Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

NRE 8011/8012 and MP 6011/6012 Seminar

Nuclear & Radiological Engineering and Medical Physics Programs


Recent advances in radon dosimetry research.


Dr. Michael Bellamy


Oak Ridge National Lab


Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 11:00:00 AM


Boggs Building, Room 3-28


Dr. Nolan Hertel


Through the decay of primordial radionuclides, earth continually produces and emits radon into its atmosphere. Alpha emitting progeny of radon, when inhaled, irradiate our lung tissue and can cause health effects such as cancer induction. Among all the sources of natural radiation, radon is responsible for the largest absorbed doses in the U.S. population. The strongest evidence between radon inhalation and cancer is derived from epidemiological studies of exposed miners where the consideration of the miner's age, exposure duration, exposure rate and time since exposure shows statistically significant causation. Animal studies have confirmed the human epidemiological studies. According to the EPA, radon may be responsible for taking over 20,000 American lives per year and significant effort is devoted to protecting members of the population from over-exposure. Uranium, radon's parent radionuclide, is widely distributed on earth so radon is likely responsible for deaths in all countries of the world. In this seminar we will discuss the sources of radon, factors which determine radon building inflow, common methods of measuring, and remediating high radon levels. We will also discuss some of the latest research on radon dosimetry and cancer risk estimation where radon and its short-lived progeny are decoupled and considered separately


Dr. Michael Bellamy graduated with a Ph.D. in Nuclear and Radiological Engineering in 2013 from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has recently accepted a research position in the Center for Radiation Protection Knowledge of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Michael completed a double major in physics and math at Morehouse College and after earning a Master’s Degree at Georgia Tech, he earned his doctorate under Dr. Nolan Hertel and Dr. Keith Eckerman. Under their mentorship, Dr. Bellamy helped to develop mathematical models to better quantify the interaction of radiation with DNA. He is a corresponding member of two task groups in the International Commission on Radiation Protection which are developing the next generation of computational human phantoms and environmental radiation dose coefficients. Dr. Bellamy now devotes much of his time estimating the risk of cancer due to the external and internal exposure to radionuclides through the use of radiation transport codes and dosimetry model development. Outside of his life as a researcher, Michael is the chair of the ORNL Early Career Professionals, a board member for the Oak Ridge Civic Music Association and is an avid photographer.