Since 1950, the U.S. Department of Energy has operated and tested more than 50 nuclear reactors at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) in southeastern Idaho. Also tested were waste-disposal, fuel processing, and fuel handling facilities. In 1992, the Radiation Studies Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) started a dose reconstruction study at INEL.

The purpose of the INEL dose reconstruction is to identify chemicals and radioactive materials released since the site opened and to determine the potential health effects of these releases on the neighboring communities. Phase I of the dose reconstruction study included preliminary estimates of the release of radionuclides and chemicals, and was completed in 2001. The results indicated that airborne emissions from radioactive lanthanum (RaLa) process operations at the Idaho Chemical Processing Plant (ICPP) and from initial engine tests (IETs) in the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion (ANP) Program during late 1950s and early 1960s resulted in the greatest potential for off-site exposures of the public to radionuclides and chemicals released.

Phase II of the dose reconstruction study was initiated in 2002. SENES Oak Ridge, Inc. and Sanford Cohen & Associates were contracted by CDC to assess the public health risks from the releases of radionuclides from the ICPP and ANP. SENES Oak Ridge, Inc., estimated the releases of radionuclides from the ICPP for the years 1957-1959 using historical source documents. These release estimates have been put through a screening procedure to select radionuclides for a detailed dose reconstruction.

SENES Oak Ridge, Inc., with SC&A, have prepared a series of draft reports, which are available on the CDC website for public comment. Comments should be sent to C. M. Wood of CDC.

Follow the links below to learn more about each step of the Phase II INEL study and to download the draft reports.