Program - Single Session

[Back to Session Listing]

U.S. Transuranium and Uranium Registries Research

Tuesday 02/07/2023

Room: Memorial Union 49

08:00 - 12:00

Chair(s): Sergei Tolmachev

TAM-A.1  08:00  55 Years of the United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries: History, Contributions, and Impact on Radiation Protection. Tolmachev Sergei Y*, US Transuranium and Uranium Registries, Washington State University

The United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries (USTUR) and the associated National Human Radiobiology Tissue Repository (NHRTR) is a federal-grant program funded by U.S. Department of Energy and operated by College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Washington State University in Richland, Washington, USA. The Registries was established in 1968 to study the biokinetics and internal dosimetry of actinides - such as uranium, thorium, plutonium, and americium - in occupationally exposed individuals who volunteer their bodies for scientific use posthumously (partially or entirely). A portion of the tissues received by the USTUR is radiochemically analyzed for actinides. The remaining portion is retained at the NHRTR in frozen or formalin-fixed state for future studies. Currently, the USTUR/NHRTR holds over 10,000 frozen and formalin-fixed tissue samples from 47 whole- and 118 partial-body USTUR donors, and about 10,000 acid-digested tissue samples (acid solutions). The NHRTR tissue materials are available to qualified scientists for their research upon request. The USTUR has published over 300 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, and has contributed to five National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) reports, one NCRP commentary, and eight International Commission on Radiological Protection publications. Since 1992, 20 graduate students, including eight PhDs, have used USTUR data to complete the research requirements of their studies.

TAM-A.2  08:25  Unique Resources Available through Collaboration with the USTUR. Martinez Nicole E*, Clemson University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

The United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries (USTUR) is a long-standing research program in the United States that is currently operated by Washington State University and funded by the Department of Energy. USTUR facilities are uniquely and conveniently situated off campus in Richland, Washington, with independent laboratory, administration, and archival spaces. The focus of USTUR is actinide elements in the human body, and related research ranges from radiochemical methodology to biokinetics and dosimetry. Detailed records are maintained at USTUR for registrants dating back to the 1950s. Additionally, USTUR houses the National Human Radiobiology Tissue Repository (NHRTR) which boasts an incredible range of historical samples from USTUR registrants, radium workers, and a multi-decade study conducted at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Data produced and/or archived by the USTUR is used nationally and internationally by both individual researchers and scientific organizations. The unique resources at USTUR are available to researchers interested in related topics, often at little to no cost to them. This presentation discusses the resources available at USTUR with a few specific examples of recent collaborations.

TAM-A.3  08:50  Applicability of a Unique USTUR Dataset: Female Nuclear Worker Treated with Chelation Therapy after Plutonium Exposure via Inhalation. Dumit Sara*, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Avtandilashvili Maia, Washington State University, U.S. Transuranium and Uranium Registries; McComish Stacey, Washington State University, U.S. Transuranium and Uranium Registries; Tolmachev Sergei Y, Washington State University, U.S. Transuranium and Uranium Registries

The purpose of this presentation is to describe and explore the applicability of a unique dataset of radiobioassay measurement results from a female former nuclear worker available at the United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries (USTUR). This individual was exposed to plutonium-americium mixture via acute inhalation and was medically treated with 1 gram of Ca-DTPA on day 0, 5 and 14 post-intake. A total of 13 fecal and 24 urine samples was collected and analyzed for plutonium and americium from day 0 until day 20. She was followed-up for 14 years for plutonium urine bioassay measurements. The uniqueness of this dataset is due to: (i) early and long-term data from a female with plutonium intake; (ii) bioassay data following chelation therapy for a female; (iii) fecal measurement results. This dataset can be used in chelation modeling studies, biokinetic modeling development, and internal dosimetry refinement. We intend to publish the radiobioassay measurements in the scientific literature.

