Russian Health Studies Program - Joint Coordinating Committee for Radiation Effects Research (JCCRER)

Office of Environment, Health, Safety & Security

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All About the Joint Coordinating Committee for Radiation Effects Research

Principal Areas of Cooperation Under the JCCRER Agreement

JCCRER Members

Current Russian Participants in JCCRER Program

Russian Health Studies Program Active Projects

Direction 1: Community Health Effects Research
Direction 2: Worker Health Effects Research
Direction 3: Information Technologies and Decision Making Support for Radiation Accidents and Health Effects from Radiation Exposure

Russian Health Studies Program Completed Projects

Highlights of U.S. Sponsored International U.S. - Russian JCCRER Meetings

  • 9th International U.S.-Russian JCCRER Meeting (October 2012, San Francisco, CA)

What is the JCCRER?

JCCRER is the Joint Coordinating Committee for Radiation Effects Research. This is a bilateral Government committee representing agencies from the United States and the Russian Federation tasked with coordinating scientific research on the health effects of exposure to ionizing radiation in the Russian Federation from the production of nuclear weapons.

For further details please go to the main Russian Health Studies Program page.

Why is the JCCRER important?

Jointly conducting radiation research with the Russian Federation provides a unique opportunity to learn more about possible risks to groups of people from long-term exposure to radiation. This could include people receiving exposure from uranium mining, operation of nuclear facilities, transport and disposal of radioactive materials, testing and dismantling nuclear weapons, radiation accidents, and grossly contaminated sites or facilities.

In 1948, the Soviet Union established a nuclear weapons production complex called the Mayak Production Association (Mayak) in the Southern Urals about 100 km (60 miles) northeast of the city of Chelyabinsk. Enormous amounts of radioactive materials were released into the environment after a series of accidents and poor management practices at the Mayak complex between 1948 and 1967. As a result, thousands of square kilometers have been contaminated and hundreds of thousands of people have received significant radiation exposures. Furthermore, because of limited and inadequate (by today's standards) radiation protection measures and procedures, thousands of Mayak workers were seriously overexposed to radiation.

Most of our knowledge of health effects and risks associated with radiation exposures is based on studies of atomic bomb survivors in Japan. The atomic bomb survivors, however, were exposed to a very short burst of external radiation, unlike the pattern of exposure normally encountered or expected in the nuclear industry and in other uses of radiation. The people in the Southern Urals, on the other hand, experienced chronic exposures over a much longer period. The exposures were also from both external radiation and internally deposited radioactive compounds. Definitive studies on the Southern Urals populations, coupled with comparisons with U.S. nuclear worker data, may prove to be a key factor in future reassessments of radiation protection standards and regulations in the United States and worldwide. Thus, the preservation, restoration, and analysis of radiation exposure medical and environmental data in the Southern Urals are extremely important to the United States and to the world. The Southern Urals' database may provide an opportunity to answer the question of whether chronic low-level exposures pose a risk different from previously assumed.

Given these opportunities to advance our knowledge about the effects of ionizing radiation on humans and on the environment, on January 14, 1994, the Governments of the United States and the Russian Federation signed an Agreement on Cooperation in Research on Radiation Effects for Minimizing the Consequences of Radioactive Contamination on Health and the Environment. In diplomatic terms, a bilateral agreement is one of the highest levels of government-to-government agreements. The Agreement was renewed in 2000, 2007, and 2011 through January 14, 2014, with automatic renewals in 5-year increments thereafter.

The subset of JCCRER projects sponsored by the Department of Energy (DOE) is referred to as the Russian Health Studies Program. The executive agents are DOE's Office of Environment, Health, Safety, and Security in the United States and the Federal Medical Biological Agency (FMBA) in Russia. The program is administered by DOE's Office of Domestic and International Health Studies (AU-13).

What is the Russian Health Studies Program?

JCCRER projects funded by DOE comprise DOE's Russian Health Studies Program.

The Russian Health Studies Program assesses worker and public health risks from radiation exposure resulting from nuclear weapons production activities in the former Soviet Union. The goals and objectives are to:

  1. Better understand the relationship between health effects and chronic, low-to-medium dose radiation exposures;
  2. Estimate radiation-induced cancer risks from exposure to gamma, neutron, and alpha radiation; and
  3. Provide information to national and international organizations engaged in determining and validating radiation protection standards/practices.

