Atomic bomb induced 152Eu: Reconciliation of discrepancy between measurements and calculation

Low Level Radioactivity Laboratory, Institute of Nature and Environmental Technology, Kanazawa University, Wake, Tatsunokuchi-machi, Ishikawa 923-1224, Japan.
Health Physics (Impact Factor: 1.27). 05/2007; 92(4):366-77. DOI: 10.1097/01.HP.0000251246.58759.2f
Source: PubMed


In order to resolve the discrepancy between the measured and calculated 152Eu activity induced by the atomic bomb at Hiroshima, extremely low background gamma-ray spectrometry was performed for 17 granite samples collected from 134 m to more than 3 km from the hypocenter. Measurements agreed well with theoretical calculations based on DS02 up to 1.4 km from hypocenter.


Available from: Satoru Endo, Apr 26, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: For about one decade, activation measurements performed on environmental samples from a distance larger than 1 km from the hypocenter of the atomic-bomb explosion over Hiroshima suggested much higher thermal neutron fluences to the survivors than predicted. This caused concern among the radiation protection community and prompted a complete re-evaluation of all aspects of survivor dosimetry. While it was shown recently that secondary neutrons from cosmic radiation and other sources have probably been the reason for the high measured concentrations of the long-lived radioisotope 36Cl in these samples, the source for high measured concentrations of the short-lived radionuclides 152Eu and 60Co has not yet been investigated in detail. In order to quantify the production of 152Eu and 60Co in environmental samples by secondary neutrons from cosmic radiation, thermal neutron fluxes were measured by means of a He gas proportional counter in various buildings where these samples had been and still are being stored. Because a 252Cf neutron source has been operated occasionally close to one of the sample storage rooms, additional neutron flux measurements were carried out when the neutron source was in operation. The thermal neutron fluxes measured ranged from 0.00017 to 0.00093 n cm(-2) s(-1) and depended on the floor number of the investigated building. Based on the measured neutron fluxes, the specific activities from the reactions 151Eu(n,gamma)152Eu and 59Co(n,gamma)60Co in the atomic-bomb samples were estimated to be 7.9 mBq g(-1) Eu and 0.27 mBq g(-1) Co, respectively, in saturation. These activities are much lower than those recently measured in samples that had been exposed to atomic-bomb neutrons. It is therefore concluded that environmental and moderated 252Cf neutrons are not the source for the high activities that had been measured in these samples.
    Health Physics 01/2008; 93(6):689-95. DOI:10.1097/01.HP.0000278420.51860.2d · 1.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epilation was reported among atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, including "early entrance survivors" who entered the cities after the bombings. The absorbed dose to the skin by neutron-activated soil via beta and gamma rays has been estimated in a preliminary fashion, for these survivors in Hiroshima. Estimation was done for external exposures from activated soil on the ground as well as skin and hair contamination from activated soil particles, using the Monte Carlo radiation transport code MCNP-4C. Assuming 26 mum thickness of activated soil on the skin as an example, the skin dose was estimated to be about 0.8 Gy, for an exposure scenario that includes the first 7 days after the bombing at 1 m above the ground at the hypocenter. In this case, 99% of the total skin dose came from activated radionuclides in the soil, i.e., 0.19 and 0.63 Gy due to beta and gamma rays, respectively. In contrast, contribution to skin dose due to skin contamination with soil particles was found to be about 1%. To make it comparable to the exposure by neutron-activated soil on the ground, a soil thickness on the skin of about 1 mm would be required, which seems to be difficult to keep for a long time. Fifty-five percent of the 7-day skin dose was delivered during the first hour after the bombing. Our estimates of the skin dose are lower than the conventionally reported threshold of 2 Gy for epilation. It should be noted, however, that the possibility of more extreme exposure scenarios for example for entrants who received much heavier soil contamination on their skin cannot be excluded.
    Biophysik 08/2008; 47(3):323-30. DOI:10.1007/s00411-008-0172-1 · 1.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the process of developing a new dosimetry system for atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (DS02), an intercomparison study between (152)Eu and (36)Cl measurements was proposed, to reconcile the discrepancy previously observed in the Hiroshima data between measurements and calculations of thermal neutron activation products. Nine granite samples, exposed to the atomic-bomb radiation in Hiroshima within 1,200 m of the hypocenter, as well as mixed standard solutions containing known amounts of europium and chlorine that were neutron-activated by a (252)Cf source, were used for the intercomparison. Gamma-ray spectrometry for (152)Eu was carried out with ultra low-background Ge detectors at the Ogoya Underground Laboratory, Kanazawa University, while three laboratories participated in the (36)Cl measurement using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS): The Technical University of Munich, Germany, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA and the University of Tsukuba, Japan. Measured values for the mixed standard solutions showed good agreement among the participant laboratories. They also agreed well with activation calculations, using the neutron fluences monitored during the (252)Cf irradiation, and the corresponding activation cross-sections taken from the JENDL-3.3 library. The measured-to-calculated ratios obtained were 1.02 for (152)Eu and 0.91-1.02 for (36)Cl, respectively. Similarly, the results of the granite intercomparison indicated good agreement with the DS02 calculation for these samples. An average measured-to-calculated ratio of 0.98 was obtained for all granite intercomparison measurements. The so-called neutron discrepancy that was previously observed and that which included increasing measured-to-calculated ratios for thermal neutron activation products for increasing distances beyond 1,000 m from the hypocenter was not seen in the results of the intercomparison study. The previously claimed discrepancy could be explained by insufficient understanding of the measured data.
    Biophysik 08/2008; 47(3):313-22. DOI:10.1007/s00411-008-0166-z · 1.53 Impact Factor
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