Ron Thurlow Joins Our Team

RSCS is pleased to welcome Ron Thurlow to our growing management team as our Director of Operations! Mr. Thurlow has an M.S. and B.S. in Radiological Sciences and Protection and is certified by the American Board of Health Physics.  Mr. Thurlow has served as the President of the Health Physics Society Power Reactor Section and has been a contributor and principle investigator for various EPRI Guideline documents. 

Mr. Thurlow has 36 years of experience and has held various technical and leadership positions in nuclear power facilities, including Radiation Protection Manager, Fleet Radiation Protection and Chemistry Manager, Maintenance Director, and Nuclear Oversight Manager. Mr. Thurlow also served as an officer in the Unites States Air Force where he was the officer in charge of word-wide radiological response and consultation for the Air Force. Mr., Thurlow’s specialties include operational radiation protection, internal and external dosimetry assessments, leadership development, emergency response, industrial safety and human performance. 

We are proud to have Ron Thurlow join our team and look forward to his contributions to our corporate operations.

RSCS Exhibiting at HPS Annual Meeting in Orlando FL

RSCS is exhibiting this week at the 2019 Annual Health Physics Society Meeting in Orlando Florida.  We always look forward to this meeting as it provides an opportunity to network with our long-term friends and colleagues in the Health Physics community, and catch up with our fellow alumni from UMass Lowell.  If attending this meeting, please come by to say hello at booth #415.

SCM V Demonstration at the NSWC Industry Day in West Bethesda MD, June 11, 2019

SCM-V Surface Contamination MonitorRSCS is showcasing our latest version of the Surface Contamination Monitor, the SCM V, at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Industry Day held in West Bethesda, MD on June 11, 2019. 

The SCM V builds upon the high-performance specifications of earlier versions of this model that have been employed successfully for large area surveys at DOE, DOD and commercial sites since 2000.  Based upon a positional sensitive proportional counting  (PSPC) detector system that was introduced in the 1990s by Shonka Research Associates, this contamination monitor provides a highly efficient and accurate surveying system to locate and map the distribution of contamination on surfaces. 

The SCM’s PSPC detector segments a large area detector into smaller units by measuring the time it takes for a pulse to travel along a biased anode wire.  Based on the time differential between the travel time to each counter, the exact location an event occurred along the anode can be determined.  The hardware provides for regions of interest that effectively segment the entire anode wire into 5 cm detectors.  This detector is coupled to a motorized cart that maintains a fixed geometry from the surface and controls the speed forward to provide a consistent speed of travel forward in 5 cm increments.  The data is continually fed to a processing unit that bins the events detected into 25 cm2 pixels.  The benefits of this design are that the overall background is reduced to that detected by small detectors while the efficiency is increased to that provided by the larger detection area along the entire length of the anode wire.  The resulting system collects 400 measurements per square meter while operating in dynamic mode.

Events detected are continuously logged and then combined into survey reports that graphically display the distribution of counts detected along the travel path.  This position correlated data can be used to isolate areas that are below or above an action level.  Secondary surveys with the SCM in static mode can be performed to obtain highly accurate cumulative frequency distribution plots.

This latest version of the SCM provides several improvements over prior models, including the use of lightweight materials that allow for easy shipment of the system.  The detector height can be adjusted to manage surface irregularities or movement to a different location.  In addition, the system now employs two independent motors that are allow for cornering and reverse movement of the cart.  The detector design has also been modified to allow for easy replacement of mylar windows in the field.  These hardware improvements were coupled to several electronic enhancements, including the use of field programmable gate array chip sets that allow for improved data acquisition for programming and processing, the integration of a robot operating system that provides improved message passing between processors, and a wider signal voltage window that collects more signal pulses and improves the overall efficiency of the system by up to 70% over the previous models.

The SCM V will greatly benefit applications that require the survey of large areas, such as decommissioning sites.  Please contact us for additional information on the SCM V and its applicability to your survey projects.

RSCS Establishes Endowment Fund for University Of Massachusetts Lowell Radiological Sciences Program

For Immediate Release 

Radiation Safety & Control Services, Inc. (RSCS), headquartered in Seabrook NH, established an Endowment Fund for the University of Massachusetts Lowell and made the first $10,000 installment payment towards this perpetual scholarship fund for undergraduate and graduate students within the Radiological Sciences Program. The establishment of this fund continues a legacy of support by RSCS, whose Principles, Jay Tarzia, Fred Straccia, and Eric Darois, are alumni of the Health Physics Programs of the University.  In the past 10 years, RSCS has supported the University through equipment donations and internship programs, some of which have led to long-term employment for interns with the company.  In addition, RSCS supported thesis research projects for two UML Masters-degree candidates. The first of these was in the development of an instant-developing radon-in-air detector and the second was the development of a radiation detector for identifying a nuclear criticality event. For both of these projects, RSCS provided the students with intellectual and financial support which led to the completion of their degrees and successful entry into the workforce.

