DOE Openness: Human Radiation Experiments: Roadmap to the Project
(1)Since 1965, Battelle Memorial Institute, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, has operated the Pacific Northwest Laboratories in Richland, Washington, for the U.S. Department of Energy.
(2)During World War II, the Manhattan Project had built a vast complex of highly classified facilities in and near Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to process uranium for use in atomic bombs. The Atomic Energy Commission took control of these facilities upon its creation. Today, they belong to the Department of Energy.
(3)atomic species in which the atoms all have the same atomic number but different mass numbers according to the number of neutrons in the nucleus
(4)the branch of biology dealing with the functions and activities of living organisms and their parts
(5)predecessor agency to the U.S. Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC); established January 1, 1947
(6)radioactive tags on biomolecules, used to study a biological, chemical, or physical system
(7)an accelerator in which particles move in spiral paths in a constant magnetic field. The resulting beam of high-speed particles can disintegrate atomic nuclei and produce radioactive isotopes.
(8)George Charles von Hevesy (18851966), Hungarian-born chemist who won the 1943 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of hafnium and his work on the use of isotopes as tracer elements
(9)Ernest Carl Anderson was a physical chemist who worked at the University of Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory during the Manhattan Project, 194244, and then at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. Dr. Anderson received the AEC's E.O. Lawrence Award in 1966. He conducted research in natural radiocarbon, liquid scintillation counters, low-level radioactivity measurements, and cellular biochemistry. He also designed the HUMCO II, an improved version of the first whole-body counter, HUMCO I.
(10) an American chemist who researched physical, inorganic, and nuclear chemistry and radiochemistry. He worked at Los Alamos in the late '40s and early '50s and received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960 for the discovery of radiocarbon datingthe practice of measuring the ratio of radiocarbon to stable carbon to establish the approximate age of an artifact, region, etc.
(11)the measurement of the size and proportions of the human body
(12)chemical solutions that contain phosphors which ionize when struck by an energetic photon or particle, producing flashes of light
(13)apparatuses that measure radionuclides in man using shielded detectors and multichannel energy analyzers
(14)counting the rate of radiation emissions, using radiation detection instruments
(15)Dr. Anderson received the E.O. Lawrence Award from the Atomic energy Commission in 1966.
(16)For the transcript of the November 29, 1994 interview with Petersen, see DOE/EH-0460, Human Radiation Studies: Remembering the Early Years; Oral History of Cell Biologist Don Francis Petersen, Ph.D. (August 1995).
(17)At Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, Langham led the Health Division's Radiobiology Group from 1947 until his death in 1972. The group was renamed the Bio-Medical Group.
(18)the location where most nuclear weapon tests within the Continental United States were conducted
(19)The Health Division's Group H-4, Radiobiology; renamed Bio-Medical Group in 1974
(20)the rates of metabolism of elements, and their metabolic pathways
(21)cleared from the body and were replaced by new intakes of the same materials
(23)the rate at which chemical processes take place in the body
(24)the process or method of measuring or calculating the dose of ionizing radiation, or energy absorbed per unit mass, using data from bioassay and other radiation measurements
(25)a radioactive isotope of hydrogen having an atomic weight of three; the heaviest isotope of the element hydrogen, tritium gas is used in modern nuclear weapons.
(26)thousandths of a curie; one thousand microcuries. A curie represents 37 billion radioactive decays per second.
(27)a millionth of a curie
(28)a Ukrainian city in which a Soviet-designed graphite-moderated nuclear reactor in April 1986 sustained the world's worst radiation accident to date. At the reactor site, 31 workers and firefighters were killed during the accident and immediately following. According to contemporary Soviet assessments, 1,000 square kilometers (370 square miles) of land were contaminated, 135,000 people and 86,000 head of cattle had to be evacuated, and fallout spread to 20 countries. An international effort to aid the victims and contain radioactivity at the site ensued, including sharing of technology and research.
(29)A mass-exposure accident involving cesium waste in Brazil is discussed later, under "Career Accomplishments."
(30)biological half-timethe time required for half the atoms to clear the organ or tissue as the result of normal physiological and metabolic processes
(31)Signed in 1963, ratified in 1964, and still in effect, the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) commits the United States and Russia (formerly the Soviet Union) to refrain from testing nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, under water, or in space, thus moving nuclear testing underground. The United Kingdom also acceded to the LTBT. The LTBT put an end to additions to nuclear fallout from U.S., Soviet and Russian, and British nuclear tests except in those rare cases when an underground nuclear test accidentally vents to the atmosphere. Prior to negotiation of the LTBT, an atmospheric testing moratorium was observed by the U.S. and the Soviet Union until it was broken by the Soviets. This moratorium may be the first of the two periods to which Dr. Richmond refers when the buildup of fallout-borne cesium was halted.
