Georgian Health Physics Association

Georgian Chapter - U.S. Health Physics Society

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GHPA and Future of Health Physics Profession in Georgia

Posted by Georgian Health Physics Association on August 13, 2015 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (0)
George Tabatadze 08-11-2015 for "HP news"

In January 2015, the HPS International Collaboration Committee (ICC) held the phone conference during which ICC members discussed the upcoming HPS 60th annual meeting activities, including plans for the ICC special session. It was particularly challenging to compile a list of international speakers. I immediately saw an opportunity for Dr. Chelidze, president-elect of the Georgian Health Physics Association (GHPA), to speak about current issues with radiation safety in Georgia. Fortunately, my initiative was fully supported by the committee. At the same time, Dr. Chelidze was awarded 2015 G. William Morgan lectureship. Therefore, she was privileged to present two topics: “Legacy of Radioactive Waste Management in Georgia: Trends and Current Situation” at the ICC special session and “Future of the Medical Health Physics Profession in Georgia” during the plenary session.


Dr. Chelidze presented a very detailed outline of all challenges Georgia has been facing in many areas of the radiation protection field, including orphan sources, waste management, and medical radiation safety. These problems, among many other factors, historically induced by ineffective radiation safety practices, were aggravated by lack of the radiation protection experts in Georgia; radiation safety duties were performed by professionals from various science disciplines such as physics, chemistry, and biology. These people were experts in their own field but had insufficient interdisciplinary experience that is essential for the modern-day health physicist. Additionally, radiation safety regulations were inadequate and in many cases – non-existent. Luckily, main radiation safety activities during the past two decades were supported by international organizations and partner government agencies: IAEA, European Union, U.S. Department of Energy Department of Defense, Department of State, and Health Physics Society – to mention a few. Although radiation protection activities were performed with an adequate oversight from international observers, necessity for a long term solution aimed at sustainability of the field was obvious.


The first step towards recognition of our profession was made in early 2000s, when a few Georgian students at the Idaho State University health physics program helped establishing the GHPA to promote the health physics profession and radiation safety culture in Georgia. It would not be possible without the support from Roy Dunker (ISU), and an initial inspiration received from HPS president Brian Dodd who suggested forming a society and popularizing the HP profession in Georgia. In 2007, GHPA was officially recognized as Georgian Chapter of the Health Physics Society.


A decade later, GHPA is acknowledged with ever influential membership in Georgia. Two HPS presidents Darrel Fisher and Barbara Hamrick visited the Georgian chapter during past years, supporting and strengthening ties between the two organizations. The same time, “Health Physics” as both profession and practice has also taken root in Georgia. Currently, Georgian government aims to reformulate all nuclear and radiation safety laws under one roof. “A one-stop-shop for all radiation safety regulations - a dream for all of us in the US may become a reality in Georgia!” – Roy Dunker shouted joyfully when he first learned about the initiative. The realization that formal training and standards of practice need to be established and reinforced by law has finally arrived. Concurrently, the Georgian Academy of Science Radiation Safety and Health Physics Committee has identified the urgent need for programs designed to build and maintain competencies of radiation safety professionals and, as an immediate objective, proposed to the Ministry of Education to formally implement education curricula, training objectives and certification for medical radiation safety professionals in Georgia. There is no mistake made by emphasizing medical radiation safety – this field is the primary user of radioactive sources and radiation producing machines in the country. Medical facilities are also the largest generators of the radioactive waste. The Academy also recognized Health Physics as a profession. These recommendations translated into efforts to establish the Health/Medical Physics program in Tbilisi State University (TSU), with input and cooperation from TSU Medical School and Georgian Academy of Science Research Institute of Clinical Medicine among others.


GHPA has come a long way since conception and with greater and continued support from HPS and its membership so will the health physics profession in Georgia. Today, with initiation of the health physics program in TSU, you are looking at the blank canvas and possibilities are only limited by your imagination. I am asking all of you to share your experience with Georgian colleagues to build a successful HP program in this country. If you are inspired by the story and decide to act on it with ideas, suggestions, or any other type of support (for instance, health physics book donations), please do not hesitate to contact GHPA. Finally, I hope that one day we all gather for our HPS annual conference in Georgia.


