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U.S. Transuranium and Uranium Registries Conference Contributions

Radiation Research Society Meeting, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sept. 30 – Oct. 3, 2012

Chris Nielsen presented two pasters at the 58th Annual Meeting of the Radiation Research Society, San Juan, Puerto Rico, September 30 – October 3, 2012.

The U.S. Transuranium and Uranium Registries: a unique human data resource
S.L. McCord (USTUR), C.E. Nielsen (PNNL), M. Avtandilashvili (USTUR), M. Parker (USTUR), F.L. Miller (USTUR), E.M. Thomas (USTUR), D.J. McLain (USTUR), W. F. Morgan (PNNL), S.Y. Tolmachev (USTUR).

The U.S. Transuranium and Uranium Registries (USTUR), and the associated National Human Radiobiology Tissue Repository (NHRTR), is a federally-funded human tissue research program. It provides long-term follow-up of Pu, Am, and U (actinides) biokinetics, and potential health effects in nuclear workers (volunteer registrants) with accidental internal depositions of these elements.

Since its establishment in 1968, the USTUR has received tissues from 39 whole-body and 291 partial-body donations. An additional 13 whole-body and 60 partial-body potential donors are currently registered with the USTUR. Today, the NHRTR holds about 8,000 frozen or formalin fixed tissue samples. From 5 to 250 tissue samples from each donation – including lung, liver and bones – have been radiochemically analyzed to determine the actinide concentration in each organ, and estimate the total body activity at the time of death. About 10,000 acid-digested tissue samples, previously analyzed for actinides, are available as acid-solutions at the USTUR.

The USTUR’s health physics database contains detailed work history, radiation exposure, medical, and industrial hygiene records from each registrant’s worksite. These data in combination with radiochemistry results on the actinide content in individual tissues/organs make the USTUR/NHRTR a unique human data resource. The USTUR data and materials are currently used in the fields of health physics, radiation protection, and epidemiology.

In addition to the USTUR donations, the NHRTR houses frozen, ashed, dried, and plastic embedded bone samples from the radium dial painter studies carried out by Argonne National Laboratory/Argonne Cancer Research Hospital, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the New Jersey Radium Research Project. All USTUR/NHRTR materials are available for a collaborative research. [USTUR-0331-12A] Presenter


The microdistribution and long-term retention of plutonium-nitrate in the respiratory tracts of an acutely exposed plutonium worker and experimental beagle dogs
C.E. Nielsen (PNNL), D.A. Wilson (PNNL), A.L. Brooks (PNNL), S.L. McCord (USTUR), G.E. Dagle (Retired), A.C. James (USTUR), S.Y. Tolmachev (USTUR), B.D. Thrall (PNNL), W.F. Morgan (PNNL)

The distributions of long-term retained soluble plutonium-nitrate [239Pu(NO3)4] deposited in the lungs of an accidentally exposed nuclear worker (Human Case 0269) and in the lungs of experimentally exposed beagle dogs with varying initial lung depositions were determined via autoradiography of selected histological lung, lymph node, trachea, and nasal turbinate tissue sections. Human Case 0269 had an estimated intake of 58 kBq. Bioassay and radiochemistry data indicated that 2% of the initial deposit remained bound in the tissues at the time of death.

These studies showed that both the human and dogs had a non-uniform distribution of plutonium (Pu) throughout the respiratory tract. Fibrotic scar tissue effectively encapsulated a portion of the Pu and prevented its clearance from the body or translocation to other tissues and diminished dose to organ parenchyma. Alpha radiation activity from deposited Pu in Human Case 0269 was observed primarily along the pleura. In both the human case and beagle dogs, the appearance of retained Pu within the respiratory tract was inconsistent with current biokinetic models of clearance for soluble forms of Pu. [USTUR-0333-12A]