DOE Openness: Human Radiation Experiments: Roadmap to the Project
ABC--Advanced Biomedical Science and Treatment Center (at LBL)
ACRH--Argonne Cancer Research Hospital(University of Chicago)
A1W--a prototype Naval reactor (at INEL)
ADOCS--(an INEL database)
AEC--[U.S.] Atomic Energy Commission
AEP--Atomic Energy Project (University of Rochester)
ALARA--as low as reasonably achievable
AUI--Associated Universities, Inc.
ANC---Aerojet Nuclear Company
ANL--Argonne National Laboratory (IL)
AWF--Argonne National Laboratory West Facility (ID)
BNL--Brookhaven National Laboratory (Upton, NY)
BORAX--Boiling Water Reactor Experiment (at INEL)
CAM--Committee on Aviation Medicine (of Donner Laboratory, Berkeley)
CDC--Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
CERT--Controlled Environmental Radioiodine Tests (at INEL); also: Controlled Environmental Release Tests (at INEL)
CERTLE--CERT Laboratory Experiments
CF--central files (a prefix used in ORNL reports and correspondence)
CFA--Central Facilities Area (at ID)
CHR--Center for Human Radiobiology (at ANL)
CIC--Coordinating and Information Center (Las Vegas)
CM--Chemistry and Metallurgy Division (at LANL)
CPP--Chemical Processing Plant
DBM--Division of Biology and Medicine (of the AEC)
DMA--Division of Military Applications (of AEC)
DOD--[U.S.] Department of Defense
DOE--[U.S.] Department of Energy
DTPA--diethylenetriamine penatacetic acid
E--Engineering Ordnance Division (at LANL)
EBR-1--Experimental Breeder Reactor 1 (at INEL)
EHS--Environmental Health Science (a type of appraisal conducted by AEC); see also RL
EIS--Environmental Impact Statement
EM--Environmental Management Division (at LANL)
EP--Experimental Physics Division (at LANL)
ER--Environmental Research Division (at ANL)
ERDA--Energy Research and Development Administration (successor to AEC)
EXCES--Experimental Cloud Exposure Study (at INEL)
FFTF--Fast Flux Test Facility
FPFRT--Fission Product Field Release Tests
FRC--Federal Records Center
GAC--General Advisory Committee (of AEC)
GE--General Electric Company
GM--General Manager (of AEC)
GMX-5--Dynamic Weapons Testing Division (at LANL)
H--Health Division (at LANL)
H-4--Biomedical Research Group of the Health Division (at LANL)
HEDR--Hanford Environmental Dose Reconstruction Project
HEW--[U.S. Department of] Health, Education, and Welfare (preceded U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
HR--Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resources (of DOE)
HS--Health and Safety Division (at LANL)
HSE--Health, Safety, and Environment Division (at LANL)
HTRE--Heat Transfer Reactor Experiments (at INEL)
ICPP--Idaho Chemical Processing Plant
IET--Initial Engine Test(s) [conducted at the AEC National Reactor Testing Station in Idaho for the ANP program]
IHDE--INEL Historical DOSE Evaluation
INEL--Idaho National Engineering Laboratory
IRB--Institutional Review Board
K-25--a facility in Oak Ridge, TN, originally built as a gaseous diffusion plant site for producing U235
K-27--a gaseous diffusion plant built near K-25
LAMPF--Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility
LANL--Los Alamos National Laboratory (NM)
LASL--Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (an early name for LANL)
LBL--Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (Berkeley, CA)
LDDT--Long Distance Diffusion Tests (at INEL)
LETBI--Low Exposure Total Body Irradiator (at Oak Ridge, TN); see also METBI
LIBRA--Light Ion Medical Research Accelerator (at LBL)
LLNL--Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA)
LMFBR--Liquid Metal Fast Breeder Reactor
LOFT--Loss of Fluid Test Facility (at INEL)
LRL--Lawrence Radiation Laboratory
LS--Life Sciences Division (at LANL)
MED--Manhattan Engineer District--the Manhattan Project
METBI--Medium Exposure Total Body Irradiator (at Oak Ridge, TN); see also LETBI
Met Lab--Metallurgical Laboratory (at University of Chicago)
MH&S--Medicine Health and Safety
M&O--management and operating
MON--a prefix denoting reports generated by Monsanto Corporation when it operated ORNL
NARA--U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
NASA--National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NCEH--National Center for Environmental Health (of CDC)
