Radiological / Nuclear Human Monitoring TTX

November 2015

Project Summary

International Safety Research (ISR) conducted a tabletop exercise (TTX) on behalf of Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science (DRDC CSS) and Health Canada’s (HC) Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate in November 2015 in Ottawa, ON. This TTX focused on the capacity to monitor humans for exposure to radiation following both a major power plant-based nuclear disaster and a non-nuclear radiation contamination event. ISR designed two unique scenarios that focused on the different elements that involve human monitoring processes following these types of events. While leveraging these scenarios, ISR facilitated the TTX in a manner so as to meet the HC objectives. These included identifying the necessary post-event required actions for the triage of exposed individuals, sampling for and the conduct of biodosimetry and bioassay testing, and the provision of personal dosimetry resources.

This project originated from the need for improved monitoring of the affected public following the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi in 2011, where significant amounts of radioactive contaminants were released to the environment. ISR conducted the TTX in Ottawa, Canada with participants from local, provincial and federal organizations, including hospital and health services, nuclear laboratories, radiation protection bureaus and federal health and safety agencies.

Human monitoring efforts on the scale proposed within these scenarios would require coordination from those groups that would perform initial screening and bioassay testing, and those that would assess biological dosimetry. The TTX aimed to explore the effectiveness of guidelines and protocols for the integration of these communities to ensure a coordinated and timely response. ISR designed and developed the TTX scenarios to focus on evaluating concepts of operation for the dissemination of results from bioassay and biodosimetry tests, the sampling required to perform these tests, and the identification of required protective actions or further analysis. The TTX also allowed the participants to clearly identify the interoperability between the responding organizations and define the human monitoring responsibilities of local, provincial and federal responders in a radiological/nuclear emergency.

Following the completion of the TTX, ISR produced a summary report which outlined the findings, gaps and best practices from the TTX. The report also contained a series of recommendations for closing some of the gaps identified during the exercise, including the development of new policies and concepts of operations pertaining to human monitoring, biodosimetry, bioassay, portal monitors, whole body counting and personal dosimetry during radiological/nuclear events.

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