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ORAU is a national leader in decommissioning health physics, supporting nuclear decommissioning and independent verification of cleanup for the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Our staff of highly-skilled health physicists and radiation safety experts have performed environmental assessments for federal and state agencies for more than 35 years, greatly enhancing public trust and instilling confidence in the decontamination and decommissioning of contaminated sites.

Our research focus in this area welcomes collaborators from the wider health physics and decommissioning community who wish to partner with ORAU researchers for data analysis and other research related to radiological and chemical site cleanup. Specifically, we seek to engage in collaborative research projects that contribute to advancements in radiological characterization and independent verification of environmental cleanup. Research facilities include a radiochemistry laboratory where environmental samples collected at survey sites are independently analyzed for radiological and chemical contaminants.

Research focus areas

  • Radiation detection/instrumentation supporting MARSSIM survey techniques
  • Environmental survey applications of subsurface soil
  • Environmental modeling
  • Assessment and improvement of radiochemistry techniques
  • Field detection of non-radiological contaminants (chemicals), including expanding technical support to contaminants such as PCBs, mercury, and lead
  • Integration of advanced instrumentation in final radiation surveys
  • Statistics related to environmental contaminant distributions, including Bayesian approach for evaluating the acceptability of radiological and non-radiological hot spots
  • Integrating surveying and sampling methodologies to improve characterization and independent verification surveys (high-resolution spatial mapping, and conventional sampling)
  • Health physicist conducting survey on decommissioning project

    Decontamination & Decommissioning

    Our experts customize decontamination and decommissioning surveys to achieve high-quality, defensible data and ensure efficient and cost-effective cleanup. With high quality standards, ORAU survey results instill trust and confidence that public health and safety is protected following your site’s cleanup.

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  • Two workers conducting radiological and chemical characterization test

    Radiological & Chemical Characterization

    ORAU independently develops and implements radiological and chemical characterization survey plans for state and government agencies, as well as private sector organizations. The plans developed ensure the collection and assessment of the appropriate data quantity and quality necessary for confident decision making and controlling project scope uncertainties.

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    Nondestructive Assay

    Our exeperienced health physicists and survey technicians use nondestructive assay (NDA) techniques and portable instrumentation to provide on-site analyses without physically altering contaminated equipment or compromising site safety.

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  • Two health physicists conducting radiological contamination assessment

    Final Status Survey & Property Release

    ORAU provides final status survey services designed to satisfy site-specific data quality and data assessment objectives. Radiological surface scans, measurement and sample data collected by our health physics experts are used to confirm that all release criteria conditions have been satisfied, and that potential risks from residual contamination and small areas of elevated activity are below the derived concentration guideline levels.

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  • Worker conducting independent verification test of radiological site

    Independent Environmental Verification

    In our efforts to support customers throughout the decontamination and decommissioning process, ORAU's independent team of health physicists provides assurance that remediation was effective and that all final status survey requirements have been accomplished and documented. The resulting data from verification helps to clearly demonstrate that all property release guidelines and criteria have been satisfied.

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  • Health physicist conducting radiation dose assessment

    Radiological Dose & Risk Assessments

    When the safety of your workers and the public is at stake, accurate and reliable health physics expertise is necessary to demonstrate compliance with federal and/or state regulations and guidelines regarding radiological exposure. ORAU’s highly-qualified health physicists perform site-specific radiation dose and risk assessments, using methods consistent with industry standards, to meet these regulatory requirements.

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  • Weather station in desert location

    Air Quality, Weather, & Climate Research

    As a part of NOAA’s Air Resources Laboratory, ORAU’s atmospheric scientists at ATDD provide engineering expertise on the development and deployment of instrumentation and data analysis for short intensive campaigns to multi-decade, nationwide climate monitoring stations and systems. 

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Our Experts

David King

David King

Expertise: More than 20 years of experience in human health risk/dose assessment, environmental studies and project management

  • Serves as project manager and technical lead for the assessment of various environmental and non-environmental media, derivation of site-specific cleanup goals, MARSSIM training and technical consultation covering a range of health physics related topics.
  • Member: Health Physics Society and Project Management Institute
  • Co-author, 2015. “Lessons Learned on the Presentation of Scan Data,” Operational Radiation Safety, Vol. 109, No. 5, S212-S218.
  • Co-author, 2013. “An Approach for Addressing Hard-to-Detect Hot Spots,” Operational Radiation Safety, Vol. 104, No. 5, S52-S59.
  • Co-author, 2012. “Minimum Detectable Concentration as a Function of Gamma Walkover Survey Technique,” Operational Radiation Safety, Vol. 102, No. 2, S22-S27.

Certifications: Certified Health Physicist, Project Management Professional

Tim Vitkus

Tim Vitkus

Expertise: Management of complex site investigations, characterizations and evaluations

  • HPS Ask-the-Expert topic editor, decommissioning and radioactive waste disposal
  • Member and contributor, MARSSIM Rev. 2 Ad Hoc Work Group
  • Committee chair, ANSI N13.49 Performance and Documentation of Radiological Surveys
  • Member, Independent Review Team, DOE’s Separation Process Research Unit decommissioning project

Certification: Certified Health Physicist

Contact us

If you have questions about ORAU's Research partnerships, contact 865.576.1717 or .