“Thanks to the generous support of RSCS, UMass Lowell will establish a new endowed scholarship for students in the Radiological Sciences Program of the Department of Physics and Applied Physics.  UML is nationally-recognized for its programs in radiological sciences, and this scholarship will allow us to attract and support talented students.  We are fortunate to have alumni like Jay, Fred, and Eric who understand the critical importance of developing talent and who are taking a leadership role in building the pipeline of future professionals in the field.” 

-Noureddine Melikechi, Dean of the Kennedy College of Sciences at UML

In the past year, RSCS has also partnered with the University to provide a nuclear industry AP3 approved training facility for radiation technicians to undergo evaluations of their competencies for standard nuclear power outage tasks.  This collaboration streamlines the process by which rad techs obtain their qualifications to work at nuclear utilities, relieving the burden of site-specific training and allowing better utilization of this over taxed work force.  This is another example of RSCS committing to develop the skills and qualifications of this labor pool that the industry desperately needs.

“We are proud to support UMass Lowell’s Radiological Sciences Program, as we rely upon this program for the next generation of Health Physicists who are in great demand.  As the average age in the nuclear work force exceeds 50 years old, we need to be cultivating these young professionals to ensure the viability of nuclear power as a clean energy source.  In addition, health physicists and radiation technicians are needed to support the variety of operational and safety needs of all licensees of radioactive material in industrial, research and medical facilities.”

-Eric Darois, Executive Director, RSCS

For more information, contact Jennifer Collins at [email protected]

Radiation Safety & Control Services, Inc. * 93 Ledge Road, Seabrook NH 03874 * 603-778-2871

 

RSCS Attains EPRI AP3 Certification

Meeting the demand for well-trained RP technicians to provide support during nuclear utility outages has become more challenging as this work force has been steadily decreasing.  This scarcity has driven up the cost of staffing outages for nuclear utilities that are already at a disadvantage in our current economically competitive energy marketplace.  Professionals at EPRI have been investigating ways to reduce the cost of mobilizing the nuclear industries’ temporary mobile workforce of RP technicians, and identified site specific training for industry-wide maintenance tasks as an area that could be improved upon.  To streamline the training requirements for outage RP technicians, EPRI developed a standardized system for assessing their training and qualifications through the Standardized Task Evaluation (STE) Program.   

EPRI developed a series of evaluations that have been vetted by industry groups, such as the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators (INPO), that can be used for standardized testing of RP technicians.  A set of guidelines for administering performance evaluations, the Administrative Protocol for Portable Practicals (AP3), was developed to ensure the consistent appraisal of RP technician’s skills.  This standardized approach was developed to give nuclear utilities confidence in the skill sets of their temporary work force, and to reduce the cost of redundant site training for routine maintenance tasks that are common to all utilities.

As a provider of RP technicians, RSCS engaged EPRI to participate in administering task evaluations as an AP3 provider. On October 17, 2018, as the final step in a process that has taken nearly one year to complete, a quorum of EPRI members made up of nuclear operators, international unions, and nuclear supply and services vendors voted unanimously to assign RSCS AP3 Certification.  This certification recognizes RSCS as one of a very limited group of companies who have demonstrated the appropriate administrative controls, processes and expertise to implement STEs.  The AP3 process included an “on-site” assessment by a team of five EPRI and industry observers, who attended a STE demonstration conducted by RSCS at the University of Massachusetts Lowell reactor site, using our SIM-Teq training simulator equipment. The execution of the evaluation with the SIM-Teq equipment was noted by observers as a positive resource in support of this program.  The successful completion of STEs, which may only be conducted by AP3 Certified organizations, allows RP Technicians to attain various task qualifications that will be accepted throughout the nuclear industry.  This certification enhances RSCS’ status as a vendor-of-choice for RP technician support, as our capacity to offer pre-qualified RP technicians, reduces in-processing time and related costs.  The attainment of this AP3 Certification is one more example of RSCS’s commitment to delivering the nuclear promise.  

RSCS Exhibits at the Nuclear Decommissioning & Used Fuel Strategy Summit, Charlotte NC

Eric Darois and Jay Tarzia exhibited this past week at the Nuclear Decommissioning and Used Fuel Strategy Summit in Charlotte NC.  This industry forum brought together professionals from the nuclear power industry as they work to address complex decommissioning projects at several sites in the process of being placed into SafStor or undergoing full decon. 

