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ORAU's Eric Abelquist authors second edition of Decommissioning Health Physics: A Handbook for MARSSIM Users

Revised handbook provides experienced guidance on technical issues of radiation decommissioning projects

Oct. 7, 2014

Eric Abelquist

Oak Ridge, Tenn.—As one of the original authors of the Multi-Agency Radiation Survey and Site Investigation Manual (MARSSIM), ORAU Executive Vice President Eric Abelquist, Ph.D., released updated information on the cleanup of radioactive sites in the second edition of a new handbook geared toward those involved in characterization or remediation efforts.

Extensively revised and updated, the second edition of Decommissioning Health Physics: A Handbook for MARSSIM Users covers release criteria, survey instrumentation, detection sensitivity, statistics, dose modeling and survey procedures. The handbook is published by CRC Press, a division of the Taylor & Francis Group.

Abelquist served as a member of the multi-agency committee representing the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission who produced the MARSSIM to provide guidance to federal agencies, states, site owners, contractors and other private entities on how to demonstrate that their site is in compliance with a radiation dose or risk-based regulation, otherwise known as a release criterion.

Some specific revisions to the second edition include a new chapter on hot spot assessment that includes a new approach to establishing hot spot limits and a new chapter on the clearance or release of materials, highlighting aspects of the MARSAME manual, which is a supplement to the MARSSIM.

Additional updates include a revised chapter on characterization survey design, modified regulations and guidance throughout the book, updated survey instrumentation used to support decontamination and decommissioning surveys, a revised statistics chapter and more case studies/examples throughout the handbook.

Health Physics News published a May 2014 book review of this handbook by Andrew Karam, Ph.D., who wrote, “This book is the most complete treatment of the topic I’ve seen—including chapters on virtually every aspect of MARSSIM as well as problems to solve and worked-out solutions for many of them in the back… The second edition is not only updated to reflect the latest and greatest guidance, it also includes some new material… If you are actively involved in characterizing or remediating sites, I dare say it’s essential. But even if you’re not engaged in this sort of work, it’s worth adding to your library…”

In Abelquist’s current position with ORAU, he helps oversee organizational best practices, program and business unit leadership and community relations. He also works directly with the company’s president and CEO to formulate organizational strategic objectives, manage key strategic initiatives and advise on scientific and engineering issues that advance research and education opportunities. Abelquist previously was the program director for Independent Environmental Assessment and Verification at ORAU, where he contributed to the development and implementation of the MARSSIM.

Abelquist earned his doctorate degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Tennessee, a master’s degree in radiological sciences and protection and a bachelor’s degree in radiological health physics from the University of Lowell, in Mass. A certified health physicist, he served on the board of the Health Physics Society and has authored numerous health physics publications.

Learn more about the second edition of Decommissioning Health Physics: A Handbook for MARSSIM Users.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

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