N-Division--Nuclear Rocket Propulsion Division (of LASC)
NEPA--Nuclear Energy for the Propulsion of Aircraft
NIH--National Institutes of Health
NOAA--National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (of the U.S. Department of Commerce)
NRC--Nuclear Regulatory Commission
NRF--Naval Reactors Facility (ID)
NRTS--National Reactor Testing Station (early name for INEL)
OHRE--Office of Human Radiation Experiments
OMRE--Organic Moderated Solvent Burning Experiment (at INEL)
OPEC--Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
ORAU--Oak Ridge Associated Universities
ORINS--Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies
ORISE--Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education
ORNL--Oak Ridge National Laboratory (TN)
ORO--Oak Ridge Operations Office (of DOE)
OSRD--[U.S.] Office of Scientific Research and Development
OSTI--Office of Scientific and Technical Information (of DOE)
PET--positron emission tomography
PNL--Pacific Northwest Laboratory (Richland, WA)
RaLa--radioactive lanthanum; also known as radio lanthanum
RDT--Relative Diffusion Tests (at INEL)
RESL--Radiological and Environmental Sciences Laboratory (at INEL)
RHTG--Records Holding Task Group (of Oak Ridge Operations Office)
RL--Richland Operations Office; see also EHS
ROTC--Reserve Officers Training Corps
S1W--a prototype naval reactor (INEL)
S5G--a prototype naval reactor (at INEL)
S-50--the liquid thermal diffusion plant built at Oak Ridge, TN in 1944 to enrich uranium feed material for Y-12
SFPHS--San Francisco Public Health Service
SL-1--Stationary Low-Power Reactor No.
1 (at INEL)
SNAP--System(s) for Nuclear Auxiliary Power
SNAPTRAN--SNAP10A Transient Test (at INEL)
SPERT--Special Power Excursion Reactor Tests (at INEL)
T--Theoretical Physics Division (at LANL)
TM--Technical Memoranda (an ORNL report series dating from 1974)
TNT--Transient Nuclear Test (at INEL)
UC--University of California
UCB--Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (at Donner Laboratory, Berkeley); see also LRL
USGS--U.S. Geological Survey
USPHS--United States Public Health Service
WBC--Whole Body Counter
X-10--a test pile plant built at Oak Ridge
Y-12--the industrial electromagnetic separation plant in Oak Ridge, TN, originally built to produce uranium-235
DEFINED BELOWare some technical terms relating to radiation.
Radioactivity--is the tendency of unstable atoms to undergo a spontaneous, energy-releasing change in their structure. The energy released is called radiation. It occurs at various energy levels. At a certain point, radiation energy is sufficient to strip electrons from the atoms in materials it strikes and is therefore called ionizing radiation. It is particularly dangerous for humans because these energy levels are such that they also can cause damage to living tissues.
Ionizing radiation may involve alpha particles, beta particles, gamma rays, x rays, or neutrons.
Alpha particles--An alpha particle is a high-energy particle with a very short range. It does not pose an external hazard because it cannot penetrate human skin. It may be stopped by a single sheet of paper. However, if inhaled or ingested, the particles come in direct contact with tissue cells and can cause severe damage. Accordingly, alpha particles present a serious internal hazard. Uranium, radium, and plutonium all emit alpha particles.
Beta particles--Beta particles exhibit a wide range of energy levels. Some have sufficient energy to penetrate human skin, and will cause skin burns. These particles can cause damage if inhaled or ingested. Beta particles can be stopped by plastic, aluminum, and wood. Tritium is one example of a beta emitter.
Gamma rays and x rays--Both of these are high-energy emissions that easily penetrate the human body. They are, therefore, dangerous in high amounts as external radiation hazards. They can be stopped by dense materials, such as lead, concrete, or steel. Gamma rays are produced by isotopes such as lanthanum-140, cesium-137, and cobalt-60. X rays are produced by medical x-ray tubes and the x-ray machines used to examine carry-on baggage at airports.