Barbara Hamrick and Roy Dunker Visit Georgian Chapter

Posted by Georgian Health Physics Association on January 15, 2014 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Roy Dunker

It has been a few months since I last visited Tbilsi and although some time has elapsed since this October 2013 visit I want to update everyone as to what is going on with the health physics chapter there. I have a bit of history with the Georgian Health Physics Association (GHPA), and maintain contact with its members. Most of you may be more familiar with GHPA as it is often referred to as the Georgian Health Physics Chapter. Ten years ago in San Diego, Brian Dodd first suggested to a few Idaho State University health physics students from the Republic of Georgia and me that we should help form a Georgian Chapter of the Health Physics Society. Here we are, ten years later with a recognized and ever influential membership in Georgia. I want to share with you a few highlights of my most recent visit and my impressions of Georgian Health Physics at the present milestone.

I typically visit with members in Tbilisi whenever I happen to find myself in-country. Shortly after the 2013 HPS annual meeting I contacted President-Elect Barbara Hamrick to inform her that in early October I would be in Tbilisi on vacation and asked if she would like to plan a Georgian chapter visit during this time. Barbara enthusiastically agreed, and so we made plans with GHPA to visit from October 6 to 11. GHPA loosely repeated the agenda of Darrel Fisher’s visit in January of 2013 for their second President-elect visit, and Barbara was the ideal HPS ambassador for this visit. It turns out, quite by coincidence, that the major theme for Barbara’s visit would be regulation and medical radiation safety. Her background in law and medical health physics, not to mention her appreciation of wine, went a long way to contributing to constructive discussions with the membership and others performing similar jobs in Georgia.

Since Darrel Fisher’s inaugural HPS President-Elect visit this past January, there have been governance and regulatory changes in Georgia which will affect the way radiation protection professionals can function in Georgia. “Health Physics” as a profession, discipline and practice has taken root. The current GHPA vice president Lia Chelidze has been appointed as Head of Department of Nuclear and Radiation Safety within the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Georgia and is tasked with overseeing the reformulation of all nuclear and radiation safety law under one roof in Georgia. Imagine how nice that would be if we had the luxury of a one-stop-shop for all our all radiation safety regulations! Currently the priority area of emphasis in this regulation rewrite is in regard to medical health physics. To support Georgia’s ‘100 Equality of Care Hospitals Initiative’ and aspirations to become an EU member, the realization that formal training and standards of practice need to be reformulated and mandated in law has arrived. On a similar theme, the Georgian Academy of Science has commissioned a committee, headed by GHPA member George Japaridze, to address nuclear energy and radiation safety problems in Georgia. This commission’s immediate objective is to advise Parliament and the Ministry of Education as to how to formally implement education curricula, training objectives and certification for medical radiation safety professionals in Georgia. Barbara and I had the pleasure to be invited by this commission to meet and share thoughts not only with this commission but with the president of the academy as well. Prior to this particular meeting Barbara had brought with her to Georgia two new copies of Cember’s Introduction to Health Physics. These were gifts from HPS to GHPA. One copy made its way to this commission and the gratitude of this simple gift was so warmly expressed that I feel I compelled to re-mention the idea of a text book donation program which Darrel Fisher previously initiated. Do you have an unused recent edition of a text? What edition of the Rad Health Handbook do you have collecting dust on your bookshelf? If you have any useful texts that you would like to donate please feel free to contact me and I will find out who will be traveling to Georgia and is able to take one or two with them.

To get a feel of the state of medical health physics practice in Georgia, Nino Kobalia (PhD student), Chief Medical Physicist, hosted us at the "Research Institute of Clinical Medicine". This center is the most modern in Georgia and coincidently is on nearly the same time schedule to commission a new Varian medical accelerator of the same model as Barbara’s home employer, University of California Irvine Medical Center.

The official meeting with the chapter took place on at the Andronikashvili Institute of Physics and a clear awareness was made that GHPA continues to face all the challenges of maintaining an active chapter as we do here in the US except they have the added challenges of language, distance, inconsistent employment of the membership and inadequate resources for professional development to say the least. The time has come in the development of Health Physics in Georgia that we as a society can look within at what we can do to promote chapter development with consideration of these unique challenges in Georgia.

