The Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring & Research Center (CEMRC), as part of its internal dosimetry program, is conducting an in vivo radiobioassay research project entitled “Lie Down and Be Counted”.
This project involves citizen research volunteers from southeastern New Mexico and supports education for the public about naturally occurring radioactivity and CEMRC ‘s environmental studies. The objective of the research is to characterize and monitor for internally deposited radionuclides in the general population living around the U.S. Department of Energy Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). The data collected prior to the opening of the WIPP facility (March 26, 1999) serve as a baseline for comparisons with periodic follow-up measurements that are slated to continue throughout the 35-year operational phase of the WIPP.
Participants in the project are monitored every two years. The radiobioassay service is free to the public, and we always are looking for new volunteers. To schedule an appointment, or for more information about the program please call (575)234-5530 and ask for Ila Pillalamarri. You can also schedule an appointment by email, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org (Whole Body Count lab).
The following table summarizes the number of lung and whole body counts performed at CEMRC since the in vivo bioassay facility was commissioned in August 1997.
|Totals as of December 31, 2012|
|Total number of individuals who have participated in the study prior to the first shipment, on March 27, 1999 of radioactive waste to the Wipp site. ( baseline cohort )||366|
|Total number of counts of LD&BC participants (includes recounts of some individuals)||1323|
|Total number of lung and whole body counts performed at the Center since July, 1997||3718|
CEMRC is not only monitoring the local residents, but is also studying the environment through a project entitled the “WIPP Environmental Monitoring Project”. With this comprehensive project, CEMRC is monitoring air, soil, surface water, sediments, and drinking water. One special facet of this program, called “The FAS Lane”, is the daily monitoring of the aerosols released in the exhaust at the WIPP. These samples are collected at a location that represents the release point of effluents from the underground to the environment. CEMRC is interested in obtaining information on WIPP exhaust air quality because it provides a means for characterizing a source-term that will be needed for interpreting future monitoring results from the Lie Down and Be Counted and WIPP Environmental Monitoring projects. For example, if a radioactive material was released from the WIPP, we would expect to detect it in the exhaust before it reaches the local population or environment.
As of June 1, 2003, operational monitoring results for all radionuclides are consistent with the baseline results. Based on these data, there is no evidence of a change in the frequency of detection of internally deposited radionuclides for citizens living within the vicinity of WIPP, since WIPP began receipt of radioactive waste.