The Naval Dosimetry Center (NDC) celebrated the completion of a move from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) to a new state-of the-art facility location at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bethesda during a ceremony on Feb 16.
The opening of this new $9 million facility marks an incredible improvement for the NDC staff and its mission serving as the Navy’s ionizing radiation dosimetry center of excellence for radiation protection programs for the Navy and Marine Corps.
“The facility will also have a state-of-the art information technology infrastructure and network, and will give us the ability to bring the center into the 21st century,” said Cmdr. Thad Sharp, NDC Officer In Charge. “The move has also been a morale booster for the staff. It’s exciting to have a new home to call our own and it gives us a fresh start.”
The five-year initiative, part of the Defense Health Agency’s Comprehensive Master Plan for NSA Bethesda, will enable the command to continue providing excellent, centralized dosimetry processing for over 350 Navy and Marine Corps commands worldwide, health physics consultations, advanced technical research, and In Vivo Gamma Spectroscopy services.
The NDC, a field activity of the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center, also manages the Department of the Navy’s radiation exposure registry program; they’ve maintained occupational exposure records from approximately 3.9 million ionizing radiation exposures since 1946, analyze trends, and support requests for information regarding radiation exposure.
The facility includes $2 million in new equipment to read thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs), increasing processing capacity by 40 percent and reducing time lost to mechanical failure by 50 percent. The NDC has also invested $2 million in new information technology equipment, more than doubling the NDC’s processing efficiency as they continue to grow the exposure registry database.
The facility also provides a dedicated laboratory for the science advisor and technical manager to continue making strides in advancing naval exposure monitoring and improving dose algorithms.