TAM-A.4  09:15  Uncertainty in plutonium internal dose estimates for Rocky Flats workers. Šefl Martin*, Washington State University, U.S. Transuranium and Uranium Registries; Zhou Joey Y, U.S. Department of Energy; Avtandilashvili Maia, Washington State University, U.S. Transuranium and Uranium Registries; Tolmachev Sergei Y, Washington State University, U.S. Transuranium and Uranium Registries

Radiation epidemiology typically relies on dose predictions based on urine bioassay measurements and other worksite monitoring data. At the United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries (USTUR), bioassay data and post-mortem tissue radiochemical analyses are used for actinide biokinetic modeling and estimation of organ doses. To estimate uncertainties in internal radiation dose from plutonium, a group of 23 former nuclear workers from Rocky Flats Plant was selected from the USTUR health physics database. Selected workers had at least 5 positive urine samples (more than contemporary minimum detectable activity) and did not undergo a chelation treatment. The plutonium activity concentrations in the skeleton and liver were between 0.39 and 30.8 Bq kg^-1, and 1.04 and 354 Bq kg^-1, respectively. The plutonium concentration in the respiratory tract ranged from 4.43 to 7,230 Bq kg^-1. Uncertainty was calculated as a bias between doses estimated using urine and post-mortem tissue analysis results.

TAM-A.5  09:40  Break.    

TAM-A.6  09:55  Taurus Advanced – Internal Dosimetry Software for Research. Riddell Anthony E*, UKHSA; Smith Tracy J, UKHSA; Gregoratto Demetrio, UKHSA; Hyatt Thomas, UKHSA

In order to meet a requirement for software to perform internal dose assessments using the methodology described in the International Commission on Radiological Protection’s ‘Occupational Intakes of Radionuclides’ series of publications, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has developed a new code called ‘Taurus’. Taurus is the successor to UKHSA’s earlier IMBA (Integrated Modules for Bioassay Analysis) code. The initial release ‘Base’, version of Taurus has been available for more than a year and is routinely used for operational protection and statutory dose assessment purposes within the UK. However, development has started on an ‘Advanced’ version of Taurus, which can be used to perform internal dose calculations for research purposes, while this work is not yet complete, it has already permitted Taurus to be used to meet some current research needs. Examples of this Include: The calculation of annual absorbed doses to organs and provision for intakes involving mixtures of isotopic and chemical forms, for an epidemiological study of uranium workers from the UK, Europe, USA and Canada; The implementation of the NCRP ‘Wound’ model within the code and the capability to use wound content, in addition to other in vivo and excreta measurements, as a bioassay quantity within data ‘fitting’, which will be used for collaborative research work with the United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries. Both existing and proposed future capabilities of Taurus are discussed, along with some examples of their application in the field of internal dosimetry research.

TAM-A.7  10:20  ICP-MS Measurement of Plutonium, Uranium, and Americium in the hair and nail samples of former nuclear workers . Arbova , University of Missouri; Tolmachev , Washington State University, USTUR; Brockman *, University of Missouri

The hair and nail samples from former nuclear workers with known history of exposure to actinides and donate their tissues to the United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries were used for this study. Using inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), the 239Pu, 238U, and 241Am concentrations and 239Pu/240Pu, 235U/238U, and 236U/238U atom ratios were measured. The concentration of 239Pu ranged from 0.22–15.8 ng/kg. The 240Pu/239Pu atom ratios ranged from 0.029 to 0.075. The concentration of uranium was between 1.84 µg/kg and 29.5 µg/kg and the 235U/238U ratios ranged from 4.8×10-3 to 7.6×10-3. Elevated 236U/238U atom ratios were measured in two cases and ranged from 5.0×10-6 – 2.4×10-5 indicating exposure to reprocessed uranium. The concentration of 241Am was measured in four cases and ranged from 0.02–0.21 ng/kg. This work demonstrates that ICP-MS is capable of measuring ultra-trace levels of actinides in hair and nail samples. In this group of occupationally exposed workers hair and nail samples collected post-mortem contained measurable actinide levels decades after the intake.

TAM-A.8  10:45  Hematology Profile of a Radium Dial Painter Cohort. Goans Ronald E*, MJW Corporation and REAC/TS; Toohey Richard E, REAC/TS; Iddins Carol J, REAC/TS; Mumma Mike, International Epidemiology Institute; McComish Stacey L, USTUR; Tolmachev Sergei, USTUR

