Center for Radiation Protection Knowledge

Federal Guidance Report No. 15: External Exposure to Radionuclides in Air, Water, and Soil




The purpose of federal radiation protection guidance is to provide a common framework for ensuring that the assessment of exposure to ionizing radiation is carried out in a consistent manner. Federal guidance is issued by the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of his or her responsibility, under Executive Order 10831, to “...advise the President with respect to radiation matters, directly or indirectly affecting health, including guidance for all Federal agencies in the formulation of radiation standards and in the establishment and execution of programs of cooperation with States.”

Federal Guidance Report No. 15, External Exposure to Radionuclides in Air, Water and Soil, is part of a series designed to provide technical information for use in implementing radiation protection programs. This report tabulates age-specific, reference person effective dose rate coefficients for 1,252 radionuclides based on external exposure to radionuclides distributed in air, water or soil. This report updates and expands Federal Guidance Report No. 12, External Exposure to Radionuclides in Air, Water, and Soil. Federal Guidance Report No. 15 incorporates advancements in scientific knowledge to help ensure that regulation of radiation exposure makes use of the best available information for relating concentrations of radioisotopes in environmental media to dose in human populations due to external radiation. Visit EPA’s website for more information on Federal Guidance for Radiation Protection.

Federal Guidance Report No. 15 was principally authored by scientists at ORNL’s Center for Radiation Protection Knowledge. This report was made possible through an interagency agreement between EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Federal Guidance Report No. 15 is available for download on EPA’s website (link below). The tables in the report—and additional datasets—are available below in the Downloads section, allowing the user to easily integrate the data into programs for assessing dose.


Federal Guidance Report No. 15 (available at EPA’s website) <>

Dose rate coefficients for calculation of equivalent doses to specific tissues. (download is temporarily unavailable)

This zip file contains several ASCII text files for:

  • Reference person effective dose rate coefficients for each exposure scenario
  • Reference person tissue dose equivalent coefficients for each exposure scenario and age
  • Equivalent dose rate coefficients for monoenergetic photons
  • Characteristic gamma emissions of ICRP Publication 107 radionuclides

These ASCII text files can be opened with a text editor such as Notepad, Notepad++ or emacs and the zip file can be opened natively in Windows 10 or by third-party applications such as WinRAR.

Associated Publications and Presentations


 M. B. Bellamy, K. G. Veinot,*, M. M. Hiller , S. A. Dewji , K. F. Eckerman , C. E. Easterly , N. E. Hertel and R. W. Leggett, “Effective Dose Rate Coefficients For Immersions In Radioactive Air And Water” Radiation Protection Dosimetry (2016), pp. 112, doi:10.1093/rpd/ncw103 

 M. B. Bellamy, M. M. Hiller , S. A. Dewji , K. G. Veinot , R. W. Leggett , K. F. Eckerman ,C. E. Easterly , N. E. Hertel, “Comparison Of Monoenergetic Photon Organ Dose Rate Coefficients For Stylized And Voxel Phantoms Submerged In Air” Radiat Prot Dosimetry (2016) doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncv548 

Hiller MM, Veinot K, Easterly CE, Hertel NE, Eckerman KF, Bellamy MB., “Reducing Statistical Uncertainties in Simulated Organ Doses of Phantoms Immersed in Water.” Radiat Prot Dosimetry. (2016) Aug 13, DOI: 10.1093/rpd/ncw240 

M. Bellamy, S. Dewji, K. Eckerman, C. Easterly, N. Hertel, M. Hiller, D. Jokish, R. Leggett, S. Schwahn, P. Scofield, K. Veinot, R. Ward, Technical Basis for Derivation of Dose Coefficients for Use in Radiation Protection. ORNL/TM-2015/597 (September 2015).


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