Presently, DOE supports two radiation dose reconstruction studies, two epidemiologic studies, and a tissue repository. All research is focused on workers at Mayak Production Association, Russia's first nuclear weapons production facility, and on residents in communities surrounding the facility. In 2017, researchers published 17 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, for a total of 342 articles from 1994 through 2017.

What are the principal areas of cooperation under the JCCRER Agreement?

Under the provisions of the Agreement, the associated work deals broadly with research in the field of effects of ionizing radiation. Currently, three different research directions are supported: population studies (Direction 1); worker studies (Direction 2); and emergency management (Direction 3). The various projects under each direction are jointly conducted by both U.S. and Russian principal investigators and their respective teams of researchers.

Who are the members of the JCCRER?

U.S. JCCRER Members:

Department of Energy (DOE), Co-chair: Vacant
Department of Defense (DoD): David Smith
Department of Health & Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Vacant
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Jonathan Edwards
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): Richard Williams
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC): Vacant


Russian JCCRER Members:

Federal Medical Biological Agency (FMBA), Co-chair: Vacant
Federal Medical Biophysical Center (FMBC): Alexander Samoylov
State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom): Sergey Raykov
State Scientific Center, Institute of Medical and Biological Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences: Oleg Orlov


What is the role of the U.S. JCCRER?

The U.S. JCCRER functions as the clearinghouse of projects on health effects of radiation with the Russian Federation, funded by member agencies. This includes:

Promoting joint U.S./Russian workshops;
Minimizing duplication of projects on the same population;
Encouraging similar projects on different populations; and
Facilitating the integration of projects being funded by different agencies.

Note: The U.S. JCCRER does not function as a manager or overseer of all projects. It is the responsibility of each funding agency to manage its projects.

How does the JCCRER function?

The day-to-day business is conducted by the JCCRER Executive Committee, which consists of representatives of JCCRER member agencies. The JCCRER Executive Committee ensures direct communication among the partners within the Agreement, coordinates the work of national organizations, and ensures the effective and efficient implementation of JCCRER goals and objectives.

Who are the members of the JCCRER Executive Committee?

U.S. JCCRER Executive Committee Members:

Department of Energy (DOE), Co-chair: Patricia Worthington
Department of Defense (DoD): John Gilstad
Department of Health & Human Services/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Vacant
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Michael Boyd
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): Vacant
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC):  Terry Brock

Russian JCCRER Executive Committee Members:

Federal Medical Biophysical Center (FMBC), Co-Chair: Sergey Shinkarev
Mayak Production Assocation (Mayak): Vacant
Federal Medical Biological Agency (FMBA): Oleg Volosov
Federal Medical Biological Agency (FMBA): Lyudmila Karpikova
State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom): Sergey Mikheenko
Federal Medical Biological Agency (FMBA): Vladimir Stepanov
Nuclear Safety Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IBRAE): Igor Osipyants

Scientific Review Group

Projects conducted under the auspices of the JCCRER are reviewed by independent U.S. and Russian Scientific Review Groups (SRG). The primary purpose of the SRG is to critically review and evaluate technical progress reports and proposals and recommend research priorities to DOE and FMBA.

U.S. SRG Members:

Nolan Hertel, Co-Chair: Professor of Nuclear and Radiological Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
Harold Beck DOE Environmental Measurements Laboratory - (Retired)
Scott Davis Professor and Chair, Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington
William Griffith Senior Research Scientist and Director of Biostatistics, Institute for Risk Analysis and Risk Communication, University of Washington
Derek Jokisch Professor and Chair, Department of Physics and Engineering, Francis Marion University
Roy Shore Professor Emeritus, New York University School of Medicine

 Russian SRG Members:

Natalia Shandala, Co-chair: Federal Medical Biophysical Center (FMBC)
Leonid Ilyin Federal Medical Biophysical Center (FMBC)
Yuliya Kvacheva Federal Medical Biophysical Center (FMBC)
Evgeny Kramer-Ageev National Nuclear Research Institute (MEPHI)
Boris Kukhta Federal Medical Biophysical Center (FMBC)
Alexander Birukov Federal Medical Biophysical Center (FMBC)

Which institutions in Russia are currently participating in JCCRER activities?

Southern Urals Biophysics Institute (SUBI), Ozersk
Mayak Production Association, Ozersk
Urals Research Center for Radiation Medicine (URCRM), Chelyabinsk
Federal Medical Biological Agency (FMBA), Moscow
Federal Medical Biophysical Center (FMBC), Moscow

Contact Information:
Program Manager:
Barrett N. Fountos, (301) 903-6740