Dose Received by Workers

0bviously a nuclear power plant is a very complex system, with many regions containing sources of ionizing radiation. During shutdowns for refueling and so on, and during normal operation and maintenance, workers must follow set procedures to limit their exposure to values that are, hopefully, below those specified in the operating license for the plant. During routine operation, workers must properly handle radioactive effluents of the type described in the next section.

The radiation dose received by workers at nuclear power plants in the United States has decreased steadily since 1980.39 For PWR plants the median value for the man-rem dose per unit decreased from 417 in 1980 to 82 in 2000. The corresponding change in dose for BWR plants was from 859 to 150.

38As an example, for an LWR having a thermal output of 3000 MWt, a burnup of 33,000 MWd/MTHM, and a fuel load of 82 MTHM, the decay heat immediately after shutdown is about 160 MWt or about 5.4% of the operating power.

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