(32)the original quantity of cesium atoms in the subject's body
(33)a chemical material used to enhance the excretion of cesium
(34) the study of the structure of tissue
(35)a quantity expressing the strength of a field of force in a given area
(36)the time required for half of the atoms present in a compartment of the body to leave that compartment by normal biological processes, such as metabolism or excretion
(37)relating to drugs approved for human use
(38)If a livestock animal could rid itself of the cesium quickly, the odds improved that it would not have to be killed to prevent humans from ingesting contaminated meat, eggs, or milk.
(39)diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid
(40)The behavior can be explained by a simple, first-order mathematical formula
(42)chemical agents that remove heavy metals from the bloodstream and soft tissues
(43)Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies, established in 1946 by the Manhattan Engineer District and operated under a Manhattan Project (and later Atomic Energy Commission) contract. ORINS was responsible for training physicians and researchers in the safe handling of radioisotopes and in the development of isotope applications in medicine. In addition, ORINS was responsible for selecting both students and established sci entists for fellowships and other temporary research assignments. Today, the educational and training func tions of ORINS are carried out by its successor, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE).
(44)Brookhaven National Laboratory (Long Island, New York)
(45)Argonne Cancer Research Hospital, one of three clinical facilities created by the AEC in 1948. While the AEC owned the 58-bed Chicago hospital, the University of Chicago medical school administered and staffed the facility. The hospital admitted its first patient in January 1953.The Energy Research and Development Administration terminated Government support for Argonne and the other AEC-created research hospitals in 1974, three years after the hospital's name was changed to the Franklin McLean Institute. The facilities are now used by the university's medical school for studies in radiology and hematology.
(46)ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid
(47) a radioactive isotope of carbon having a half-life of about 5,730 years: widely used in the dating of organic materials; also called radiocarbon
(48)a water-soluble solid compound used to treat tuberculosis
(49)Hempelmann was a group leader in the Health Division at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory from 1943 to 1947, and led the division from 1946 to 1948. An expert in radiology and radiobiology, Hempelmann served in the Atomic Energy Commission from 1948 to 1950, then joined the faculty of the University of Rochester before coming to Los Alamos.
(50)a contraction of Government Issue that emerged during World War II as an American colloquial term for any member of the U.S. armed forces, but particularly enlisted persons
(51)Manhattan Engineer District, an organization created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to administer the development of the atomic bomb under the top-secret Manhattan Project
(52)the operation name for the first test detonation of a nuclear weapon conducted at Alamogordo Bombing Range in New Mexico, July 16, 1945
(53)a "Big Three" meeting of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented respec tively by President Harry Truman, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Generalissimo Joseph Stalin, in a suburb of Berlin, Germany, July 1731, 1945. With the western allies increasingly concerned over Soviet actions, intentions, and military position in Europe, the Potsdam Conference was a critical forum for discuss ing many issues facing postwar Europe. But another important objective of Truman and Churchill was to persuade the Soviets to enter the war with Japan. Out of respect, Stalin needed to be informed that the United States had the atomic bomb before the weapon's existence became known to the world through its actual use in the war, and Truman did so on July 24, after the successful Trinity test. Dr. Richmond's comment implies that a successful test of the atomic bomb in advance of the Potsdam Conference was an objective of the Man hattan Project. After the conference, Truman told Ambassador Joseph Davies that an unstated reason for telling Churchill that he could not leave Washington for a heads-of-state conference until after June 30 was that July would be the month in which the atomic bomb would be tested. Truman biographer Robert Dono van concluded from this, "Evidently, Truman and his advisers believed that a successful test would strengthen the United States position in Potsdam" (Donovan, p. 72). Source: Robert J. Donovan; Conflict and Crisis: The Presidency of Harry S. Truman 19451948; W.W. Norton; New York; 1977.
(54)involving the statistics of incidence and prevalence of disease in large populations; also: the factors contribut ing to the presence of absence of a disease
(55)the document number of the Los Alamos report on results of research involving injection of plutonium into human subjects
(56)the mathematical formula that, when plotted, would graphically show the rate, over time, at which plutonium was being excreted by the subjects
(57)For the transcript of the November, 11, 1994 interview with Durbin, see DOE/EH-0458, Human Radiation Studies: Remembering the Early Years; Oral History of Dr. Patricia Wallace Durbin, Ph.D. (June 1995).
