Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

NRE 8011/8012 and MP 6011/6012 Seminar

Nuclear & Radiological Engineering and Medical Physics Programs


“Solving Problems with Radiological Risk Assessment”


Dr. John Till


President, Risk Assessment Corporation


Thursday, November 11, 2021 at 11:00:00 AM   Add to Calendar


https://bluejeans.com/881360825/0794 Building


Nolan Hertel


This presentation will review three projects carried out by Risk Assessment Corporation (RAC) that illustrate how radiological risk assessment can be used to solve challenging and unexpected problems in radiation protection. The first project describes how RAC carried out an audit of Los Alamos National Laboratory for compliance with 40CFR61 of the Clean Air Act at the request of the Department of Justice. The audit was the result of a lawsuit settlement between a citizen’s group and Los Alamos and RAC was selected by both parties to be the auditor. The presentation will discuss how RAC managed to execute the audit with complete transparency and openness in the most secure national laboratory in the US. The second project explains how RAC performed one of the first comprehensive dose reconstructions on a Department of Energy Facility, The Fernald Feed Materials Production Plant in Ohio. This study was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and conducted at the request of Senator John Glenn of Ohio. RAC employed innovative technical methods to fill data gaps and to validate its estimates of releases of radionuclides to the environment that were used in subsequent historical dose reconstruction throughout the US. For the third project, the Atomic Veterans Study (AVS) will be reviewed. This project estimated radiation doses to ~114,000 military veterans who participated in atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the US. The AVS is one component of the Million Person Study currently underway to focus on the effects of low dose radiation. These three studies illustrate the important role of radiological risk assessment in our profession. Each project provides a different perspective on how to solve technical problems related to radiation exposure and the importance of risk communication in this science.


John E. Till, Ph.D. is president Risk Assessment Corporation (www.racteam.com). He graduated from the US Naval Academy 1967. He served in the U.S. Navy Nuclear Submarine Program and retired a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1999. As a reserve flag officer he served as Deputy Commander Submarine Force Atlantic Fleet and Deputy Commander US Strategic Command and Commander Naval Reserve Readiness Command Region TEN. He is a recipient of Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, two Navy Meritorious Service Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals, and the Navy Achievement Medal. Following his active duty service, Dr. Till received his M.S. degree from Colorado State University in 1972 and his Ph.D. degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1976. In 1977 he formed Risk Assessment Corporation (RAC). Since its formation RAC has played a key role in our understanding of radioactive materials when they enter the environment and how they affect humans. He has been responsible for major historical dose reconstruction projects at Department of Energy facilities including Hanford, Washington, Fernald, Ohio, Rocky Flats, Colorado, the Savannah River site, and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Working with Vanderbilt University and National Cancer Institute, Dr. Dill’s team developed the first in-depth dosimetry from exposures to military personnel who participated in the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons between 1945 and 1963. Working with epidemiologists, Dr. Till team of researchers is enabling us to better understand if there is a higher incidence of cancer among this group of over 114,000 veterans. He is a Distinguished Emeritus Member of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) and has served on and chaired various committees of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Till lives on his family farm near Neeses, SC with his wife Susan.