Three areas are targeted as offering major challenges to the health physicists of the future. One area is in the influx of new technologies, such as laser isotope separation (LIS) and its resultant impact on dosimetry. The LIS process, while generally reducing exposures, also has side effects that make it difficult to detect internal Pu contamination with present methods. Specifically, the LIS process will remove the 241Pu and its 241Am decay product, which is the estimator for Pu, from the 239Pu stream. A second area involves the requirements now being developed for waste management, which also challenges health physicists by insisting upon safe environments for workers who handle waste products while mandating confirmation and cleanup of hazardous wastes. Thus, developing remote inspection techniques will be vital for personnel protection. Finally, military health physicists are faced with the challenges posed to the civilian professionals as well as challenges unique to the military, such as the education of future health physicists to meet the complex military needs.
©1988Health Physics Society