I simply suggest that when any of you meet any of the Georgian health physics professionals here in the USA, please congratulate them on GHPA development and encourage their commitment to further developing this chapter and the profession in Georgia. If you don’t already know them, their names are Maia Avtandilashvili , Nino Chelidze, George Kharashvili, Vakho Makarashvili, George Tabatadze and Levan Tkvadze. These US graduated Health Physics professionals are the best conduit and hope for GHPA towards developing funding opportunities for sustainability of the health physics profession in Georgia, so if you are in the position of developing or participating in a cooperative grant proposal, please bounce an idea or two off any of these young professionals. In fact if you have any particular thoughts or words of encouragement you may comment via the MEMBERS/FORUMS section of the GHPA website.

GHPA has come a long way since conception and with greater and continued support from HPS and its membership so will the health physics profession in Georgia.

On a lighter note, when you see Barbara take a moment to ask her of her time in Tbilisi and her impressions of the GHPA and especially inquire of her opinion of the local cuisine, Kinkali,(Georgian dumplings), the local tomatoes, the wine and how the smoking regulations compare with those of California. You just may be inspired to visit as well.


Radioactive scrap metal found in Batumi Port

Posted by Georgian Health Physics Association on April 5, 2011 at 6:42 PM Comments comments (0)

The staff of the Batumi port has been evacuated after the experts confirmed radiation in the scrap metal in the port. The brigades of the emergency service are working in the port, the additional groups of experts have been sent from Tbilisi to Batumi. The port has been closed and people are prohibited to enter its territory.
     The harbor has been also closed and people evacuated from the territory.
     The representatives of the emergency service abstain from releasing information about the radioactive metals, which were discovered in the freight railway wagon. The type of the radioactive substance is supposed to cesium-137, which the experts assert is not dangerous for health.


რადიაციის მონიტორინგი საქართველოში

Posted by Georgian Health Physics Association on March 25, 2011 at 12:33 AM Comments comments (0)

იაპონიაში 11 მარტს მომხდარ დამანგრეველ მიწისძვრას და ცუნამს მოჰყვა რიგი აფეთქებები ფუკუშიმა 1–ის ატომურ ელექტროსადგურზე და რადიაქტიური ნივთიერებების გაჟონვა ატმოსფეროში. საქართველოში ამის თაობაზე დაბეჭდილი სტატიების უმეტესობა სპეკულირებს იდეით, რომ რადიაციის “მოღწევა” საქართველომდე “პრაქტიკულად შეუძლებელია, მაგრამ თეორიულად დასაშვებია.” თუმცა რა აძლევთ შესაძლებლობას ამ სტატიების ავტორებს გამოიტანონ ეს დასკვნები ჩემთვის გაუგებარია. ყოველ შემთხვევაში ნამდვილად ვიცი რომ აღნიშნული დასკვნები არ ეფუძნება არანაირ გაზომვებსა თუ ცდებს. მინდა გაგაცნოთ მხოლოდ ფაქტები ფუკუსიმაში მიმდინარე მოვლენებზე და მათ ზაგავლენაზე რადიაციულ ფონზე მსოფლიოში, დასკვნები კი იმის შესახებ მიაღწევს თუ არა რადიაცია საქართველომდე მკითხველს მივანდოთ. თუმცა აქვე მინდა აღვნიშნო რომ რადიაციული უსაფრთხოების სამსახური უფრო სერიოზულად უნდა მოეკიდოს საქართველოში რადიაციული ფონის ადგილზე შემოწმებას და ფილოსოფიური სპეკულაციების ნაცვლად დასკვნები გამოიტანონ რეალური მონაცემებიდან. ამ დრომდე ფუკუშიმას ატომურ ელექტროსადგურზე მომუშავე ჯგუფი ცდილობს საწვავის გაგრილებას როგორც რეაქტორებში ასევე გადამუშავებული საწვავის გამაგრილებელ რეზერვუარებში იმისთვის რომ თავიდან იქნას აცილებული მორიგი რადიაქტიული მასალის გამოფრქვევა ატმოსფეროში. თუმცა ბოლო ინფორმაციით რეაქტორების მიმდებარე ტერიტორიაზე, 20 კილომეტრის რადიუსში, რადიაციის დონე 1600–ჯერ აღემატება ნორმას. ასევე რადიოაქტიური იოდი (I-131) აღმოჩენილ იქნა სხვადასხვა საკვებ პროდუქტში, მაგალითად: რძეში და ისპანახში. იოდის კვალი ასევე აღმოჩენილია სასმელ წყალში. ფუკუშიმას თავზე წარმოქმნილი რადიოაქტიური ნივთიერებების ღრუბელი ქარმა გაავრცელა სხვასასხვა ქვეყნების მიმართულებით. დღესდღეობით ჰაერში რადიოაქტიური იოდის შემცველობა დაფიქსირდა ა.შ.შ–ში, კერძოდ კი შემდეგ შტატებში: კალიფორნია, ვაშინგტონი და აიდაჰო. აიდაჰოში იოდის კონცენტრაციამ ჰაერში მიაღწია 0.5 პიკოკიურის კუბურ მეტრში. მართალია ეს კონცენტრაცია ძალიან მცირეა და არ წარმოადგენს საფრთხეს ადამიანის ჯანმრთელობისთვის, მაგრამ რადიოაქტიური ფონის ყოველდღიური მონიტორინგი მნიშვნელოვანია უფრო დიდი საფრთხის შემთხვევაში დროული რეაგირებისთვის. აქედან გამომდინარე კიდევ ერთხელ ვეკითხები რადიაციული უსაფრთხოების სამსახურს: თუ რადიაციამ მიაღწია ამერიკამდე, რომელიც უფრო შორსაა იაპონიიდან ვიდრე საქართველო, რა გვაძლევს იმის საფუძველს ვიფიქროთ რომ საქართველო რადიაციისგან დაცულია?