In a collaborative effort with the US Transuranium and Uranium Registry (USTUR) and the Million Person Study, it has been possible to examine medical records and peripheral blood slides from a cohort of 166 former radium dial painters (RDP). The RDP are a well-described group of predominantly young women who incidentally ingested 226Ra and 228Ra as they painted luminescent watch dials in the first half of the twentieth century. Early papers describing disease processes in RDP often described an acute anemia. The purpose of this study was to evaluate any residual anemia in RDP survivors. The painters and ancillary personnel (mean age 64.4 y) were subsequently evaluated at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and at MIT in the 1960s-1970s. Our cohort contained 107 dial painters, 22 dial handlers, 19 radium chemists, and other personnel dealing with radium. Members of the cohort had ingestion of 226Ra and 228Ra at an early age (average age 20.6 ± 5.4 y; range 13-40 y) during the years 1914-1955. Exposure duration ranged from 1-1,820 weeks with red marrow dose 1.5-6,750 mGy. A subset of the RDP cohort has been derived: 7 patients with previously treated osteosarcoma (mean red marrow alpha dose 5.4 ± 1.2 Gy), 5 patients with > 1 Gy alpha dose to red marrow but who did not have osteosarcoma (mean marrow dose 2.8 ± 0.5 Gy), and a third set of 35 patients with zero dose as determined by whole body counting. Preliminary hematology findings from the complete blood count (CBC) are consistent with microcytic anemia and chronic inflammation in the osteosarcoma group. These initial conclusions suggest that an analysis of the entire sarcoma cohort would be valuable.

TAM-A.9  11:10  Is the autopsy report a "gold standard"? Liu Xirui, USTUR; McComish Stacey L*, USTUR; Zhou Joey Y, DOE; Tolmachev Sergei Y, USTUR

Compared to death certificates, autopsy reports generally provide a more detailed picture of the diseases present at the time of death, and they are frequently used as a “gold standard” to check the accuracy of death certificates. However, during our study of misclassification errors that occur on death certificates, we realized that autopsy reports are still an imperfect source of information. Among 312 individuals for which full autopsy reports were available, only 256 (82%) of them provided a summary of findings. The remaining 56 (18%) provided a list of findings and diagnoses without a summative conclusion about causes of death. This may be due to the differences in the pathologists’ personal reporting styles. It does appear that certain pathologists tended to provide summaries on their autopsy reports, while others provided only a list of diagnoses and pathological observations. Additionally, autopsy reports that included summaries typically did not lay out the progression from the underlying cause of death to the immediate cause of death using language that directly translated to the structure on the death certificates. This may render the process of inferring the underlying cause of death rather subjective. It was also found that when the pathologists had access to clinical information, the underlying cause of death on the death certificates was more likely to match the autopsy reports. Even when the certifying physicians did not use the autopsy findings to complete the death certificates, mention of what happened prior to death on the autopsy reports still improved the match rate by 15.8%. This highlights the importance of providing pathologists with relevant clinical information prior to the autopsy.

TAM-A.10  11:35  USTUR - A Golden Nugget Among DOE Resources. Boice John D*, NCRP. Vanderbilt University; Dauer Lawrence T, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

For over 50 years, the USTUR has made substantial contributions to radiation understanding, radiation dosimetry, radiation protection, and radiation epidemiology. It is a shining light among DOE Resources that burns brightly but often it seems under a bushel, i.e., the contributions are often overlooked or underappreciated. The USTUR focus has been on intakes of radionuclides such as plutonium, uranium and radium, and the autopsy program has provided essential dosimetric information used extensively by ICRP in the development of biokinetic and anatomical models for radiation protection. Most recently the USTUR has contributed to enhancing the models for explicit brain dose following the uptake of alpha-particle emitting radionuclides, which are now being applied to epidemiologic studies in the Million Person Study (MPS) coordinated by NCRP and Vanderbilt University (NCRP Commentary 31, 2022).* A mission statement for USTUR includes assisting epidemiology and this goal has continually been achieved: from radium dial paints to workers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory! The exciting (to the radiation researcher) behind the scenes contributions also include active and essential collaborations on other worker studies such as Rocky Flats and Hanford, as well as the evaluation of radiation-induced biomarkers, all of which allow the epidemiologist to accurately incorporate organ doses from intakes of radionuclides and conduct dose-response analyses. Such evaluations are challenging and not often done because the detailed organ-specific data are not available. The USTUR is an essential component of the MPS, a truly golden nugget in the DOE system, that adds substantial value to our understanding of the late health effects following intakes of radioactive elements. *Financial support for the MPS was provided by the US Department of Energy (Grants DE-AU0000042 and DE-AU0000046) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Grant 80NSSC17M0016).

[Back to Session Listing]