Neutrons--A neutron is a component of the nucleus of an atom. Neutron radiation can be harmful to living things. Neutrons are liberated in great numbers in a nuclear reactor, but they do not present a hazard to humans because they are absorbed by the heavy shielding that encloses the reactor. Neutrons are also emitted during the spontaneous decay of certain radionuclides such as californium-252.
Amount of radiation is expressed in several ways. A curie is a measure of activity, or the rate of disintegration of atoms undergoing change. This unit of measure is often expressed as millicuries (thousandths of a curie) or microcuries (millionths of a curie). A roentgen is a measure of the ionization of air by x rays or gamma rays.
Exposurerefers to being placed in a field of radiation energy. Dose refers to energy imparted per unit mass of tissue. A rad is a measure of the absorbed dose to tissue from exposure to radiation; that is, the amount of energy deposited per unit mass of tissue. A rem is a measure of dose equivalent in man. It is the dose in rads multiplied by a weighting factor to account for the more damaging effects of alpha particles and neutron radiation.
Background radiationrefers to the natural radiation to which people are exposed in daily life. It differs for different locations and different circumstances. Brick and wood homes emit different levels of background radiation. Cities at different elevations have different levels of background cosmic radiation. For example, the average annual dose from all sources to U.S. residents is estimated to be 200 millirems per year. However, the average dose to residents of Los Alamos, NM--a city at high elevation--is 330 millirems per year. A transcontinental airplane flight will result in a dose of about 4 millirems to a passenger. A standard chest x ray will result in a dose of about 10 millirems.
Occupational doserefers to the dose that people receive in their workplace. To provide for the safety of workers, the International Commission on Radiological Protection has established certain standards to limit the dose received by workers. Standards for minors are 10 percent of the dose for adults. These annual dose limits for radiation workers are:
By comparison, the annual dose limit for the general public (not radiation workers) set by the Commission is 0.1 rem. "
Appendix: Markey Report "Experiment List"
THE FOLLOWINGis a category and title list of experiments taken from American Nuclear Guinea Pigs: Three Decades of Radiation Experiments on U.S. Citizens. This 1986 report was prepared by the Subcommittee on Energy Conservation and Power of the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the U.S. House of Representatives. Known as the Markey Report, the report arranges experiments into 12 categories. Individual experiments are discussed in some categories, and not in others. A number of these "Markey experiments"have been reworked with more current information and references, and included in Chapter 3. Others are included by reference as part of this appendix.
Category 1: Metabolism and Biological Effects of Plutonium, Polonium, Thorium, Uranium, Radium, and Lead-212
Category 2: Testicular Irradiation
Category 3: Whole Body Irradiation for Treatment of Leukemia and Lymphoma
Category 4: Teletherapy with Particular Beams
Category 5: Other Teletherapy Studies
Category 6: Treatment of Polycythemia
Category 7: Hematological Effects
Category 8: Neutron Capture Therapy
Category 9: Other Radiation Therapy
Category 10: Biological Effects of I131
Category 11: Other Biological Effects Studies
Category 12:Metabolic and Physiological Studies
THIS BIBLIOGRAPHY lists a selection of the sources consulted for the overview history and the histories of individual sites. Note that many primary and secondary sources potentially useful for studying human radiation experiments exist apart from those listed here. All of the primary-source documents listed are available to the public. For copies, please mail requests to the following address:
Office of Human Radiation Experiments
1726 M Street N.W., Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036
Or call (202) 254-5020.
Primary Source Documents
U. S. Congress
Committee on Energy and Commerce, U. S. House of Representatives. Report. American Nuclear Guinea Pigs: Three Decades of Radiation Experiments on U. S. Citizens. November 1986.
Committee on Science and Technology, U. S. House of Representatives. Hearings on Human Total Body Irradiation (TBI) Program at Oak Ridge. September 23, 1981.
U.S. Department of Energy, Archives
Comptroller General of the United States. Report, Administration and Management of the Biology and Medicine Research Program, Atomic Energy Commission, April 16, 1969. U. S. Department of Energy Archives, Record Group 326, Atomic Energy Commission, Collection, Secretariat, Box 7827, Folder 10.
