Airborne Radioactive Contamination in Inhabited Areas

Edited by

  • K.G. Andersson, Risoe National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, Technical University of Denmark, DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark

For many decades, investigations of the behaviour and implications of radioactive contamination in the environment have focused on agricultural areas and food production. This was due to the erroneous assumption that the consequences of credible contaminating incidents would be restricted to rural areas. However, due to the Chernobyl accident, more than 250,000 persons were removed from their homes, demonstrating a great need for knowledge and instruments that could be applied to minimise the manifold adverse consequences of contamination in inhabited areas. Also, today the world is facing a number of new threats, including radiological terrorism, which would be likely to take place in a city, where most people would become directly affected. A recent report from the US Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism concludes that it is most likely that a large radiological, or even nuclear, terror attack on a major city somewhere in the world will occur before 2013. For the first time ever, the specific problems of airborne radioactive contamination in inhabited areas are treated in a holistically covering treatise, pinpointing factorial interdependencies and describing instruments for mitigation. The state-of-the-art knowledge is here explained by leading scientists in the various disciplines of relevance.
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ecologists, environmental scientists


Book information

  • Published: September 2009
  • Imprint: ELSEVIER
  • ISBN: 978-0-08-044989-0

Table of Contents

1. Potential sources of contamination in inhabited areas1.1. Introduction1.2. Background1.3. Accidents at nuclear installations1.4. Accidents with highly radioactive sources1.5. Transport accidents1.6. Nuclear powered satellites entering the atmosphere1.7. Malicious use of radiation and radiological terrorism1.8. References
2. The dispersion, deposition and resuspension of atmospheric contamination in the outdoor urban environment2.1. Introduction2.2. Modelling of radionuclide dispersion2.3. Physical forms of radionuclides in the environment2.4. Dry deposition2.4.1. Atmospheric dry deposition mechanisms2.4.2. Physical factors affecting deposition velocity2.4.3. Dry deposition in the urban environment2.5. Wet deposition2.5.1. The below-cloud scavenging of particulate materials2.5.2. The wet deposition of gases2.5.3 Retention of deposited material by surfaces2.5.4. Deposition in fog or cloud2.6. The resuspension of deposited material2.6.1. Factors affecting resuspension2.6.2. Wind generated resuspension2.6.3. Resuspension from roads2.7. References
3. Airborne contamination inside dwellings3.1. Introduction3.2. Ingression of contaminants into dwellings3.3. Deposition and removal of contaminants on indoor surfaces3.3.1. Deposition3.3.1.1. Background theory3.3.1.2. A review of experimental research to establish likely ranges of deposition parameter values3.3.1.3. A review of experimental work to establish influencing factors3.3.2. Removal of contaminants from indoor surfaces3.4. Resuspension3.4.1. Background theory3.4.2. A summary of selected studies, to establish likely ranges of resuspension parameter values3.4.3. A review of published work to establish the influencing factors on aerosol resuspension3.5. References
4. Contamination of humans: in respiratory tract and on body surfaces4.1. Introduction4.2. Biological effects of radiation on the respiratory tract4.2.1. Epidemiological studies4.2.2. The ICRP lung model4.2.2.1. Morphology and physiology4.2.2.2. Deposition model4.2.2.3. Clearance Model4.2.2.4. Validation of the ICRP model with measurement data4.3. Biological effects of radiation on the skin4.3.1. The structure of the human skin4.3.2. Dose implications of radioactive contamination of the skin4.4. Contaminant exposure and clearance on humans4.4.1. Airborne contaminant deposition on human skin, hair and clothing4.4.2. Aerosol deposition velocities to humans4.4.2.1. Aerosol deposition velocities to skin4.4.2.2. Aerosol deposition velocities to clothing4.4.2.3. Aerosol deposition velocities to hair4.4.3. Contact transfer of contaminants to humans4.4.4. Natural clearance of contaminants from humans4.5. References
5. Migration of radionuclides on outdoor surfaces5.1. Introduction5.2. Influence of initial physico-chemical forms of deposited contaminants5.3. Migration of radionuclides in areas of soil in an inhabited environment5.3.1. Selective fixation of caesium in soil minerals5.3.2. Retention in soil of contaminant ions by different mechanisms5.3.3. Binding strength and migration of contaminants in areas of soil5.4. Migration of radionuclides on anthropogeneous surfaces in an inhabited environment5.4.1. Migration of contamination deposited on roofs5.4.2. Migration of contamination deposited on walls5.4.3. Migration of contamination deposited on horizontal paved surfaces5.5. References
