Office of Environmental Management

SRS Team Learns From Radiological Risk Assessment Leader

August 13, 2019

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Savannah River Remediation Environmental Compliance Manager Scott Kirk (right) and members of his environmental compliance team visited leading radiological assessment scientist John Till’s farm in Neeses, South Carolina.
Savannah River Remediation Environmental Compliance Manager Scott Kirk (right) and members of his environmental compliance team visited leading radiological assessment scientist John Till’s farm in Neeses, South Carolina.

AIKEN, S.C. – A Savannah River Site (SRS) team recently visited leading radiological assessment scientist John Till to learn about his approach to environmental safety at EM sites.

Scott Kirk, environmental compliance manager with Savannah River Remediation (SRR), EM’s liquid waste contractor at SRS, brought the environmental compliance team, including two SRR interns and an EM intern, to Till’s farm in Neeses, South Carolina, to learn how risk assessment research is conducted and the relationship to keeping the community safe.

“Methods to explore environmental compliance do not start and end with the front and back cover of a textbook,” Kirk said. “I enjoy getting my team out to interact with experts in the nuclear industry. It was a rare treat to bring my team to Embeford Farm to hear the path Dr. Till has taken throughout his life, through service to his country, to conducting research about nuclear-related incidences and the impact on the public and environment, to then informing the public about the research findings. I respect Dr. Till and the passion we both share for safety in the nuclear industry.”

Many years ago, Till, a retired U.S. Navy rear admiral who served in nuclear submarines in the Pacific Ocean during the Cold War, wanted to know where radiological elements go when they get into the environment. His curiosity led to the inception of his company in 1977, Risk Assessment Corporation (RAC).

Throughout the years since RAC was founded, Till has drawn from his formal education, farming, and Navy experience to research answers to unknown consequences associated with the presence of chemicals and radionuclides in the environment. He has partnered with organizations surrounding EM sites to assess potential environmental hazards.

Till’s creative methods to radiation exposure research, such as assessing the public health impacts from human consumption of milk from dairy cows that once grazed in a potentially radiologically contaminated pasture, has led to informed decision-making regarding environmental cleanup around the U.S. and the release of public information for improved transparency.

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