Letter, Carroll L. Wilson to Dr. Stafford L. Warren, April 30, 1947. U.S. Department of Energy Archives, Record Group 326, Atomic Energy Commission, Collection, General Manager, Box 5501, Folder April 1947 Reader File.
Letter, David Lilienthal to G.W. Beadle, August 6, 1947. U.S. Department of Energy Archives, Record Group 326, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Collection, Biology and Medicine (1129), Box 1, Folder 2.
Letter, Carroll L. Wilson to Robert S. Stone, November 5, 1947. U. S. Department of Energy Archives, Record Group 326, Atomic Energy Commission, Collection, General Manager, Box 5501, Folder 13.
Letter, Shields Warren to Leslie M. Redman, March 5, 1951. U. S. Department of Energy Archives, Record Group 326, Collection, Division of Biology and Medicine (1132), Box 3353, Folder 39.
Liverman, James L. Briefing on Plutonium Project, April 29, 1974. U.S. Department of Energy Archives, Record Group 326, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Collection, Secretariat, Box 7931, Folder 1.
Memorandum, O. G. Haywood, Jr. to File. Subject: Distribution of Report "The Distribution and Excretion of Plutonium in Two Human Subjects,"March 11, 1947. U. S. Department of EnergyArchives, Record Group 326, U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, General Manager, Box 5579, Folder Declassification General.
U. S. Atomic Energy Commission. Annual and Semiannual Reports to Congress, 1947-1975. U.S. Department of Energy Archives. Reference Collection.
U. S. Atomic Energy Commission. Report of the Board of Review, June 20, 1947. U.S. Department of Energy Archives, Record Group 326, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Collection, Division of Biology and Medicine (1129), Box 1, Folder 2.
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. Minutes of Limited Attendance Session 74-78A, May 14, 1974. U.S. Department of Energy Archives, Record Group 326, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Collection, Secretariat, Box 7937, Folder 13.
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. Minutes of Commissioners Executive Session, May 15, 1974. U.S. Department of Energy Archives, Record Group 326, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Collection, Commission Minutes, Box 3738, Folder 3.
U. S. Atomic Energy Commission. Division of Inspection, Report 44-2-326, Division of Biomedical and Environmental Research, Headquarters Activities Involving Injection of Individuals with Plutonium, August 16, 1974. U. S. Department of Energy Archives, Record Group 326, Collection, Division of Biology and Medicine (1709), Box 4, Folder, MH&S 3-9 Plutonium Injection Investigation.
U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. Information Report, August 13, 1974, SECY-75-130. U.S. Department of Energy Archives, Record Group 326, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Collection, Secretariat, Box 7979, Folder 12.
U. S. Atomic Energy Commission. "A Plan for the Expansion of Research in Biology and Medicine."A Report to the General Manager by the Director, Division of Biology and Medicine, AEC 604/35, August 4, 1958. U.S. Department of Energy Archives, Record Group 326, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Collection, Secretariat Files, Box 1360, Folder 1.
U. S. Department of Energy, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Memorandum, G.T. Seaborg to R.S. Stone, January 5, 1944. "Physiological Hazards of Working with Plutonium."Los Alamos Human Studies Project Team Release No. 94-365.
Letter, Thomas L. Shipman to Charles L. Dunham, June 18, 1956. Los Alamos National Laboratory Records Center, Collection TR-6704, Box G-3-236, Folder AEC Bio-Medical.
Letter, Charles L. Dunham to Thomas L. Shipman, July 5, 1956. Los Alamos National Laboratory Records Center, Collection, TR-6704, Box G-3-236, Folder AEC Bio-Medical.
U. S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge Operations Office
Letter, O. G. Haywood, Jr. to Dr. Fidler, April 17, 1947. Oak Ridge Operations Office Records Holding Area, Collection RHTG Files, Box 603.
U. S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education
Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies Medical Division, Information for Patients, n.d. but about 1952. Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Collection, Medical Correspondence and Committee Files, ORAU Document No. 30052.
