Although there is, and has been since the 1940s, a series of official established dose limits,
they do not represent ALARA. ALARA is a continuous process of controlling and
managing radiation exposure to workers, the general public, and the environment. Although
ALARA is based upon protection of people and the environment, the philosophy is also
grounded on sound economic and operating principles. The responsibility for maintaining
radiation exposures ALARA is not a unique responsibility of management or health physics
personnel. It is a responsibility of everyone involved in managing, supervising, or
performing radiation work. It is imperative to teach administrative personnel to support the
principles and practice of ALARA, and to train all radiation workers to consider ALARA
as they prepare for and perform their work.
10 CFR 835 Subpart K "Design and Control" contains specific requirements relating to
ALARA considerations for facility design and modification. Also, DOE Order 5400.5
"Radiation Protection of the Public and Environment" (DOE 1993c) contains
environmental ALARA requirements.
Current Status of ALARA Programs
Currently, it is common practice in a DOE facility to have a well-structured
ALARA plan for the entire facility, with more detailed plans in the various
buildings or functional subunits of the facility. There is ordinarily a facility
coordinator who administers the overall ALARA plan and reports to top-level
management of the facility. Coordinators for the various buildings or subunits of
the facility receive guidance from the overall facility coordinator and report the
results of their ALARA programs to that individual.
Achievement of Goals
The standard, Radiological Control, Ch. 1. (DOE, 2004), provides guidance to
contractors (facility) to provide documentation of the ALARA process. To ensure
improving radiological performance, at the beginning of each fiscal year, each
facility prepares and submits Radiological Performance Goals. At least quarterly,
the contractor (facility) provides the contractor senior site executive with an interim
status report of the goals. At the end of the calendar year, an Annual Goal Status
Report is issued.
Identifying specific ALARA goals in plutonium facilities requires close
coordination between the facility ALARA team members (operations, maintenance,
and health physics personnel) made up from a cross-section of personnel
representing the various work elements of the facility. ALARA goals may be
formulated as qualitative or quantitative types of goals, but must be measurable and
achievable, with clearly defined endpoints.