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Dose Limits


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Occupational Dose Limits

In the course of their work, some individuals may receive exposure above background levels. The Department of Energy (DOE) carefully monitors these levels at all of its facilities and sets limits for acceptable doses.2 The DOE annual dose limits for occupational radiation exposure at National Labs are shown in Table 1. These limits are in addition to the average background dose of 200 mrem/yr and do not include medical exposure.

Table 1.  National Labs Annual Occupational Dose Limits.
Group Dose limit (mrem/yr)
Radiological worker   5000
Embryo-fetus of a worker 500
Minors, members of the public, and general employees*
*The internal guideline for general employees is more restrictive than the DOE limit.

Figure 2. Occupational Radiation Doses Received by National Labs Personnel in 1998.

National Labs strive to keep radiation doses to workers, the public, and the environment as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) below the annual dose limits set by the Department of Energy (Table 1 above). As Figure 2 shows, National Labs have been very successful in keeping radiation exposures ALARA. In 1998, 96 percent of all personnel monitored received no occupational radiation exposure. This exposure distribution is typical at Laboratories. For a perspective, Table 2 shows the average doses received by workers in other occupations.

Table 2.  Average Annual Occupational Radiation.
Occupation                Dose (mrem/yr)      
Airline flight crew member     ~500
Nuclear power plant worker      310
Medical personnel           

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