6. Estimation of doses in inhabited areas6.1. Introduction6.2. Why models are needed6.3. External dose rate from contaminated surfaces6.3.1. Initial deposition to different surfaces6.3.2. Behaviour of material following deposition6.3.3. External dose rate from gamma irradiation6.3.4. External dose rate from beta irradiation6.4. Ingestion dose from food contaminated in inhabited areas6.5. Other possible dose contributions in the inhabited environment6.6. Examples of calculated dose rates6.6.1. Illustrative calculations of dose components for a dry deposition case6.6.1.1. Contamination on streets6.6.1.2. Contamination on roofs6.6.1.3. Contamination on walls6.6.1.4. Contamination on open (grassed) soil areas6.6.1.5. Contamination on trees and shrubs6.6.1.6. Contamination on indoor surfaces6.6.1.7. Contamination on humans6.6.1.8. Contamination inhaled during the plume passage6.6.1.9. External irradiation from the contaminated plume6.6.1.10. Contamination in locally produced food6.6.1.11. Discussion of dose calculations6.6.2. Example of external dose calculations made with a complex model6.7. Doses from non-anthropogenic sources6.8. Current and future inhabited area dose model trends and needs6.8.1. Initial deposition6.8.2. Weathering6.8.3. Calculating dose rate from contamination on different surfaces6.8.4. Behaviour of people6.8.5. The choice of model6.8.6. Future work needed6.9. References
7. Measurement and screening of contaminated inhabited areas7.1. Introduction7.2. Main issues to be considered when designing contamination monitoring capabilities7.3. Objectives and scope of contamination measurements and screening7.4. Instrumentation7.4.1. Measurement of pure alpha emitters7.4.2. Measurement of pure beta emitters7.4.3. Measurement of gamma emitters7.5. Contamination monitoring techniques, basic elements of a comprehensive monitoring programme7.5.1. Air contamination monitoring7.5.2. Large area contamination monitoring7.5.3. Sampling and measurement of the soil concentration of radionuclides7.5.4. Surface contamination monitoring7.5.5. Characterization of the contamination by dose rate measurements7.5.6. Personal monitoring7.5.7. QA measurements7.6. Scenarios7.7. Measurement of dose rates7.8. Screening of contamination level7.9. References
8. Countermeasures for reduction of dose in contaminated inhabited areas8.1. Introduction8.2. Types of countermeasures8.2.1. Countermeasures for reduction of doses from different exposure pathways8.2.2. Countermeasures for different time phases8.2.3. Countermeasures for decontamination or shielding8.2.4. Countermeasures for different surfaces8.2.5. Countermeasure alternatives for different area sizes: an example8.3. Systematic countermeasure descriptions8.4. Management of waste generated by countermeasures8.4.1. Management of clean-up waste prior to disposal8.4.1.1. Loading and transportation8.4.1.2. Waste storage8.4.1.3. Filtration of solid particles out of waste water8.4.1.4. Treatments for contaminants in liquid waste8.4.1.5. Reduction of volume of organic waste8.4.1.6. Stabilisation of solid waste to avoid migration of contaminants8.4.2. Waste disposal options8.5. References
9. Non-radiological perspectives – holistic value assessment of countermeasure strategies9.1. Introduction9.2. Holistic assessment of countermeasures9.2.1. Assessing countermeasure strategies9.3. General ethical issues9.3.1. Disruption of everyday life and self-help9.3.2. Free informed consent of workers (to risks of radiation exposure and/or chemical exposure) and consent of private owners for access to property9.3.3. Distribution of dose, costs and benefits9.3.4. Liability and/or compensation for unforeseen health or property effects9.3.5. Animal welfare issues9.3.6. Change in public perception or use of an amenity9.3.7. Uncertainty9.3.8. Environmental risk from ecosystem changes, groundwater contamination, etc.9.3.9. Environmental consequences of waste generation and treatment (chemical and radioactive)9.4. The ethical matrix as a case specific tool for mapping ethical concerns9.5. Application to an inhabited area scenario9.5.1. Ethical assessment of lawn mowing9.5.2. Ethical assessment of deep ploughing9.5.3. Ethical assessment of a holistic countermeasure strategy9.6. Social countermeasures9.6.1. Dietary advice9.6.2. Provision of counting/monitoring equipment9.6.3. Do nothing9.6.4. Raising intervention limits9.6.5. Food labelling9.6.6. Compensation scheme9.6.7. Information/Advice bureau9.6.8. Education programme in schools9.6.9. Medical check up9.6.10. Stakeholder and public consultation methods9.7. Stakeholder involvement as a social management option9.7.1. Arguments for a wider inclusion of citizens and stakeholders in ethical assessments and decision making9.7.2. A good consultation process is an ethical issue9.7.2.1. Representativeness9.7.2.2. Transparency and openness9.7.2.3. Accountability and influence9.8. References
10. Strategies for restoration of contaminated inhabited areas10.1. Introduction10.2. Overall purposes and criteria for restoration strategies10.3. Influences of type and scale of the contaminating incident10.4. Practical examples of implementation of dose reduction strategies for inhabited areas10.4.1. Clean-up attempts by the Soviet army in 198910.4.2. Clean-up tests in the Bryansk area in 199710.5. Decision support tools10.5.1. Decision support handbooks10.5.2. Computerised decision support systems for consequence assessment10.5.3. Multi-criteria analysis tools for optimisation of countermeasure strategies10.6. References
Concluding remarks