U.S. Transuranium and Uranium Registries
Conducting a multi-faced program that studies the biokinetics and dosimetry of the actinide elements in humans, the USTUR is a major contributor to radiological protection guidelines and methodologies for assessing human exposure to these radioactive elements. This is important to DOE because the occupational exposures of DOE workers continue to include the potential for internal deposition of materials containing uranium and plutonium through inhalation, ingestion or injection. Doses from these depositions cannot be directly measured, but are calculated from a variety of measurements, techniques, and computer models.
Radiochemical analyses of tissues voluntarily donated posthumously by occupationally-exposed USTUR registrants reveal how plutonium and uranium are metabolized and distributed through the body. USTUR combines this information with data from each registrant's employment, exposure, and medical histories to have a comprehensive set of real-life, human data that are used to develop and improve internal dosimetry modeling approaches that are applicable to radiation workers, as well as for members of the public who may be exposed during an accidental or intentional radiological dispersal event.
The National Human Radiology Tissue Repository (NHRTR) and the National Radiobiology Archive (NRA), for animal tissues, are two additional USTUR components that provide stewardship of specialized collections of human or animal tissues, histopathology slides, and research materials related to USTUR and other DOE-sponsored radiation studies. These materials are preserved, catalogued and made available to qualified scientists wishing to perform actinide micro-distribution or molecular studies utilizing deeply frozen tissues containing plutonium or uranium.
Supported by a DOE grant to Washington State University, USTUR embodies a unique combination of capabilities and facilities in an academic setting that provides opportunity for students and university personnel to participate in USTUR research and specialized analytical projects. Additionally, the Registries are guided by an
external Scientific Advisory Committee, comprised of six individuals (http://www.ustur.wsu.edu/SAC/advisory.html) with expertise in pertinent disciplines. Oversight by this Committee and interaction with academics ensure the quality and independence of USTUR research.
DOE Liaison: Joey Zhou