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Int J Radiat Biol. 2018 Nov 19:1-10. doi: 10.1080/09553002.2018.1536299. [Epub ahead of print]

Dosimetry and uncertainty approaches for the million person study of low-dose radiation health effects: overview of the recommendations in NCRP Report No. 178.

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a Radiology and Medical Physics, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center , New York , NY , USA.
b National Cancer Institute (retired) , Bethesda , MD , USA.
c M.H. Chew and Associates , Oak Ridge , TN , USA.
d National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements , Bethesda , MD , USA.
e Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, Division of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center , Vanderbilt University Medical Center , Nashville , TN , USA.
f U.S. Department of Energy (retired) , New York , NY , USA.
g Oak Ridge National Laboratory , Oak Ridge , TN , USA.
h Oak Ridge Associated Universities , Oak Ridge , TN , USA.
i International Epidemiology Institute , Rockville , MD , USA.
j Pacific Northwest National Laboratory , Richland , WA , USA.
k National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements , Bethesda , USA.
l International Commission on Radiation Units , Bethesda , MD , USA.
m U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission , Washington , DC , USA.
n University of Southern California , Los Angeles , CA , USA.
o U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission , Arlington , TX , USA.
p Risk Assessment Corporation , Neeses , SC , USA.
q Landauer, Inc , Glenwood , IL , USA.
r Leidos Innovations Corporation , Houston , TX , USA.



Scientific Committee 6-9 was established by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP), charged to provide guidance in the derivation of organ doses and their uncertainty, and produced a report, NCRP Report No. 178, Deriving Organ Doses and their Uncertainty for Epidemiologic Studies with a focus on the Million Person Study of Low-Dose Radiation Health Effects (MPS). This review summarizes the conclusions and recommendations of NCRP Report No. 178, with a concentration on and overview of the dosimetry and uncertainty approaches for the cohorts in the MPS, along with guidelines regarding the essential approaches used to estimate organ doses and their uncertainties (from external and internal sources) within the framework of an epidemiologic study.


The success of the MPS is tied to the validity of the dose reconstruction approaches to provide realistic estimates of organ-specific radiation absorbed doses that are as accurate and precise as possible and to properly evaluate their accompanying uncertainties. The dosimetry aspects for the MPS are challenging in that they address diverse exposure scenarios for diverse occupational groups being studied over a period of up to 70 y. Specific dosimetric reconstruction issues differ among the varied exposed populations that are considered: atomic veterans, U.S. Department of Energy workers exposed to both penetrating radiation and intakes of radionuclides, nuclear power plant workers, medical radiation workers, and industrial radiographers. While a major source of radiation exposure to the study population comes from external gamma- or x-ray sources, for some of the study groups, there is also a meaningful component of radionuclide intakes that requires internal radiation dosimetry assessments.


NCRP; dosimetry; epidemiology; radiation

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