Kathryn Higley has held both Reactor Operator and Senior Reactor Operator’s licenses, and is a former Reactor Supervisor for the Reed College TRIGA reactor
Kathryn A. Higley
Dr. Higley is the Edward N. Rickert, Jr. Professor in the School of Nuclear Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering and the interim director of the Center for Quantitative Life Sciences.
Distinguished Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering
Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering
Oregon State University
Ph.D., Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 1994
M.S., Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 1992
B.A., Reed College, Portland, OR, 1978
- Human and ecological radiological risk
- Radiation dose assessment
- Nuclear emergency response
- Environmental regulations
- Stakeholder participation and communication
- Public policy, risk, and remediation
Kathryn Higley’s interests include environmental transport and fate of radionuclides, radioecology, radiochemistry, radiation dose assessment, neutron activation analysis, nuclear emergency response, and environmental regulations. She has held both reactor operator and senior reactor operator’s licenses, and is a former reactor supervisor for the Reed College TRIGA reactor.
Higley has been at Oregon State University since 1994 teaching undergraduate and graduate classes on radioecology, dosimetry, radiation protection, radiochemistry, and radiation biology. She spent fourteen years with Battelle, Pacific Northwest Laboratories as an environmental health physicist at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and three years in environmental radiation monitoring at the Trojan Nuclear Power Plant in Oregon. Dr. Higley and her students have done research in radiologically contaminated environments around the globe. Additional information can be found on her website: https://ne.oregonstate.edu/kathryn-higley
National Research Council. 2008. Review of the Toxicologic and Radiologic Risks to Military Personnel from Exposures to Depleted Uranium during and After Combat. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.17226/11979.
National Research Council. 2003. Exposure of the American Population to Radioactive Fallout from Nuclear Weapons Tests: A Review of the CDC-NCI Draft Report on a Feasibility Study of the Health Consequences to the American Population from Nuclear Weapons Tests Conducted by the United States and Other Nations. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/10621.
National Research Council. 2003. Improving the Scientific Basis for Managing DOE’s Excess Nuclear Materials and Spent Nuclear Fuel. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/10684
Higley, K., 2006. Effects of Radioactivity on Plants and Animals. Food Science and Technology, pp.209–224. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1201/9781420019278.ch7.
Bascietto, J.J. & Higley, K.A., 1992. Ecological Assessment at U.S. Department of Energy Environmental Restoration Sites. Ecological Indicators, pp.1219–1238. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4615-4661-0_30.
Higley, K.A., 2018. Integration of radiological protection of the environment into the system of radiological protection. Annals of the ICRP, 47(3-4), pp.270-284. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146645318756823
Caffrey, E., Johansen, M., Caffrey, J. and Higley, K., 2017. Comparison of Homogeneous and Particulate Lung Dose Rates For Small Mammals. Health physics, 112(6), pp.526-532. https://doi.org/10.1097/hp.0000000000000668
Neville, D.R. and Higley, K.A., 2017. Lack of Cesium Bioaccumulation in Gelatinous Marine Life in the Pacific Northwest Pelagic Food-Web. In Resilience: A New Paradigm of Nuclear Safety (pp. 311-315). Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-58768-4_27
Buesseler, K., Dai, M., Aoyama, M., Benitez-Nelson, C., Charmasson, S., Higley, K., Maderich, V., Masqué, P., Oughton, D. and Smith, J.N., 2016. Fukushima Daiichi-Derived Radionuclides in the Ocean: Transport, Fate, and Impacts. Annual Review of Marine Science, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-marine-010816-060733
Caffrey, E.A., Johansen, M.P. and Higley, K.A., 2016. Voxel modeling of rabbits for use in radiological dose rate calculations. Journal of environmental radioactivity, 151, pp.480-486. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvrad.2015.04.008
Bréchignac, F. et al., 2016. Addressing ecological effects of radiation on populations and ecosystems to improve protection of the environment against radiation: Agreed statements from a Consensus Symposium. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 158-159, pp.21–29. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvrad.2016.03.021.