U. S. Department of Energy, Office of Human Radiation Experiments
Memorandum, L.H. Hempelmann to R. J. Oppenheimer, March 26, 1945. "Meeting of Chemistry Division and Medical Group."Office of Human Radiation Experiments, Collection, Plutonium Injection Investigation Files, Box 3, Folder LA-1151 Plutonium in Man, 1950, Langham.
Martin Marietta Systems, Inc., Chronological Listing of Radiation Research Involving Human Subjects and Deliberate Environmental Releases at the Sites Currently Managed for the U. S. Department of Energy, 1994. Office of Human Radiation Experiments, Collection, Retrieval Project Administrative Files, Drawer, Laboratory/Sites, Progress Reports, Retrieval Visits, Folder ORNL/ORISE Experiments Lists.
U. S. Department of Energy, Pacific Northwest Laboratory
Jenne, D.E. and J.W. Healy. "Dissolving of Twenty Day Metal at Hanford,"HW 17381. Richland, Washington: General Electric Nucleonics Department, May 1, 1950.
National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC
Warren, Stafford L. AReport of the January 23-24, 1947 "Meeting of the Interim Medical Committee of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission."National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 326, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Collection, Secretary's General Correspondence File, 1946-1951, Box 22, Folder 337 (1-28-47), Interim Medical Advisory Committee Meetings and Agenda.
National Archives and Records Administration, Atlanta, GA
Interim Advisory Committee on Isotope Distribution Policy. Minutes of the Advisory Subcommittee on Human Applications of the Interim Advisory Committee on Isotope Distribution Policy, June 28, 1946. National Archives and Records Administration, Atlanta Archives, Collection 326-681096, Box 3, Folder Isotopes.
University of Washington
Memorandum, Stafford L. Warren to W.D. Fleming, September 9, 1946. "Recommendations of Medical Advisory Committee, September 5-6, 1946."University of Washington Manuscripts Division, Herbert M. Parker Papers, Accession 3616, Box 5, Folder 1949.
Ackerknecht, Erwin H., M.D. A Short History of Medicine. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992.
Brookhaven National Laboratory. The First Forty Years, 1947-1987.Upton, Long Island, New York: Associated Universities, Inc., no publication date given.
Cassedy, James H. Medicine in America: A Short History. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.
Faden, Ruth R. and Tom L. Beauchamp. A History and Theory of Informed Consent. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.
Hawkins, David. Project Y: The Los Alamos Story. Los Angeles: Tomash Publishers, 1983.
Hewlett, Richard G. and Jack M. Holl. Atoms for Peace and War. 1953-1961: Eisenhower and the Atomic Energy Commission. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.
Hewlett, Richard G. and Oscar E. Anderson Jr. The New World: A History of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, vol. 1, 1939-1946. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, 1972.
Hewlett, Richard G. and Francis Duncan. Atomic Shield: A History of the Atomic Energy Commission, vol. 2, 1947-1952.
Washington, D.C.: U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, 1972.
Hoddeson, Lillian, et al. Critical Assembly: A Technical History of Los Alamos during the Oppenheimer Years, 1943-1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
Jones, Vincent C.Manhattan: The Army and the Atomic Bomb, Special Studies, U.S. Army in World War II. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1985.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Preparing for the 21st Century: 40 Years of Excellence. (Prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy by the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, contract no. W-7405-ENG-48). No publication place or date given.
Mazuzan, George T. and J. Samuel Walker. Controlling the Atom: The Beginnings of Nuclear Regulation, 1946-1962. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.
Rothman, David J. Strangers at the Bedside: A History of How Law and Bioethics Transformed Medical Decision Making. New York: BasicBooks, 1991.
Stannard, J. Newell. Radioactivity and Health: A History. Pacific Northwest Laboratory: Battelle Memorial Institute, 1988.
Walker, Samuel J. Containing the Atom: Nuclear Regulation in a Changing Environment, 1963-1971.Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.
Warren, Stafford L.
"The Role of
Radiology in the Development of the Atomic Bomb,"In Radiology in World War II,
Medical Department, U.S. Army, ed. by Kenneth D. A. Allen. Washington, D.C.:
Government Printing Office, 1966.