Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Health Physics and Diagnostic Sciences

First Committee Member

Gary Cerefice

Second Committee Member

Alexander Barzilov

Third Committee Member

Francis Cucinotta

Fourth Committee Member

Ralf Sudowe

Number of Pages



Bioassay programs are integral in a radiation safety program. They are used as a method of determining whether individuals working with radioactive material have been exposed and have received a resulting dose. For radionuclides that are not found in nature, determining an exposure is straightforward. However, for a naturally occurring radionuclide like uranium, it is not as straightforward to determine whether a dose is the result of an occupational exposure. The purpose of this project is to address this issue within the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’s (UNLV) bioassay program. This project consisted of two components that studied the effectiveness of a bioassay program in determining the dose for an acute inhalation of uranium. The first component of the plan addresses the creation of excretion curves, utilizing MATLAB that would allow UNLV to be able to determine at what time an inhalation dose can be attributed to. The excretion curves were based on the ICRP 30 lung model, as well as the Annual Limit Intake (ALI) values located in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s 10CFR20 which is based on ICRP 30 (International Commission on Radiological Protection). The excretion curves would allow UNLV to be able to conduct in-house investigations of inhalation doses without solely depending on outside investigations and sources. The second component of the project focused on the creation of a risk based bioassay program to be utilized by UNLV that would take into account bioassay frequency that depended on the individual. Determining the risk based bioassay program required the use of baseline variance in order to minimize the investigation of false positives among those individuals who undergo bioassays for uranium work. The proposed program was compared against an evaluation limit of 10 mrem per quarter, an investigational limit of 125 mrem per quarter, and the federal/state requirement of 1.25 rem per quarter. It was determined that a bioassay program whose bioassay frequency varies per person, depending on the chemical class of material being worked with, in conjunction with continuous air monitoring can sufficiently meet ALARA standards.


Bioassay Program; Inhalation; Respiratory Tract Model; University Laboratories; Uranium


Nuclear | Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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