— Volume VI No. 1: January 2010 —

Optimization Approaches to Decision Making on Long-Term Cleanup and Site Restoration Following a Nuclear or Radiological Terrorism Incident


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S. Y. Chen

Dr. S.Y. Chen is a senior environmental systems engineer and the strategic area manager in risk and waste management for the Environmental Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, Illinois. Dr. Chen’s areas of specialty include radiation protection, human and environmental risk, and accident analysis, with particular expertise in environmental cleanup, radioactive material and waste disposition and transportation. Dr. Chen is currently a member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board/Radiation Advisory Committee. He is also a council member and serves on the board of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP). He is currently scientific vice president of NCRP on environmental radiation and waste issues. Dr. Chen is also a certified health physicist sanctioned by the American Board of Health Physics. At Argonne, he developed an integrated risk assessment program that addresses the broad-based issues to support federal risk-based policies. Dr. Chen may be contacted at sychen@anl.gov.

Thomas Tenforde

Thomas S. Tenforde received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, with a major in physics, and his PhD in biophysics from the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to being elected president of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements in 2002, he was a fellow at Battelle’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (1988-2002) and a senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (1969-1988). His areas of research include non-ionizing radiation (for which he received the D’Arsonval Medal in 2001) and the production of medical radionuclides. He has received awards from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Federal Laboratory Consortium for the development of yttrium-90 as a therapeutic medical isotope. He is a member of numerous scientific societies, including the Radiation Research Society, the Bioelectromagnetics Society (President 1987-1988), and the Society of Nuclear Medicine. Dr. Tenforde is the author or coauthor of 200 articles, book chapters, and technical reports. He may be contacted at tenforde@ncrponline.org.

Emergency planning activities have historically focused on the early phase of an event, especially issues associated with triaging in the initial response such as rescuing survivors. The most difficult task following an event may be the eventual recovery of society’s most affected areas; the government must spend a large amount of money and effort to cope with the long-term site cleanup and restoration issues. In particular, the underlying principles and implementation guidelines for conducting the recovery effort have not been well developed. Following publication of the National Response Framework by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, some major responsibilities have been identified and defined. For example, DHS recently published Protective Action Guides as planning guidance for health protection and recovery following incidents involving Radiological Dispersal Devices or Improvised Nuclear Devices. For the first time, the guidance addresses long-term recovery issues associated with radiological events, for which an “optimization” process is prescribed to address the multifaceted, long-term recovery effort. This article analyzes this particular subject more deeply and evaluates the critical need for further development.

Read full article.

Chen, S. Y., and Thomas Tenforde. “Optimization Approaches to Decision Making on Long-Term Cleanup and Site Restoration Following a Nuclear or Radiological Terrorism Incident.” Homeland Security Affairs 6, issue 1 (January 2010)