United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries Studies of Occupational Exposure

Dr. Anthony James
Washington State University
United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries

Beginning in the 1960’s with the mission of acquiring and providing precise information about the effects of plutonium and other transuranic elements in man, the USTUR has followed up to ‘old age’ almost 500 volunteer Registrants who worked at weapons sites and received measurable internal doses.  While failing (despite careful life-time follow-up) to demonstrate deleterious health effects attributable to transuranic elements, USTUR research, based on these real human data from DOE workers, continues its contributions to the development of the biokinetic models used internationally to assess intakes from bioassay data and predict tissue doses.

There is still much to learn from the Registries’ 370 deceased tissue donors and the 110 still-living Registrants, whose average age is now about 76 years (youngest 34.7 y, oldest 95.4 y).  This paper outlines the objectives and progress of USTUR’s current 5-y research program, including the application of registrant case data to (i) quantify the variability in behavior of transuranic materials among individuals; (ii) validate new methodologies used at DOE sites for assessing ‘realistic’ tissue doses in individual cases; (iii) model the effectiveness of chelation therapy, and (iv) examine the adequacy of protection standards utilized for plutonium workers in the early years of the nuclear industry.