Container of caesium 137 found in Tbilisi

Posted by Georgian Health Physics Association on November 19, 2010 at 6:32 PM Comments comments (0)

19.11.10 18:12  "Rustavi2"    

    A container of radioactive substances was found Friday in the centre of Tbilisi. Law enforcers seized caesium 137 in 15 Lermontov Street. The container of the dangerous substances was kept in the Kisishvili family.

    Head of the family Jemal Kisishvili and his wife are being interrogated now. Exact amount of teh substances is unknown yet. It is also uncertain how the container, seized by law enforcers, got in the Kisishvili family.

   Reportedly, in consequence of -one-hour special operation conducted in teh apartment, no other radioactive substances have been found there.

    Representatives of the special services of Georgian Environmental Ministry also arrived at the scene. They said caesium 137 is one of the most dangerous radioactive substances. It is considered as one of the components of pollution in the biosphere.

    Caesium 137 is also used for making so-called dirty bombs. Experts say, this radioactive substance is more virulent than uranium.

    This is not the first time, caesium has been seized in Georgia. Georgian law enforcers seized the substances in different regions of Georgia in 1997 - 2007.

    In 2003, 2006 and 2010 except caesium, different amounts of uranium were also seized in Georgia.

Radioactive remains found on Makhata Hill, Tbilisi

Posted by Georgian Health Physics Association on September 7, 2010 at 6:46 PM Comments comments (0)

     The Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Goga Khachidze visited the settlement on Makhata Hill, where the radiation experts found the remains of radioactive substance Radium 226.

     Minister was accompanied by the workers of the Nuclear and Radiation Security Service on the territory called `Arsenal` under the request of the local population, who complained about the possibility that the territory might be polluted with radioactive substances. It turned out that the locals really had reason to worry.

     The specialists cleaned up the territory of the remains scattered on the territory and took the radioactive remains to special deposit.


"Forgotten" Radioactive Material Turns Up in Georgian Lab

Posted by Georgian Health Physics Association on August 2, 2010 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)

   A plutonium-beryllium cache was apparently "forgotten" for 42 years before turning up recently at a research facility in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, Bloomberg reported today (see GSN, June 23).

   The material was discovered inside a “special container stored in wax and lead, which was quite safe and presented no danger for the environment,” said Giorgi Nabakhtiani, a nuclear expert with Georgia's Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Ministry.

