SOCORRO, N.M., December 19, 2001 -- George Anastas, health physicist with New Mexico Tech's Environmental Evaluation Group (EEG), was inducted earlier this year as the 46th president of the Health Physics Society, an international scientific professional organization whose mission is to promote the practice of radiation safety.
In previous years, Anastas has served various terms as president of the Northeastern New York, San Diego, and Sierra Nevada chapters of the Health Physics Society, and also as a member of the Society's board of directors.
"I am convinced that the Health Physics Society has to adapt to today's world in order to make a meaningful impact on radiation safety in both the United States and other countries," Anastas says. "The Society has nearly 6,000 members worldwide in all areas of radiation safety--medical, environmental, regulatory, accelerator . . . the list goes on -- and, as the world shrinks, it's imperative that we, as members of the Health Physics Society, take the time and effort to work with our colleagues in developing countries."
As president of the non-profit safety organization, Anastas says he has marshalled the resources of the Society in several initiatives which will assist radiation safety, not only in the United States, but around the world as well.
"For instance, Radiation Safety Without Borders teams Society chapters with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other federal agencies in assisting IAEA member states in developing and improving their radiation safety infrastructure," Anastas says.
"Homeland Security is another program in which the Society teams with other professional safety societies in providing resources to assist in responding to terrorist events or threats," he adds.
"And, because of the human capital crisis in radiation safety, the Society is working with colleges and universities and Congress and federal agencies to provide funding for fellowships and scholarships in nuclear science, nuclear engineering, and radiation safety," the Health Physics Society President says.
Anastas has worked in the areas of health physics, radiation safety, and industrial hygiene and safety for more than 30 years.
He is a professional nuclear engineer, a diplomate of the American Board of Health Physics, and a diplomate of the American Academy of environmental engineers.
Anastas has taught radiation safety, industrial hygiene, occupational safety, and toxicology at a number of universities, including Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, San Diego State University, California State University at Sacramento, and the University of Technology at Sydney, Australia.
He has worked for state governments and private industry in a number of technical administrative and management positions, including a stint as director of environmental health and safety at California State University prior to joining EEG in May 2001.
"I am pleased and honored to join such an outstanding group of scientific professionals at EEG," Anastas says. "The atmosphere is one of dedication to assure the prudent operation of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant."
EEG Director Matthew Silva states, "We are delighted to have George on board and fully anticipate that his expertise will enhance EEG's review of the WIPP Project, especially now that the facility has begun disposal operations for some radioactive waste forms."
Based in offices in Albuquerque and Carlsbad, EEG is an interdisciplinary group of scientists and engineers which provides independent technical evaluation of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) to ensure the protection of public health and safety and the environment of New Mexico. The oversight group was established in 1978 through a contract between the State of New Mexico and the U.S. Department of Energy, and later was assigned to operate under the administration of New Mexico Tech in 1989.