NAVFAC which is now denying that Radium was purposely buried on Navy Bases, gave the orders to do just that in June 1974. NAVFAC should not be in charge of cleaning up its own messes.
“Radiological Precautions” By GLENN ZIMMER Radiological Safety Officer The Navy Civil Engineer Spring 1972, p 16
The Radiological Affairs Support Program has been established by the Chief of Naval Material within the Naval Facilities Engineering Command. The CNM has assigned Commander, NAVFAC, the responsibility to act for CNM in matters of radiological affairs. This covers all aspects of ionizing radiation except nuclear propulsion, nuclear weapon criticality, and medical applications within the NMC to, in the words of Adm. B. A. Clarey, “collate, coordinate and monitor — all aspects of radiological controls—.”
Part of this program will be to assure that a uniform program of radiological protection is established within all systems commands, with assistance to the fleets on an “as-required” basis.
Up until now there has not been a coordinated radiological program within the Navy. This has led to conflicting regulations in some cases that has ended with confusion and a lack of control. The aim is to bring central coordination to radiological affairs so that the Navy can assure radiation protection of all personnel within the Navy, and of the environment. This program will include radioactive materials that are used under license authority of the Atomic Energy Commission, those occurring naturally (such as radium), and X-rays.
Heretofore, radium has not been controlled within the Navy, primarily because the use of radium has not been regulated by the Atomic Energy Commission, the U.S. Public Health Service, or any other agency. However, radium is just as harmful as other radioactive materials which have been produced in a reactor, and a control program will be brought into effect on this material.
Industrial use of X-rays is another area that will require attention and control. In the past there has not been a program at all locations for controlling the use of X-rays.
There are needs within the Navy to have instrumentation developed for monitoring to help assure radiological safety. Recommendations will be made from NAVFAC to the appropriate naval activities responsible for development of instrumentation or control procedures.
One of the important reasons for having this program is that it is necessary in the field of radiation protection to have technically-qualified personnel evaluate hazards to personnel and to devise control measures. NAVFAC has a small group of highly-qualified, highly-technical personnel in headquarters and at the Naval Nuclear Power Unit to perform this type of a function.
By having a single central office coordinating radiological affairs and providing technical assistance we can assure radiological control and protection. It is a tremendous responsibility and opportunity for NAVFAC to have been selected to perform this type of a function, because the program is of major importance to the Fleet, and the Navy.
Radiological Training Begun • Ft Belvoir, Va.
In June, 1974, the OIC, Naval Nuclear Power Unit (NNPU) was tasked by Commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), with providing radiological training within the U. S. Navy. The Radiological Training Department (RTD) was es- tablished in July, 1974, with the addition of two Medical Service Corps instructor billets from the Chief of Naval Education and Training.
The initial training effort was directed toward the radium removal operations program for inactive Naval vessels. Responsibility for this course was transferred to NNPU following the decommissioning of the Navy Training Unit, Fort McClellan, Ala. The need was established when it was found that many luminescent devices aboard decommissioned ships contained radium in quantities considered excessive and potentially dangerous.
These devices must be removed and properly disposed of prior to transfer of the vessel. The radium removal operations course is designed to enable inactive fleet maintenance personnel to safely locate, remove, and dispose of radioactive materials found aboard inactive ships. Three such courses were conducted in July and August of 1974 with 48 students becoming certified as radium removal operators.
A parallel radium removal course for active ships was then designed in an effort to remove items containing radium from the active fleet and replace them with non-hazardous substitutes. Shore based teams of mainte- nance support personnel have been trained as radium removal operators in an effort to prevent the additional work load from being assigned to shipboard personnel.
Removal and disposal procedures are, therefore, centralized in major home ports where they can be more easily monitored and controlled. Commanding officers can schedule surveys for their ships by submitting a standard work request to the Fleet Main- tenance Assistance Group located in their home port.
The surveys will then be conducted during a convenient in-port period. To date, one course has been conducted on each coast, and radium removal teams are now established in Norfolk, Charleston, Mayport, San Diego, San Francisco, and Pearl Harbor.
Training department personnel have recently completed a nuclear weapons radiological survey operations course – which will enable personnel to conduct radiological surveys in weapons storage areas in ships or shore facilities. Students will learn how to evaluate survey data and determine what actions are necessary in order to ensure current personnel radiation protection standards are met. Classes began in April, 1975, with training being conducted at the Nuclear Weapons Training Groups in Norfolk, Va. Diego, Calif.
Future plans include development and San of a radiation safety officer (RSO) : course which will meet training requirements for individuals filling RS0 billets throughout the Navy. The Course will be approximately two weeks in length and will cover a wide range of subjects including the detection of ionizing radiation, personnel protection measures, the development of standard operating procedures including those for X and gamma ray radiography, and rules and regulations pertaining to radiation sources licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.