DOE Openness: Human Radiation Experiments: Roadmap to the Project
3 the positively charged mass within an atom, composed of neutrons and protons and possessing most of the mass but occupying only a small fraction of the volume of the atom. Physicists sought to release enormous quantities of energy by splitting the nucleus of a hydrogen atom, generating a chain reaction.
5For more than a half-century, Herbert M. Parker was a leading force in radiological physics. He was codeveloper of a systematic dosimetry scheme for implant therapy and the innovative proposer of radiological units with unambiguous physical and biological bases. He made seminal contributions to the development of scientifically based radiation protection standards and helped the Hanford Laboratories achieve prominence in radiation biology, radioactive waste disposal, and characterization of environmental radioactivity. For his inside view of the maturation of medical physics and the birth and evolution of the parallel field of health physics, see R.L. Kathren, R.W. Baalman, and W.J. Bair; Herbert M. Parker: Publications and Other Contributions to Radiological and Health Physics; Columbus, Ohio: Battelle Press; 1986; ISBN 0-935470-36-0; 864 pages.
6a unit of radiation dosage equal to the amount of ionizing radiation required to produce one electrostatic unit of charge of either sign per cubic centimeter of air; named for Wilhelm Konrad Roentgen, 18451923, German physicist, who discovered x rays in 1895 and received the Nobel Prize in Physics
11A related account of the work and personalities of this instrumentation group can be found in "Determining Safe Doses for Ionizing Radiation at Chicago (1943)" and "Developing New Dosimetry Instrumentation" in DOE/EH-0475, Human Radiation Studies: Remembering the Early Years; Oral History of Health Physicist Karl Z. Morgan, Ph.D. (June 1995).
12E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company constructed and operated the Hanford site in Washington state from 1943 to 1946 for the Manhattan Project. The X-10 facility in Oak Ridge, a pilot reactor and plutonium production plant, was also built by Du Pont. Du Pont and the Harshaw Chemical Company of Cleveland produced uranium hexafluoride on a scale sufficient to keep the vital isotope separation research going.
13During 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 assumed control of these facilities upon its creation and, today, they belong to the Department of Energy.
15Dr. Arthur Compton, University of Chicago, a key member of the scientific team that established the Manhattan Project. Early in 1942, as part of the emerging effort to develop an atomic bomb, Dr. Vannevar Bush, head of the National Defense Research Committee, appointed Compton to be one of three program chiefs with responsibility to run chain reactions and develop weapons theory. As a result, under Arthur Compton the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago became a critical research facility for the Manhattan Project.
17Stagg Field was the University of Chicago's football field. Laboratories below Stagg's west grandstand became the site of the first self-sustained nuclear chain reaction achieved by a team led by Dr. Enrico Fermi on December 2, 1942.
22Eugene Paul Wigner (190295), U.S. physicist born in Hungary; one of a number of European scientists who had fled to the United States in the 1930s to escape Nazi and Fascist repression. For discussions of Wigner's years at Oak Ridge, see the Morgan transcript.
26For the transcript of the interview with Mr. Healy, see DOE/EH-0455, Human Radiation Studies: Remembering the Early Years; Oral History of John W. Healy (May 1995).
27C.M. Patterson was born December 24, 1913 in Fairfield, Nebraska. He received a B.S. in Pharmacy from the University of Nebraska. From 1944 to 1951, he served as Supervisor of Radiation Protection at Hanford Works. From 1951 to 1978 he was the Health Physics Superintendent at the Savannah River plant. Patterson served as president of the Health Physics Society from 1962 to 1963.
29The X-10 pile was a graphite cube, 24 feet square. It had been drilled with 1,248 channels that could be loaded with uranium slugs. Large fans blew cooling air through these channels. (Source: Richard Rhodes; The Making of the Atomic Bomb; New York: Simon and Schuster; 1986, p. 547)
31According to Karl Morgan in his oral history, Dr. Wollan spent most of his time developing fiber dosimeterssmall electrometers with a fiber that moves across the scale proportional to the dose administered to the instrument.
32Karl Morgan recalls, in "Creating a Health Physics Division (194344)": "The  Nobel prize in Physics was given to one of [Wollan's] students there who he educated and trained in neutron diffraction techniques. Had he lived and were he alive today, he would be the principal recipient of that Nobel prize in Physics. Of course, that has been acknowledged." (Morgan transcript, DOE/EH-0475)
33a noble gas; symbol Xe. The isotope 135Xe is created as a fission product in some reactors. Xenon-135 nuclei absorb neutrons. The presence of 135Xe in a reactor will slow down the chain reaction, until the isotope decays. This effect is known as "xenon poisoning."
34the National Laboratory near Santa Fe, New Mexico, where nuclear bombs were assembled before and during the Cold War; operated by the University of California for the U.S. Department of Energy. Since World War II, Los Alamos has been a research and development center for nuclear weapon designs and other scientific studies.
36A professor of Radiology at the University of Rochester (Rochester, New York), site of research involving plutonium and human subjects, Dr. Warren left Rochester to work on the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge as head of the medical section and headed an Intramedical Advisory Committee. After World War II, he became dean of the University of California, Los Angeles Medical School.
37In 1943 Friedell became the Executive Officer of the Manhattan Engineer District Medical Division. For the transcript of the January 28, 1995 interview with Friedell, see DOE/EH-0466, Human Radiation Studies: Remembering the Early Years; Oral History of Radiologist Hymer L. Friedell, M.D., Ph.D. (July 1995).
42A millirem is one-thousandth of a rem. A rem is a unit of radiation dose equivalent, or "rads times the quality factor, Q." The limits for occupational exposure of workers to radiation range from 2 to 5 rem per year for most countries.