   “The substance has now been removed and stored at a special unit,” Nabakhtiani said, adding it “was likely forgotten for several decades after it was brought to the laboratory for a special test."

   The laboratory did not contain enough plutonium-beryllium for use in a radiological "dirty bomb," the specialist said (Bloomberg/Moscow Times, Aug. 2)

Plutonium found in Georgia

Posted by Georgian Health Physics Association on July 30, 2010 at 6:18 PM Comments comments (0)

Georgia, Tbilisi, July 30 / Trend, N.Kirtskhalia /

   A container with plutonium was found in Tbilisi today. According to the Georgian Public Broadcaster, the container was found at a depot of the now defunct Isotope Institute.

   The plutonium had not been registered with any state entity. Employees of the former institute told the station that they had no idea that plutonium was stored at the depot.

   An team of experts stated that the plutonium posed no threat to the local population.

   Georgia plans to inform the International Atomic Energy Agency about the unregistered plutonium.

Georgia is turning green

Posted by Georgian Health Physics Association on July 29, 2010 at 6:22 PM Comments comments (1)

By Lia Bezhanishvili / The Messenger Online


Environment protection has become a big issue in Georgia recently and public agencies are involved in many activities designed to preserve Georgia's outstanding natural resources.


On July 28 200 hectares of wood near Gujareti village were damaged in a fire. It took firefighters four hours to extinguish the flames and rescue crews were also involved in fighting the fire, making sure it did not break out again. Police believe that the negligence of locals caused the blaze.


The Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources also checked the radiation level in the resort of Surami to allay the concerns of the local population. Locals had complained that rumours about the radiation level had reduced the number of visitors to the village. Many locals earn their living by renting out property and they were worried that visitors were getting concerned about renting houses in Surami this summer.


“The air and radiation level in Surami township has been checked by the Ministry of Environment Protection and Natural Resources. It has been confirmed that the air in Surami is ideal and people can enjoy a safe holiday there," Chair of Khashuri Municipality, Davit Lomidze said. “The monitoring showed that the radiation level does not exceed the safety norm. This was not an unexpected result, I was sure that the monitoring will show exactly this,” commented Head of the Environmental Protection Social Safety Service Zaal Lomtadze.


The section of the River Mtkvari in Metekhi was also publicly cleared of polythene waste as part of the Ministry's action 'Be Clever with the Environment- the Polythene Bag is the Enemy' on July 27. The Minister of Environment Protection and Natural Resources, Goga Khachidze, and employees of the Special Situations Service of Tbilisi City Hall and the Ministry took part in this clearance. Representatives of the National Agency of Environment Monitoring also examined the pollution level of the River Mtkvari, as it is a cross-border river and it is important that its level of pollution is frequently monitored.


“We want to draw the public’s attention to two important issues. The first is that the environment needs protecting and we should not pollute it. The second is that our country and city are slowly becoming more interesting to tourists and it is shameful that the best indicator of our culture and civilization, the environment of the River Mtkvari, is in very bad condition. I call on everyone to direct their attention to these issues,” stated Khachidze.


The laboratory monitoring the pollution of the river has stated that the pollution level in the Mtkvari is within acceptable norms, but final results will be known in 5 days. Because of the importance of the river, the Ministry of Environment protection actively collaborates with donor organisations to increase its ability and resources to monitor it.

Tbilisi mulls fight against illegal transportation of nuclear materials

Posted by Georgian Health Physics Association on July 21, 2010 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Georgia, Tbilisi, July 21 / Trend N.Kirtzkhalia /

   A two-day conference devoted to combating the illegal trafficking of nuclear material organized by the U.S. Embassy was opened in Tbilisi Hotel Betsy July 21.

   The meeting discusses the U.S.-Georgian joint action plan to stop nuclear smuggling. Representatives of the Georgian Environment and Natural Resources Ministry will report on the investigation in nuclear smuggling, border security and the coastline.

   The conference is also attended by representatives of donor organizations that consider funding of projects related to nuclear and radiation hazards.

   Georgia plays a crucial role in combating nuclear terrorism and is the guarantor of increasing the security regime in the region, the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry reported.