resources for conducting risk assessments or developing risk-based cleanup concentrations at radioactively contaminated Superfund sites.

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Characterizing, Modeling, Monitoring and Remediating Radionuclides in the Subsurface: What is Needed?
Paper by NRC authors examines insights from reviews of field investigations involving radionuclide transport in the subsurface illustrate the need to test and confirm conceptual site models (CSM). The assumptions and parameterization inherent to these CSMs which affect radionuclide release and transport should be tested. In particular, the unsaturated zone where many leaks and spills originate needs detailed characterization and confirmatory monitoring. A dose assessment to determine risk-informed compliance with regulatory criteria is used to evaluate the need for and selection of remediation methods. If remediation is warranted, the choice of remediation method(s) is based upon site- and source-characterization, modeling and monitoring data. These data should be used to the test the CSM. Remediation options range from highly-aggressive methods such as pump, treat, monitor, and recycle or release; to more passive methods such as monitored natural attenuation. All successful remediation strategies involve monitoring programs to determine their efficacy. This monitoring is coupled to performance assessment models using performance indicators (PIs). These PIs provide a measurable indication of remediation performance and are derived from analysis of the CSM and monitoring data.

The RASCAL code is a tool used by the Protective Measures Team in the NRC's Operations Center to make independent dose and consequence projections during radiological incidents and emergencies. RASCAL was developed to provide a tool for the rapid assessment of an incident or accident at an NRC-licensed facility and aid decision-making such as whether the public should evacuate or shelter in place. RASCAL evaluates atmospheric releases from nuclear power plants, spent fuel storage pools and casks, fuel cycle facilities, and radioactive material handling facilities.

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Multi-Agency Radiation Survey and Site Investigation Manual (MARSSIM)
MARSSIM provides detailed guidance on how to demonstrate that a site is in compliance with a radiation dose- or risk-based regulation. MARSSIM focuses on the demonstration of compliance during the final status survey following scoping, characterization and any necessary remedial actions.
Upcoming MARSSIM training opportunities can be found at:

The Multi-Agency Radiation Survey and Assessment of Materials and Equipment (MARSAME)
MARSAME is a supplement to MARSSIM, providing information on planning, conducting, evaluating, and documenting radiological disposition surveys for the assessment of materials and equipment. The objective of MARSAME is to provide a multi-agency approach for planning, performing, and assessing disposition surveys of materials and equipment, while at the same time encouraging an effective use of resources.

Multi-Agency Radiological Laboratory Analytical Protocols Manual (MARLAP)
MARLAP provides guidance for the planning, implementation and assessment phases of projects that require laboratory analysis of radionuclides. MARLAP addresses the need for a nationally consistent approach to producing radioanalytical laboratory data that meet a project's or program's requirements. The guidance provided by MARLAP is both scientifically rigorous and flexible enough to be applied to diverse projects and programs. This guidance is intended for project planners, managers and laboratory personnel.

National Analytical Management Program (NAMP)
The Integrated Consortium of Laboratory Networks (ICLN) was established in 2005 to provide a nationwide, integrated system of laboratory networks to assist in responding to acts of terrorism and other events requiring an integrated laboratory response, with a foundation in shared understanding of reliability and accuracy of results and performance comparability among analytical processes employed. A Memorandum of Understanding between 10 federal agencies assigns joint responsibilities between EPA and DOE for the radiological analysis arena. The NAMP fills the need for a central point of contact for EPA to access DOE capabilities in a national emergency and serves as a central point of contact for organizations needing access to highly-specialized analytical capabilities.

NAMP offers web-based lectures on specific radiochemistry topics developed in cooperation with the EPA, other federal agencies, and university partners. Each webinar series presents short (1 ½- to 2-hour) webinars on specific radiochemistry topics presented by renowned university professors and leading scientists in radiochemistry. The selected topics are designed to strengthen the participant in areas of professional engineering practice identified by the nuclear industry or national laboratories, including but not limited to actinide chemistry in the environment and in the nuclear fuel cycle.

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