(58)From August 1963 to May 1971, the Pacific Northwest Research Foundation in Seattle, Washington, used inmates at the Oregon State Prison in Salem to determine the effects of ionizing radiation on sperm produc tion and to determine minimum dose levels for initial effect and permanent damage. Sixty-seven healthy vol unteers ranging in age from 24 to 52 years were irradiated by x rays one or more times. Testicular absorbed doses ranged from 8 to 640 rads. Subjects were compensated for their participation and for each biopsy. All subjects who had not been previously vasectomized agreed to undergo a vasectomy at the conclusion of the study. All did so, receiving additional compensation. For details and a list of references, see OT-21, "Testicu lar Irradiation of Oregon State Prison Inmates," in Human Radiation Experiments Associated with the U.S. Department of Energy and Its Predecessors (213 pages), DOE/EH-0491, July 1995.
(59)Totter headed the AEC's Division of Biology and Medicine from 1967 to 1972. For the transcript of the Jan uary 23, 1995 interview with Totter, see DOE/EH-0481, Human Radiation Studies: Remembering the Early Years; Oral History of Biochemist John Randolph Totter, Ph.D. (September 1995).
(60)the DOE's 570-square-mile former site for plutonium production, located near Richland, Washington
(61) Lovelace Inhalation Toxicology Research Institute outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico (along one part of the Kirtland Air Force Base)
(62)products such as the elements strontium and cesium that are formed during the splitting of uranium atoms in a nuclear reactor
(63)Plutonium-238 has a half-life of 89.6 years; plutonium-239, 24,400 years.
(64)breaking or splitting off in chips or bits
(65)emitters of alpha particlespositively charged particles, each consisting of two protons and two neutrons, emitted in radioactive decay or nuclear fission; an alpha particle is the nucleus of a helium atom.
(66) A micron is a millionth of a meter or about one twenty-five-thousandth of an inch.
(67)a series of experimental reactors related to development of a direct-cycle nuclear rocket engine for propulsion of space vehicles. A Kiwi reactor went critical in 1965 and thereafter was shut down. Source: Directory of Nuclear Research Reactors, STI/PUB/853; International Atomic Energy Agency; 1989; Vienna; p. 788. While the program struggled on with development problems, most of its funding was cut in 1963. (Paul's note: Not clear: 1963 predates the accident.) For a detailed history see Linda Neuman Ezell; NASA Historical Data Book Vol. II: Programs and Projects 19581988; National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Washington, D.C.; 1988; pp. 47688.
(68)In January 1978, the Soviet military space satellite, Cosmos 954, broke up during an uncontrolled reentry and scattered radioactive parts and fuel from its on-board nuclear power plant over a 483-mile-wide swath in the vicinity of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Cosmos 954 was a Soviet radar ocean reconnaissance satellite (RORSAT) that had been sent into orbit to detect and track U.S. Navy aircraft carriers worldwide. Because the power demands of the satellite's radar exceeded the capability of solar power systems of the day, the Soviet low-earth-orbit RORSATs were powered by a small nuclear generator. The U.S.Canadian North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) detected the fact that Cosmos 954's orbit had experienced unplanned decay, leaving the time of reentry predictable to within a day, but the point of reentry impossible to foretell. Civilian emergency service organizations in many parts of the world were placed on secret alert (without being told why) until after the reentry. The crash of Cosmos 954 in Canada resulted in no reported human injuries. Under an existing treaty, the Soviet Union was liable for all costs asso ciated with cleanup. The event led to further international negotiation to limit the use of nuclear power in space. Later generations of Soviet RORSATs were redesigned to separate and boost their nuclear power plant into a higher parking orbit at the end of their mission life.
(69)the pouches or sacs opening from the intestinal wall
(70)fingerlike projections on the surface of the mucous membrane of the small intestine, that function to increase the area for the absorption, secretion, or exchange of materials; singular: villus
(71)an uncontrolled, abnormal, circumscribed growth of cells in any tissue; neoplasm
(72)For the transcript of the October 14, 1994 interview with Bair, see DOE/EH-0463, Human Radiation Stud ies: Remembering the Early Years; Oral History of Health Physicist William J. Bair, Ph.D. (June 1995).