Caffrey, E.A., Johansen, M.P. and Higley, K.A., 2015. Organ dose-rate calculations for small mammals at Maralinga, the Nevada test site, Hanford and Fukushima: a comparison of ellipsoidal and voxelized dosimetric methodologies. Radiation research, 184(4), pp.433-441. https://doi.org/10.1667/rr14162.1
Johansen, M.P., Ruedig, E., Tagami, K., Uchida, S., Higley, K. and Beresford, N.A., 2015. Radiological dose rates to marine fish from the Fukushima Daiichi accident: the first three years across the North Pacific. Environmental science & technology, 49(3), pp.1277-1285. https://doi.org/10.1021/es505064d
Higley, K., Ruedig, E., Gomez-Fernandez, M., Caffrey, E., Jia, J., Comolli, M. and Hess, C., 2015. Creation and application of voxelised dosimetric models, and a comparison with the current methodology as used for the International Commission on Radiological Protection’s Reference Animals and Plants. Annals of the ICRP, 44(1_suppl), pp.313-330. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146645315576097
Ruedig, E., Beresford, N.A., Fernandez, M.E.G. and Higley, K., 2015. A comparison of the ellipsoidal and voxelized dosimetric methodologies for internal, heterogeneous radionuclide sources. Journal of environmental radioactivity, 140, pp.70-77. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvrad.2014.11.004
Ruedig, E., Caffrey, E., Hess, C. and Higley, K., 2014. Monte Carlo derived absorbed fractions for a voxelized model of Oncorhynchus mykiss, a rainbow trout. Radiation and environmental biophysics, 53(3), pp.581-587. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00411-014-0546-5
Neville, D.R., Phillips, A.J., Brodeur, R.D. and Higley, K.A., 2014. Trace levels of Fukushima disaster radionuclides in East Pacific albacore. Environmental science & technology, 48(9), pp.4739-4743. https://doi.org/10.1021/es500129b
Caffrey, E.A., Leonard, M.E., Napier, J.B., Neville, D.R. and Higley, K.A., 2014. Radioecology: why bother? Journal of Environmental Protection, 5(03), p.181. https://doi.org/10.4236/jep.2014.53022
Stone, D.K., Higley, K.A. and Jannik, G.T., 2014. Site-specific reference person parameters and derived concentration standards for the Savannah River Site. Health physics, 106(5), pp.S59-S64. https://doi.org/10.1097/hp.0000000000000073
Caffrey, E.A. and Higley, K.A., 2013. Creation of a voxel phantom of the ICRP reference crab. Journal of environmental radioactivity, 120, pp.14-18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvrad.2013.01.006
Higley, K.A., Kocher, D.C., Real, A.G. and Chambers, D.B., 2012. Relative biological effectiveness and radiation weighting factors in the context of animals and plants. Annals of the ICRP, 41(3-4), pp.233-245. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icrp.2012.06.014
Caffrey, J.A., Higley, K.A., Farsoni, A.T., Smith, S. and Menn, S., 2012. Development and deployment of an underway radioactive cesium monitor off the Japanese coast near Fukushima Dai-ichi. Journal of environmental radioactivity, 111, pp.120-125. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvrad.2011.12.015
Higley, K.A., 2010. Estimating transfer parameters in the absence of data. Radiation and environmental biophysics, 49(4), pp.645-656. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00411-010-0326-9
Higley, K.A. and Bytwerk, D.P., 2009. Invariant scaling relationships and their possible application in predicting radionuclide uptake in plants. Radioprotection, 44(5), pp.677-682. https://doi.org/10.1051/radiopro/20095124
Bytwerk, D. and Higley, K., 2009. Cl-36 transfer to ryegrass and consequences for environmental modeling. Radioprotection, 44(5), pp.695-699. https://doi.org/10.1051/radiopro/20095127
Higley, K.A. and Bytwerk, D.P., 2007. Generic approaches to transfer. Journal of environmental radioactivity, 98(1-2), pp.4-23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvrad.2007.02.013
Higley, K.A., Alexakhin, R.M. and McDonald, J.C., 2004. Dose limits for man do not adequately protect the ecosystem. Radiation protection dosimetry, 109(3), pp.257-264. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/rpd/nch322.