43Scientists at this point of time were not aware that radioiodine depositing on pasture land, ingested by dairy cows, transferred to milk, and ingested by man (and children) would constitute a major intake pathway, leading to excessive concentrations in human thyroids. For a discussion of attempts to monitor the milk-to-man iodine cycle at Hanford, see "Unknown Health Hazards From Fallout" and "Monitoring Livestock Exposure" in the John Healy transcript (DOE/EH-0455, May 1995).
47In the late 1950s and early '60s, several contractors worked on the development of nuclear-reactorpowered jet engines for long-range military aircraft. The projects were funded by the AEC and the Department of Defense, and the contractors included General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, and others. Engines were built in Connecticut (Pratt & Whitney) and Ohio (GE), and some were tested at the National Reactor Testing Station in Idaho. Also known as the NEPA (Nuclear Engine for the Propulsion of Aircraft) program, the nuclear aircraft program was cancelled by President Kennedy because problems with engine weight and crew shielding, as well as design philosophy disagreements, were halting progress.
48a substance that slows (moderates) or thermalizes neutrons coming from the fission reaction, increasing the probability of their causing additional fissions in sustaining the chain reaction. In modern reactors, water is used as the neutron moderator.
53Operation Green Run is discussed in Human Radiation Experiments: The Department of Energy Roadmap to the Story and the Records (310+ pages), (DOE/EH-0445, February 1995). For more on the Green Run, with an emphasis on its military purpose and the involvement of the U.S. Air Force, see the John Healy interview transcript (DOE/EH-0455, May 1995).
59Feed Materials Production Center, a uranium processing facility near Cincinnati, Ohio, that was part of the defense nuclear fuel cycle. Former workers have filed a class-action suit, claiming they had not been informed of the dangers of working with uranium; for a detailed discussion of the Fernald suit, see DOE/EH-0456, Human Radiation Studies: Remembering the Early Years; Oral History of Merril Eisenbud (May 1995).
60In 1963, milk from dairy cows fed iodine-131 was consumed by eight General Electric/Hanford workers either as a single dose or as several daily doses. During the study, the amount of iodine in the cows' diet was increased from 5 milligrams per day to 2 grams per day. The resulting uptake by the human thyroid was determined in Hanford's whole-body counter facility. Participants were Hanford scientists who had volunteered to drink the milk and be counted over a period of approximately 1 month. This work was supported by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. Source: "HS-1: Ingestion of Iodine-131 in Milk by Hanford Employees," in Human Radiation Experiments Associated with the U.S. Department of Energy and Its Predecessors (213 pages), DOE/EH-0491, July 1995.
65Radioactivity and Health: A History, Office of Scientific and Technical Information, October 1988. Currently published by Battelle Press, Columbus, Ohio; 2,010 pages in three volumes; ISBN 0-87079-590-2. Stannard wrote the book in response to the need for a definitive review of the biomedical research directed toward understanding the behavior and effects of radioactive materials in the biosphere. Sponsored by the DOE's Office of Health and Environmental Research, Radioactivity and Health documents the development of professional knowledge in this area from before the eighteenth century into the early 1980s. Presented in a narrative style and generously illustrated, the book includes anecdotal material and explains the role played by the principal men, women, and institutions. Extensive indexing by the author and editor make it easy to find specific subjects, people, places, and events.
71In the United States, an individual's exposure to background radiation averages about 350 millirem per year; the amount will vary with elevation and other factors. Daily fluctuations in the background occur proportionately with the amount of cosmic radiation striking the earth.
73In 1956 and 1958, British epidemiologist Alice Stewart had written articles claiming that a dose as small as half a rad to a rad received by children in utero would raise by more than 50 percent the risk of cancer in the first 10 years of life. She and John Gofman later became professional friends. For a discussion of their friendship, see "The Low-Dosage Harm Controversy" in the Gofman transcript (DOE/EH-0457), June 1995.
75The problem is that the liquid wastes contained corrosives that ate through some of the tanks, allowing some liquid leakage into the ground. The single-shell tanks have been replaced with double-wall tanks.
78John Gofman, a physician and biophysicist, held that there is no safe level of radiation exposure. Gofman's public views and outspoken style brought him into frequent conflict with the AEC. For Gofman's account of these conflicts, see "The Controversy Over Nuclear-Armed Antiballistic Missiles (1969)," "Testifying Before Congress on Radiation Effects," and other sections in DOE/EH-0457, Human Radiation Studies: Remembering the Early Years; Oral History of Dr. John W. Gofman, M.D. (June 1995).
79At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Cohn was a senior biochemist in the Biology Division, where he investigated the radiotoxicity of fission products. For the transcript of the interview with Cohn, see DOE/EH-0464, Human Radiation Studies: Remembering the Early Years; Oral History of Biochemist Waldo E. Cohn, Ph.D. (June 1995).
81[Herbert M.] Parker was thus to become the principal architect of the Health Physics program at Clinton Laboratories [Oak Ridge, Tennessee], providing for development of suitable instruments and standards for the measurement and control of radiation. He served as head of the fledgling Clinton Laboratories Health Physics Organization in 1943, and, along with Ernest O. Wollan, a cosmic-ray physicist, and Carl C. Gamertsfelder, he was one of the original three to bear the title of 'health physicist' . . . His group later included several who would make their mark in the new profession of health physics, in no small measure due to his influence . . . [including] Karl Z. Morgan, longtime head of the Health Physics Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory [as Clinton Laboratories came to be known] . . ." Source: Herbert M. Parker: Publications and Other Contributions to Radiological and Health Physics; edited by R.L. Kathren, R.W. Baalman, and W.J. Bair; Columbus, Ohio: Battelle Press, 1986.