(73)developed or maintained in a controlled, nonliving environment, such as a test tube
(74)pertaining to autoradiography, a technique whereby photographic film is placed over thinly sliced tissue to record, in image form, the radiation tracks from the tissue that pass through the film's emulsion
(75)a radioactive substance that emits electrons or positrons during radioactive decay
(76)emission of gamma particles, highly penetrating photons of high frequency, usually 1019 Hz or more, by an atomic nucleus
(77)a reference to HUMCO I, the first whole-body radiation counter that became operational at Los Alamos Na tional Laboratory in 1956; the sensitivity and noninvasiveness of this new instrument permitted studies at levels 10 to 100 times below established limits of exposure.
(78)From 1961 to 1962, Los Alamos conducted studies on the whole-body retention of strontium-85 in humans. Three male laboratory employees ingested 1.07 microcuries of strontium-85 in 100 milliliters of tap water. The studies showed that strontium-85, with its 65-day half-life, is suitable for studying short-term retention of fallout but not appropriate for long-term retention studies. The work was supported by the AEC. In LANL-18, "Retention of Strontium-85," in Human Radiation Experiments (DOE/EH-0491), The sole reference was authored by Furchner, Van Dilla, Rowe, and Richmond.
(79)For more on the concern about particles from nuclear-powered spacecraft and the Los Alamos human-radia tion experiments that ensued, see "Dr. Wright Langham's Postwar Studies of Plutonium" in the Don Petersen transcript (DOE/EH-0460), August 1995.
(80)a product of metabolism
(81)From 1944 to 1962, Los Alamos conducted 254 open-air implosion physics tests in nearby Bayo Canyon. The purpose of the program was to test weapons designs using conventional high explosives and radioactive lanthanum (RaLa), a short-lived but intense radiation source. Tests were performed specifically to diagnose material motion and compression through high-speed x-ray photographs of the earliest moments of the implo sion. The sources involved contained quantities ranging from around one hundred to several thousand curies of lanthanum-140. Source: "Environmental Releases of Radiation" in DOE/EH-0445, Human Radiation Experiments: The Department of Energy Roadmap to the Story and the Records, February 1995.
(82)an event in which a fissionable material unexpectedly undergoes a chain reaction
(84)an unexpected rapid increase in fission rate, resulting in the reactor "going critical"beginning a nuclear chain reaction
(85)a flat, padded table or stretcher with legs and wheels, for transporting patients or bodies
(86)The sodium iodide crystal would measure the trace radioemissions from the radioisotopes in Richmond's body. By knowing three valuesthe amount of radioisotopes in his body; his distance from the crystal; and the crystal's response to his radioactivity, the researchers could determine the crystal's response to radiation and roughly calculate, at a level many orders of magnitude higher, the amount of activity in Kelley's body.
(87)The SL-1 (Stationary Low-Power Reactor) was a 3-megawatt prototype military reactor that was being devel oped at the National Reactor Test Site in Idaho Falls, Idaho, as a power source for remote bases. On January 3, 1961, while a military crew of three was reconnecting control rods for a scheduled restart of the reactor, a steam explosion occurred that killed all three crew members. These were the first deaths caused by such a reactor accident in the United States. For an extended discussion of the SL-1 reactor accident, see "Fatal Worker Accident at Idaho's SL-1 Reactor (1961)" in DOE/EH-0454, Remembering the Early Years: Inter view With Dr. George Voelz, M.D. (May 1995). For a discussion of the recovery of the bodies, see "Investi gations of Radiological Accidents" in the Lushbaugh transcript (DOE/EH-0453).
(88)Petersen's chief responsibility was to determine the dose that the victims had received. For his account of Los Alamos's involvement, see "Postmortem Assistance Following the SL-1 Reactor Accident (1961)" in the Petersen transcript (DOE/EH-0460), August 1995.
(89)Pacific Northwest Laboratory in Richland, Washington, operated for the Department of Energy by Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio
(90)See the next section, "To the ORNL Division of Biomedicine and Environmental Sciences (1974)."
(91)Low-Exposure-Rate Total Body Irradiator. Clarence Lushbaugh directed the LETBI facility.
(92)Oak Ridge Associated Universities, the managing and operating contractor of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, formerly known as Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies (ORINS)
(93)In 1966, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) submitted recommendations to the Surgeon General's Office for the creation of what are now known as Institutional Review Boards (IRBs). IRBs review and approve medical research involving humans.
(94)Department of Health and Human Services (then called Department of Health, Education, and Welfare), a cabinet-level Federal agency
(95)See earlier footnote under "On Assignment to AEC Headquarters in Washington (196971)."