Jones, D., Domotor, S., Higley, K., Kocher, D. and Bilyard, G., 2003. Principles and issues in radiological ecological risk assessment. Journal of environmental radioactivity, 66(1-2), pp.19-39. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0265-931x(02)00114-5
Higley, K.A., Domotor, S.L. and Antonio, E.J., 2003. A kinetic-allometric approach to predicting tissue radionuclide concentrations for biota. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 66(1-2), pp.61-74. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0265-931x(02)00116-9
Higley, K.A., Domotor, S.L., Antonio, E.J. and Kocher, D.C., 2003. Derivation of a screening methodology for evaluating radiation dose to aquatic and terrestrial biota. Journal of environmental radioactivity, 66(1-2), pp.41-59. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0265-931x(02)00115-7
Higley, K.A., Domotor, S.L. and Antonio, E.J., 2003. A probabilistic approach to obtaining limiting estimates of radionuclide concentration in biota. Journal of environmental radioactivity, 66(1-2), pp.75-87. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0265-931x(02)00117-0
Brock, K.M., Neumann, C.M., Higley, K.A., Chang, W.P. and Rossignol, A.M., 2001. A dose reconstruction of 60Co-contaminated window frames in a Taiwanese school. Health physics, 81(1), pp.3-7. https://doi.org/10.1097/00004032-200107000-00002
Povetko, O. and Higley, K., 2001. Application of autoradiographic methods for contaminant distribution studies in soils. Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry, 248(3), pp.561-564. https://doi.org/10.1023/a:1010666511866
Higley, K.A. & Povetko, O.G., 1999. Preparation of Soil Thin Sections for Contaminant Distribution Studies. Contaminated Forests, pp.85–93. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-94-011-4694-4_9.
Higley, K.A. and Strenge, D.L., 1992. Use of a Monte Carlo Modeling Approach for Evaluating Risk and Environmental Compliance. Effective and Safe Waste Management: Interfacing Sciences and Engineering with Monitoring and Risk Analysis, p.337.
Bascietto, J.J. & Higley, K.A., 1992. Ecological Assessment at U.S. Department of Energy Environmental Restoration Sites. Ecological Indicators, pp.1219–1238. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4615-4661-0_30
National Academy of Science Committees
2004 – 2006 – National Research Council, Committee on Toxicology, Subcommittee on Toxicologic and Radiologic Effects from Exposure to Depleted Uranium During and After Combat
2001 – 2003 – Committee on Improving the Scientific Basis for Managing DOE’s Excess Nuclear Materials and Spent Nuclear Fuel, Board on Radioactive Waste Management
2002 – 2003 – Committee to Review the CDC-NCI Feasibility Study of the Health Consequences from Nuclear Weapons Tests, Board on Radiation Effects Research
Other Committees, Commissions and Boards
2017-2018 – Chair, Nuclear Engineering Department Heads Organization,
2014-2020 – National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Council Member
NCRP Subcommittee 64-21, appointed 1996
NCRPSubcommittee 64-23, appointed 1997
NCRP Subcommittee 46, appointed 1997
NCRP PAC 5
2005 – 2020 – International Commission on Radiological Protection
Committee 5, Protection of the Environment (2005-2018). Vice Chair C5, 2013-2015. Chair C5 2015 – 2018.
Committee 4, Application of the Commission’s RecommendationsVice Chair (2017-2020).
2009 – present International Atomic Energy Agency,
MODARIA (Modelling and Data for Radiological Impact Assessments)
EMRAS II – Environmental Modelling for Radiation Safety (EMRAS II), Working Group 5
2003 – 2005
EURATOM, European Union, End-Users Group, Environmental Risk from Ionising Contaminants: Assessment and Management (ERICA),
Umatilla Expert Panel (Chemical Weapons Demilitarization Effort, State of Oregon Representative
Rocky Flats Citizens Advisory Board, Technical Expert to the Board
Edward N. Rickert, Jr. Professor
Fellow, Health Physics Society, 2008
National Association of Environmental Professionals National Environmental Excellence Award for Environmental Management, to the U.S. DOE Biota Dose Assessment Committee for the Graded Approach for Evaluating Radiation Doses to Aquatic and Terrestrial Biota, 2001
Elda E. Anderson Award, Health Physics Society, 1995
Registrations, Licenses, Certifications
Comprehensive Certification, American Board of Health Physics, November 1991, recertified to 2020
U.S. NRC Emergency Response Facilities Appraisal Team Training, 1984
Reactor Operator’s License, 1974-1975
Senior Reactor Operator’s License, 1975-1979