Methods for Radiation Dose Reconstruction Under the Energy Employees
Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000; Final Rule
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SUMMARY: This rule implements select provisions of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 ("EEOICPA" or "Act"). The Act requires the promulgation of methods, in the form of regulations, for estimating the dose levels of ionizing radiation incurred by workers in the performance of duty for nuclear weapons production programs of the Department of Energy and its predecessor agencies. These "dose reconstruction" methods will be applied by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which is responsible for producing the radiation dose estimates that the U.S. Department of Labor will use in adjudicating certain cancer claims under the Act.

DATES: Effective Date: This final rule is effective May 2, 2002.

B. What Legal Requirements Are Specified by EEOICPA for Dose Reconstruction?

EEOICPA requires that HHS establish, by regulation, methods for arriving at reasonable estimates of the radiation doses incurred by covered employees in connection with claims seeking compensation for cancer, other than as members of the Special Exposure Cohort. 42 U.S.C. 7384n(d). These methods will be applied to estimate radiation doses for the following covered employees: (1) An employee who was not monitored for exposure to radiation at a DOE or Atomic Weapons Employer facility; (2) an employee who was monitored inadequately for exposure to radiation at such a facility; or (3) an employee whose records of exposure to radiation at such facility are missing or incomplete.

EEOICPA requires the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health to independently review the methods established by this rule and to verify a reasonable sample of dose reconstructions established under these methods. The Advisory Board is a federal advisory committee established by the statute and appointed by the President which is advising HHS on its major responsibilities under EEOICPA.

EEOICPA requires that DOE provide HHS with relevant information on worker radiation exposures necessary for dose reconstructions and requires DOE to inform covered employees with cancer of the results of their dose reconstructions. 42 U.S.C. 7384n(e) and 7384q(c). NIOSH, which will be conducting the dose reconstructions, will inform covered employees and DOE of the results of these dose reconstructions.

Subject to provisions of the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552(a)), HHS will also make available to researchers and the general public information on the assumptions, methodology, and data used in estimating radiation doses. 42 U.S.C. 7384n(e)(2).

Finally, HHS notes that EEOICPA does not authorize the establishment of new radiation protection standards through the promulgation of these methods, and these methods do not constitute such new standards.
C. What Is the Purpose of Dose Reconstruction?

Dose reconstructions are used to estimate the radiation doses to which individual workers or groups of workers have been exposed, particularly when radiation monitoring is unavailable, incomplete, or of poor quality. Originally dose reconstructions were conducted for research on the health effects of exposure to radiation. In recent decades, dose reconstruction has become an integral component of radiation illness compensation programs in the United States and internationally.
[FR Doc. 02-10763 Filed 5-1-02; 8:45 am]
[Federal Register: May 2, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 85)]
[Rules and Regulations] 
[Pages 22314-22336]