State of Texas Chapter of the Health Physics Society
TRRC (Texas Radiation Regulatory Conference) 2022 Summary
The State of Texas Chapter HPS hosted the 2022 Texas Radiation Regulatory Conference November 3–4, 2022, at the Doubletree Hotel in Austin, Texas – the first regulatory conference conducted since September 2014. Participating agencies included representatives from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Radiation Control Program, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the Texas Railroad Commission, and the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC). Presentations included various topics of interest to Texas radioactive material licensees and registrants, and focused on regulatory changes, initiatives and summaries/trends of violations. The conference started with a joint plenary introductory session, which introduced all the aforementioned Texas regulatory agencies and their functions and responsibilities as well the USNRC. This was followed by two concurrent sessions in the afternoon: One pertaining to Radioactive Material Licensee Programs and the other dealing with X-Ray/Fluoro/Mammography/Laser Registrant Programs.
In the evening of the first day, a banquet was held where National HPS (Health Physics Society) President Dr. John Cardarelli II gave a thought-provoking talk on the Linear No Threshold (LNT) Theory shortly after dinner. Day two featured a continuation of the concurrent sessions along with “ask the regulator” sessions.
This year’s conference had 310 registrants, just slightly less than the 350 registrants for the 2014 regulatory conference. STC-HPS wishes to thank the numerous volunteers that made this conference a success.
Here are some photos from the conference by Danette Fennesy:
Overview of DSHS Radiation Control Regulatory Enforcement Activities
Attendees of the 2022 Texas Radiation Regulatory Conference (TRRC) were provided with a summary of DSHS regulatory findings, including an overview of agency inspection findings and trends for radioactive materials; x-ray violations and enforcement actions; personnel monitoring, radioactive materials and x-ray incidents and investigations. With a larger number of x-ray registrants, DSHS staff highlighted the top three x-ray violations during inspections as follows:
- Failure to timely perform equipment performance evaluation on radiation producing machines, including all medical, dental, chiropractic, podiatric, and radiation machines used in veterinary medicine.
- Failure to perform digital imaging quality assurance/quality control to ensure the digital image acquisition system is functioning as designed without any image degradation that would result in a missed diagnosis or the need for a repeat x-ray exposure.
- Failure of radiation protocol committee meetings at required frequency and/or with required member composition.
In addition to the violations observed during inspections, the agency regularly takes disciplinary actions in response to violation of laws and rules, which vary depending on the severity of the offence, history of previous violations, efforts made to correct the violations, the potential harm to the victims, likelihood of repeat violations and other matters related to the specific case. According to the DSHS website on Disciplinary Actions and Escalated Enforcement https://www.dshs.texas.gov/radiation/enforcement.aspx, a total of 692 disciplinary and escalated enforcement actions were taken between November 10, 2021, to November 2, 2022, to protect and promote the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Texas (Figure 1). The majority of the actions taken (672) were disciplinary in nature with one Emergency Order involving mammography services issued January 2019 and rescinded in February 2022. A total of 19 impound orders were also issued within that same time period.
A breakdown of the Impound Orders shows that one action involved an unregistered x-ray unit, two actions involved a radioactive material license and 16 involved x-ray registrations (Figure 2). Among the 672 disciplinary actions, 26 involved mammography registrations, 66 laser registrations, 39 radioactive material licenses and 541 x-ray registrations (Figure 3).
The regulatory conference not only highlighted the actions taken by the agency, but also provided an opportunity for licensees and registrants to learn how the agency can be of assistance to ensure inspection violations, disciplinary actions and escalated enforcement actions are prevented.
ICRP 2021+1 Summary
By: Scott M. “Nick” Nichelson, CIH, CHP, CSP Editor, The Billet
The ICRP (International Commission on Radiation Protection) held its 6th International Symposium on the System of Radiological Protection in Vancouver, BC Canada, on November 7–10, 2022. The symposium was called 2021+1, because it was originally scheduled for the fall of 2021, but then postponed for a year due to COVID. The event was attended by 490 radiation protection professionals from 47 different countries around the world, with the majority of the attendees residing in the US, UK, Canada, Japan, South Korea, France and Germany.
The symposium consisted of four, 90-minute themed sessions per day of approximately six to eight talks on various theme subjects. I personally liked the format and the compressed 10-minute talks, with time at the end of the sessions for questions. Examples of the themes were: Review and Refinement of the Fundamentals of Radiological Protection, Emerging Domains of Radiological Protection, Involving Young Professionals, Ethical Considerations, Innovations in Dosimetry, Radiological Protection and the Public, among others. Another innovation that I experienced was the digital poster session; small copies of posters were posted along with QR codes for more details.
There was an informal opening reception the evening before the symposium started and a gala reception, a more formal event held at the Vancouver Convention Centre, on the evening of the third day. The gala recognized numerous members who worked on the various committees of ICRP. It also involved some unique entertainment provided by White Thunder Dance Theatre, consisting of Native American dances.
For more information about ICRP 2021+1 go to: https://icrp2021.com/.
The 7th International Symposium on the System of Radiological Protection is scheduled for November 6–9, 2023, in Tokyo, Japan. More Info can be found at: https://www.icrp.org/page.asp?id=579.
Photos from ICRP 2021+1 (courtesy of Jon Pesochin, from Jon Benjamin Photography)