Ultra-Low-Level Radiation Effects Summit

Professor David Brenner, Columbia University;
Dr. Leo S. Gómez, ORION International Technologies;
Professor Emeritus Otto Raabe, University of California, Davis

The Ultra-Low-Level Radiation Effects Summit was held in Carlsbad, NM, in January 2006. The Summit was organized by ORION International Technologies, Inc. (ORION), and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). The Summit brought together internationally renowned low-dose radiobiology experts to address concerns relating to the biological effects of ionizing radiation at low doses and low dose rates. Co-chairs for the Summit were Leo Gomez, Ph.D., ORION; David Brenner, Ph.D., Columbia University; and Otto Raabe, Ph.D., University of California, Davis.

The Summit addressed the question of the need for a low-dose radiobiology research facility to study the biological effects of radiation in a “subnormal” radiation background that is present at the WIPP in Carlsbad, New Mexico. The consensus of the group was overwhelmingly in favor of this facility in order to establish a scientific basis for radiation protection standards at low doses. One of the principal justifications for such a facility is the economic impact of stringent radiation protection standards that are now based on the hypothetical linear, no-threshold (LNT) dose-response model of radiation-induced cancer which has not been tested at ultra-low radiation levels.

The LNT model, upon which stringent clean-up standards for ionizing radiation are based, was developed for high doses and high dose rates. Without an ultra-low-level laboratory it has not been possible to adequately test the validity of the LNT at the low levels of radiation at which it is being applied. Information leading to the less stringent radiation protection environmental standards could result in a saving of as much as $200 billion dollars for clean-up of existing sites in the United States alone. With the renewed interest in nuclear energy, the impact of unnecessarily stringent radiation standards will have a major impact on the growth of this industry. The Summit findings included a very strong recommendation from the international group of attendees for the establishment of an Ultra-Low-Level Radiation Laboratory at WIPP.

More Summit information:
Please note that due to the size of the following documents, it may take an extended period of time to download this information.

Ultra-Low-Level Radiation Effects Summit Report

Ultra-Low-Level Radiation Effects Summit Report Summary

Ultra-Low-Level Radiation Effects Summit Congressional Brief

For more information about this project, please contact Dr. Leo Gomez at lgomez@orionint.com


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