A joint ANS/HPS (American Nuclear Society/Health Physics Society) meeting titled “Applicability of Radiation Protection Models to Low Dose Protection Standards” (hashtag #LowDose2018) will kick-off tonight.
This much anticipated event has attracted 200 medical, radiation and nuclear energy experts to the booming metropolis of Pasco, WA. The site is appropriate, Pasco is one of the three municipalities known as Tri-Cities located in close proximity to the Hanford Site in eastern Washington.
That is the site of a massive radioactive material clean-up effort that has an annual budget of approximately $3 billion. A substantial portion of that money is consumed in attempting to reduce general area radiation doses to the LNT-based regulatory standard of less than 0.15 mSv/year.
Unlike many less focused conferences, the program will proceed along a single track. This ensures that all attendees have the opportunity to hear every talk, interact with every speaker and make their own informed judgements on the esoteric, but impactful topics discussed.
The organizers of this meeting began working on the event and the agenda approximately four years ago. Last night, I spoke with Alan Waltar, a past president of the ANS and the leader of the dedicated group of planners. He shared his excitement about the worldwide interest in the meeting and his confidence that it will provide valuable information to support important decisions.
I also talked with Dr. Jerry Cuttler, a radiation scientist and engineer who began focusing his research efforts on the health effects of low dose radiation in 1995. He was imspired by a talk by Dr. Myron Pollycove at the ANS meeting held in San Francisco that year. Dr. Cuttler will be making a case for radiation hormesis (beneficial effects of a range of low doses) during a panel discussion on models of dose response relationships.
He will also be presenting a poster describing his work as a lead researcher for an early stage trial using radiation to treat Alzheimer’s. The three patient trial is a next step in a phased research effort to more fully test the excellent indications from a case report using radiation in the form of conventional brain CT scans to provide relief of symptoms for Alzheimer’s sufferers.
Aside: I have an intense, personal interest in learning more about this treatment modality and in working to make it more readily available as soon as possible. AD is a devastating disease that ruins quality of life for far too many people. End Aside.
Along with Meredith Angwin from Yes Vermont Yankee, I will be covering the conference and providing daily summaries for attendees that will also be published here for broader, worldwide access. We’ll also be doing our best to provide highlights via Twitter as they happen.
David Schumacher, the director of The New Fire, will be filming the historical event.
Please follow along, engage in the comment threads and ask questions in rea time so we can seek comments from the experts while they are available.