Decommissioning Health Physics: A Handbook for MARSSIM Users, Second Edition, 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Decommissioning Health Physics

A Handbook for MARSSIM Users, Second Edition, 2nd Edition

By Eric W. Abelquist

CRC Press

696 pages | 45 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781466510531
pub: 2013-10-10
SAVE ~$31.00
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780429096297
pub: 2013-10-10
from $28.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


Experienced Guidance on the Technical Issues of Decommissioning Projects

Written by one of the original MARSSIM authors, Decommissioning Health Physics: A Handbook for MARSSIM Users, Second Edition is the only book to incorporate all of the requisite technical aspects of planning and executing radiological surveys in support of decommissioning. Extensively revised and updated, it covers survey instrumentation, detection sensitivity, statistics, dose modeling, survey procedures, and release criteria.

New to the Second Edition

  • Chapter on hot spot assessment that recognizes appropriate dosimetric significance of hot spots when designing surveys and includes a new approach for establishing hot spot limits
  • Chapter on the clearance or release of materials, highlighting aspects of the MARSAME manual
  • Revised chapter on characterization survey design to reflect guidance in ANSI N13.59 on the value of data quality objectives (DQOs)
  • Updated regulations and guidance documents throughout
  • Updated survey instrumentation used to support decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) surveys, including expanded coverage of in situ gamma spectrometers
  • Revised statistics chapter that includes an introduction to Bayesian statistics and additional double sampling and ranked set sampling statistical approaches
  • More case studies and examples throughout

Implement the Surveys Effectively and Avoid Common Pitfalls

With more than 20 years of experience as a practitioner in the decommissioning survey field, author Eric W. Abelquist prepares you for the technical challenges associated with planning and executing MARSSIM surveys. He discusses the application of statistics for survey design and data reduction and addresses the selection of survey instrumentation and detection sensitivity. He presents final status survey procedures and covers pathway modeling to translate release criteria to measurable quantities. He also offers solutions for navigating the complexity inherent in designing and implementing MARSSIM and MARSAME surveys. Detailed derivations, thorough discussions of technical bases, and real-world examples and case studies illustrate effective strategies for demonstrating to regulators and stakeholders that contaminated sites can be released for other beneficial uses.


"This layout makes the book useful for those with less experience at implementing the MARSS1M process and allows those with more experience to go directly to individual chapters to review specific information… As with the first edition, this book is a valuable addition to the MARSSIM practitioner's library…I recommend this book for all who are involved in the decommissioning process."

—James Reese in Health Physics

"This book is the most complete treatment of the topic I’ve seen—including chapters on virtually every aspect of MARSSIM as well as problems to solve and worked-out solutions for many of them in the back (making it a great textbook on the topic for anyone teaching a graduate class or short course on the topic). It’s also a great reference since the chapters include equations, reference tables and plots, and a nice selection of case studies and examples. … The second edition is not only updated to reflect the latest and greatest guidance, it also includes some new material. … a tremendously useful book to have on your shelf. If you are actively involved in characterizing or remediating sites, I dare say it’s essential. But even if you’re not engaged in this sort of work, it’s worth adding to your library for the chapters on counting and sampling statistics, for the discussion of developing survey plans, for the material on instruments, and for much more. Throughout, the writing is clear and easy to follow, and Eric does a great job of explaining concepts that are often not intuitive. I’m glad to have it on my bookshelf, and I anticipate using it as a professional reference as well as for teaching in coming years."

Health Physics News

Table of Contents

Introduction: Current Issues in Decommissioning and MARSSIM Overview

Decommissioning Overview

MARSSIM Overview

Clearance of Materials Overview

Decommissioning Project Overview and Regulatory Agency Interface

Decommissioning Options

Decommissioning Project Phases

Radiological Surveys Performed during Decommissioning

Regulator y Agency Interface When Designing MARSSIM Surveys

Characterization Surveys and the DQO Process


DQOs Process and Application to Characterization

Decommissioning Objectives of Characterization: Data Needed to Make Decisions

Characterization Survey Design and Considerations

Characterization Survey Activities

Characterization Survey Results to Support MARSSIM FSS Design

Guidelines and Dose-Based Release Criteria

Historic Release Criteria and Guidance Documents

Dose-Based Release Criteria and NRC’s Decommissioning Rulemaking

Clearance of Materials and ANSI N13.12

Exposure Pathway Modeling: DCGLs and Hazard Assessments

Screening versus Site-Specific: When Is It Time to Go beyond the Screening DCGLs?