(96)From 1963 to 1973, the University of Washington, Seattle conducted studies on the effects of radiation on human testicular function, using inmates at the Washington State Prison in Walla Walla as subjects. Initially, 232 healthy volunteers were accepted into the study program. Sixty were subsequently irradiated with acute doses of x rays, ranging from 7.5 to 400 rads to the testes. Each selected inmate had expressed a desire to undergo a vasectomy at the conclusion of the study; 53 did so. All subjects eventually recovered to their nor mal preirradiation condition prior to vasectomy. The work was supported by the U.S. Atomic Energy Com mission. See OT-14, "Testicular Irradiation of Washington State Prison Inmates," in Human Radiation Ex periments Associated with the U.S. Department of Energy and Its Predecessors (213 pages), DOE/EH-0491, July 1995.
(97)According to OT-14 in Human Radiation Experiments (ibid.), tissue samples from the Washington State prisoner experiments (described in the preceding footnote) were analyzed at the Biology Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. OT-21 (Carl Heller's testicular studies of Oregon prisoners) does not state where tissue samples were analyzed.
(98)Don Petersen and other Los Alamos researchers allowed their own children to be used as subjects in experi ments involving radioiodine. See "Measuring Iodine-131 Uptake in Children (Circa 1963)" in the Petersen transcript (DOE/EH-0460).
(99)any of several cancers of the bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of white blood cells in the tissues, resulting in anemia, increased susceptibility to infection, and impaired blood clotting
(100)The U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration succeeded the AEC in the early '70s, and in turn was replaced by the DOE in 1977.
(101)an animal research laboratory, operated by the University of Tennessee's School of Agriculture. Situated five miles from ORINS (ORAU), CARL housed a total body irradiation (TBI) machine that was used to deliver massive doses of radiation, within minutes, to plants, seeds, and animals as large as cows placed in a large room. Oak Ridge Associated Universities used this facility when it began administering bone marrow trans plants. CARL was in operation by 1970.
(102)a pair of ductless glands, located above the kidneys, that produces steroidal hormones, epinephrine, and nor epinephrine
(103)surgical removal of the adrenal glands
(104)Form 189 (Research Proposal), a funding document used by the National Laboratories for preparation of short-form scientific proposals to the Atomic Energy Commission, and later the Energy Research and Devel opment Administration, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Department of Energy
(105)the branch of biology dealing with the functions and activities of living organisms and their parts
(106)Studies were conducted in 1961 by Lushbaugh and D.B. Hale at the Los Alamos to determine the absorption and retention of vitamin B12 labeled with 0.5 microcurie of cobalt-60 in humans, using the whole-body coun ter. See LANL-25, "Clinical Applications of Whole-Body Scintillometry for Determining Cobalt-60Labeled Vitamin B12 Absorption and Retention," in Human Radiation Experiments Associated with the U.S. Depart ment of Energy and Its Predecessors (213 pages), DOE/EH-0491, July 1995. At Oak Ridge in the 1950s and '60syears before Richmond's arrivalradiocobalt therapy was administered by the LETBI facility to male and female patients, all of whom had been diagnosed with hematologic malignancy. They were exposed to 50 roentgens or more per treatment series, using cobalt-60. See OR-8, ibid. In an ORINS study reported in 1961, researchers in the Medical Division investigated combined total-body irradiation and bone marrow transplants as a possible treatment of leukemia. Seven of the 11 subjects were children with acute leukemia of the primitive cell type. Nine of the subjects received various doses of radiation from cobalt-60 ranging from 210 to 940 rads in single administrations. See OR-27, ibid.
(107)National Council on Radiation Protection. Although the words "and Measurements" were later appended to the name, the council's initials remain NCRP.
(108)International Commission on Radiological Protection
(109)a community 15 miles southwest of the city of Brasilia. In September 1987, a radiotherapy unit with a cesium-137 source, that a clinic moving to new quarters had left behind without notifying authorities, was found by itinerant salvagers. They removed the radioactive source from the machine, and, through a combina tion of circumstances, the cesium-137 was spread through the community. The incident contaminated 249 people, four of whom died.
(110)Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site of the Medical and Health Sciences Division, Oak Ridge; maintains a registry for radiation accidents and trainers to come and learn how to treat people who may have been exposed to radiation
(113) For DOE's perspective on the need for a cleanup, see Closing the Circle on the Splitting of the Atom: The Environmental Legacy of Nuclear Weapons Production in the United States and What the Department of Energy is Doing About It (106 pages), DOE Office of Environmental Management, January 1995.