RSCS enjoyed participating in this meeting as were able to share best practices and lessons learned over the past 20 years while decommissioning several sites.  Currently, as a contractor working on the SONGS decommissioning project, RSCS discussed with our colleagues the current status of the site and how it has progressed.  While working as a member of the SONGS decommissioning advisory services team, we have provided technical consulting in the areas of end-state planning, 3D site modeling, groundwater support, and other major preparatory areas including an advanced risk management system for the site to manage schedule risks for decommissioning.  We also were able to discuss our work decommissioning and providing waste management consultancy services at several UK sites that are part of the Magnox South complex.

RSCS has extensive experience in decommissioning nuclear power plants, at all stages, including providing decommissioning cost estimates, conducting HSAs, developing ODCMs, providing full radiological support for decommissioning efforts, performing final status surveys and developing license termination plans.  As several end of life sites are now in shutdown are moving towards decommissioning, we are ready to share our expertise to ensure that these complex projects are planned and managed safety while ensuring that radiological operations are conducted efficiently and cost effectively.  

RSCS Exhibits at the Mirion Connect 2018 User’s Conference, Bonita Spring FL, August 6-10, 2018

GMP-25TD - RSCSRSCS will exhibit at the Mirion Connect 2018 Users’ Conference in Bonita Springs FL from August 6-10, where we will demonstrate our SIM-Teq training simulator product line.  Several new models will be available for demonstration, including the RDS-31TD and the TelepoleTD.  These latest models to be added to the SIM-Teq product line, which includes other model survey meters and dosimeters, are built with OEM hardware, providing the functionality of the real radiation survey instruments as they detect and respond to our simulated TWR “live” sources of radiation. 

SIM-Teq is a wireless interconnected system composed of a variety of simulated radiation detection instruments, simulated gamma/beta sources, and support hardware all controlled and configured using a simple, intuitive Simulation Control Center (SCC) software application running on any Windows 10 based PC or tablet. Through an innovative mix of manual and automatic control capability, the SIM-Teq system enables training instructors to create a realistic training environment which includes high fidelity simulated instruments and “live” detectable sources. This unique combination of capabilities allows the instructor the freedom to teach, observe, and assess trainees while retaining the ability to remotely manage or control any SIM-Teq device using the SCC at any time.

RSCS Exhibits at REEW Workshop, New Orleans, LA

RSCS made several presentations this week at the Radiological Effluents and Environmental Workshop (REEW) in New Orleans, LA organized by the Nuclear Energy Institute. This meeting provides professionals in the nuclear power industry the opportunity to share innovated methods for environmental monitoring.  Our staff was invited to present to this forum to share insights and approaches that have been developed over several decades of working with operational and decommissioning nuclear facilities, providing environmental monitoring services that measure and characterize radioactivity in liquid and airborne effluents, soils, subsurface structures and groundwater.

Eric Darois presented on “Industry Issues Related to Radiation Monitoring Instrumentation: and, Where Have We Been?” that drew upon his involvement in the implementation of the accident monitoring requirements of NUREG 0737 in the 1980’s, including remote monitoring system design and use for offsite dose projections using post-accident source terms for all accident release pathways for BWRs and PWRs.  His presentation reviewed the regulatory history for post-accident monitoring for effluents prior to and following the TMI accident.  The requirements for effective noble gas monitors was examined, along with a survey of available equipment, including an interim noble gas monitor developed by RSCS.

In addition, Eric Darois presented on “Decommissioning Highlights and Lowlights”, leveraging the significant experiences gained in decommissioning since the 1990’s running several decommissioning projects.  His presentation addressed the many regulatory changes that occur throughout the decommissioning process, beginning with changes to design-base accidents, regulatory commitments for operations, ODCM changes, procedure changes, staff reorganizations and many more.  His presentation described the major phases of decommissioning with an emphasis on the implementation of the regulatory criteria prescribed in 10CFR20 Subpart E, the development of the site’s License Termination Plan (LTP), and the options that may be considered for the site’s end-state.

Matthew Darois presented on “Analysis of Empirical In-Situ Corrosion Rates with Co-Located Soil Corrosivity Chemistry Parameters at Nuclear Power Facilities” to share insights gained from the data collected at several operational nuclear utilities while implementing soil corrosivity, in-situ corrosion rate and electrical potential monitoring assessments at nuclear power facilities since 2013 as part of the NEI 09-14 Buried Pipe and Tank Inspection Initiative.  Data presented demonstrated that industry standard soil corrosivity assessments performed along buried pipelines at nuclear power facilities may under-predict, or over-predict outside diameter corrosion rates of buried pipes and tanks, potentially resulting in incorrect maintenance projections, leaks and environmental contamination, license renewal delays and incorrect cost projections in a plant’s extended period of operation.