VARSKIN Frequently Asked Questions

VARSKIN is intended to be used as a tool for skin dosimetry from contamination on, or immediately above (e.g., on clothing) the skin.
The latest version of VARSKIN is VARSKIN+. This version was posted to the RAMP website in July 2021. Individuals interested in obtaining this version of the code should check out the “Registration for the VARSKIN Code” navigation link on the U.S. NRC RAMP website.
There is currently no fee required to obtain VARSKIN.
No, VARSKIN users are required to complete a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for their copy of the software. The NDA states that the user agrees not to share their copy of VARSKIN with any third party without obtaining prior written permission from the NRC.
No, the NDA allows for a list of multiple users at your facility.
VARSKIN is typically updated every 6 to 12 months. Earlier updates are issued if significant changes occur in the software.
No, VARSKIN is used by many international government agencies and is an important computer code in the US NRC’s Radiation Protection Computer Code Analysis and Maintenance Program (RAMP).
Uncertainty is primarily related to the user’s definition of the exposure scenario.  A couple recent papers have shown that VARSKIN compares very well to probabilistic (Monte Carlo) and other deterministic methods of estimating skin dose.  These papers can be found in the technical documents section.
A sensitivity analysis is expected to be released shortly. That document will appear in the technical documentation section of the RAMP site and will show which of the parameters is most influential on the calculated skin dose.
VARSKIN+ can be installed on computers running the Windows 7 or later operating system.
Not as written. However, the user can run VARSKIN on a Mac Windows emulator or virtual machine.
The VARSKIN+ folder uses about 25 MB of disk space.
VARSKIN does not require “installation”. To download the code from the RAMP website, simply copy the VARSKIN folder onto your desktop (or any other file location); nothing else is required. Then, to execute the code, all you need to do is to open the VARSKIN folder and double-click the application file. All other files must remain where they originally reside (do not move files within the VARSKIN folder). If you’d prefer, the folder itself can be moved (in total) and run from another location.
No, not currently.  VARSKIN was developed for personal computers running the Windows 7.0 or later operating system and will not run on a tablet or smartphone. We are, however, considering whether a tablet/phone application would be useful to our users.
You are running an outdated version of VARSKIN. Users should use the most current version which is VARSKIN+ and this error will no longer occur. 
If working on an employer machine, check with your computer administrator to ensure something internally to your organization's requirements isn't blocking the installation. If you continue to run into issues, RAMP members should submit a VARSKIN help request by logging into the US NRC RAMP website and selecting the “VARSKIN Support” navigation link.
There is limited VARSKIN support available for users with earlier versions of the VARSKIN software. Support is generally provided for the current and most recent versions of the code being distributed under the U.S. NRC RAMP program.
No. Since VARSKIN development and distribution is a collaborative effort between the U.S. NRC RAMP and VARSKIN development teams, VARSKIN users will receive efficient and timely customer support by using the VARSKIN Request Support page on the RAMP website.

VARSKIN users experiencing error messages or code crashes should go to the VARSKIN Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page to review the FAQs for similar error messages. If your error message is not mentioned in the FAQ, go to the VARSKIN Forums page to review the forum boards for the error message. If not listed in the error reports, log into the RAMP website and go to the Error (Bug) Reports forum board to add this error message to the forum. Be sure to include the following information in the Comment section:

  • What version of the VARSKIN program are you running?
  • What Operating system are you using (e.g., Windows 7.0, Windows 10)?
  • Is the error message reproducible?
  • What are the exact steps leading up to the error?
  • What is the exact symptom (e.g. program crashes, error message number, etc.)?
  • Provide a screenshot of the error message and the input window, if possible.
Yes, the VARSKIN forum is available on the RAMP website to all registered VARSKIN users. To access the forum select the “VARSKIN Support” navigation link on the U.S. NRC RAMP website.
RAMP members can get training information (including training course dates, online training modules and presentations) by selecting the VARSKIN Training & Presentation Materials link on the RAMP website. Additional information can also be found in the Meetings page. 
The VARSKIN user guide is available as NUREG/CR-6918 and can be found at the VARKSIN DocumentationVARSKIN User’s Guide navigation links.  Other VARSKIN technical documents are available at the VARSKIN DocumentationVARSKIN Technical Documents navigation links on the RAMP website.