Exposure Pathway Modeling: Scenarios, Pathways, and Parameters

Modeling Codes

Determination of DCGLs and Area Factors

Hazard Assessments: An Early Application of Dose-Based Release Criteria?

Preliminary Survey Design Concerns and Application of DCGLs

Direct Application of DCGLs

Us e of DCGLs for Sites with Multiple Radionuclides

Background Determination and Background Reference Areas

Background Reference Areas and Related Considerations

Surface Material Backgrounds

Scenario B Survey Design: Indistinguishable from the Background

Scenario A versus Scenario B FSS Designs

Survey Instrumentation Selection and Calibration

Calibration for Surface Activity Measurement Instruments

Overview of Survey Instrumentation and Philosophy of Instrument Selection

Survey Instrumentation for Surface Activity Measurements and Scanning

Determination of Instrument Efficiency for Surface Activity Measurements

Survey Instrumentation for Exposure Rate Measurements

Laboratory Instrumentation

Detection Sensitivity: Static and Scan MDCs

Critical Level and Detection Limit

Static MDC

Scan MDC

Survey Procedures and Measurement Data Interpretation

Surface-Activity Measurements

Scanning Building Surfaces and Land Areas

Gamma Spectrometry Analyses for Soil

Radiological Hot-Spot Survey Considerations

Introduction: Current Hot-Spot Approach

Hot-Spot Limits in Soil

Hot-Spot Limits on Building Surfaces

Bayesian Statistical Approach to Assess Hot Spots

Statistics and Hypothesis Testing

Basic Population Statistics and Confidence Interval Testing

Data Distributions

Hypo thesis Testing

Bayesian Statistics

MARSSIM Final Survey Design and Strategies

FSS Protocols Prior to MARSSIM

Overview of MARSSIM Survey Design

Surface-Activity Measurements: Wilcoxon Rank Sum Test or Sign Test?

Comparison of MARSSIM and NUREG/CR-5849 FSSS for Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning Projects

Annotated MARSSIM Examples

MARSSIM FSS Design Strategies: Understanding the Power Curve

Ranked Set Sampling

MARSSIM Data Reduction

Data Quality Assessment for the Sign Test for Co-60 in Soil

Data Quality Assessment for the WRS Test for Uranium and Thorium in Soil

What If the Survey Unit Fails?

Clearance of Materials

Clearance: A Controversial History

MARSAME and DQOs for the Release of Materials

Release Criteria, Process Knowledge, and Other Survey Design Considerations

Detection Limits for Material Release Surveys

Clearance Survey Approaches

Decommissioning Survey Applications at Various Facility Types

Uranium Sites

Thorium and Radium Sites

Power Reactor

University/Research Facilities

FSS Reports and Measurement Uncertainty

FSS Report Content

Reporting Survey Results: Measurement of Uncertainties and Error Propagation

Practical Applications of Statistics to Support Decommissioning Activities

Tests for Data Normality

Applications of Statistics in Decommissioning: Comparison of Data Sets

Case Study: Comparing Cs-137 Concentration in Class 3 Area with Background Reference Area Using Both t Test and WRS Test

International Decommissioning Perspectives


Solutions to Selected Questions and Problems

Appendix A: Radionuclide and Natural Decay Series Characteristics

Appendix B: MARSSIM WRS and Sign Test Sample Sizes

Appendix C: Example Decommissioning Inspection Plan for Final Status Survey Program


Questions and Problems appear at the end of each chapter.

About the Author

Eric W. Abelquist, PhD, CHP, is the executive vice president of Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) and deputy director of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). He helps oversee organizational best practices, program and business unit leadership, and community relations. He also works directly with the president/CEO to formulate organizational strategic objectives, manage key strategic initiatives, and advise on scientific and engineering issues that advance research and education opportunities. He was previously the associate director for Independent Environmental Assessment and Verification (IEAV) at ORAU, where he contributed to the development and implementation of the Multiagency Radiation Survey and Site Investigation Manual (MARSSIM). He received a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Tennessee.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Environmental
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
SCIENCE / Physics