[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An environmental risk assessment (ERA) was performed to evaluate the impact on non-human biota from liquid and atmospheric radioactive discharges by the Belgian Nuclear Power Plants (NPP) of Doel and Tihange. For both sites, characterisation of the source term and wildlife population around the NPPs was provided, whereupon the selection of reference organisms and the general approach taken for the environmental risk assessment was established. A deterministic risk assessment for aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems was performed using the ERICA assessment tool and applying the ERICA screening value of 10 μGy h(-1). The study was performed for the radioactive discharge limits and for the actual releases (maxima and averages over the period 1999-2008 or 2000-2009). It is concluded that the current discharge limits for the Belgian NPPs considered do not result in significant risks to the aquatic and terrestrial environment and that the actual discharges, which are a fraction of the release limits, are unlikely to harm the environment.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An exercise to compare 10 approaches for the calculation of unweighted whole-body absorbed dose rates was conducted for 74 radionuclides and five of the ICRP's Reference Animals and Plants, or RAPs (duck, frog, flatfish egg, rat and elongated earthworm), selected for this exercise to cover a range of body sizes, dimensions and exposure scenarios. Results were analysed using a non-parametric method requiring no specific hypotheses about the statistical distribution of data. The obtained unweighted absorbed dose rates for internal exposure compare well between the different approaches, with 70% of the results falling within a range of variation of ±20%. The variation is greater for external exposure, although 90% of the estimates are within an order of magnitude of one another. There are some discernible patterns where specific models over- or under-predicted. These are explained based on the methodological differences including number of daughter products included in the calculation of dose rate for a parent nuclide; source-target geometry; databases for discrete energy and yield of radionuclides; rounding errors in integration algorithms; and intrinsic differences in calculation methods. For certain radionuclides, these factors combine to generate systematic variations between approaches. Overall, the technique chosen to interpret the data enabled methodological differences in dosimetry calculations to be quantified and compared, allowing the identification of common issues between different approaches and providing greater assurance on the fundamental dose conversion coefficient approaches used in available models for assessing radiological effects to biota.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is now general acknowledgement that there is a requirement to demonstrate that species other than humans are protected from anthropogenic releases of radioactivity. A number of approaches have been developed for estimating the exposure of wildlife and some of these are being used to conduct regulatory assessments. There is a requirement to compare the outputs of such approaches against available data sets to ensure that they are robust and fit for purpose. In this paper we describe the application of seven approaches for predicting the whole-body ((90)Sr, (137)Cs, (241)Am and Pu isotope) activity concentrations and absorbed dose rates for a range of terrestrial species within the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Predictions are compared against available measurement data, including estimates of external dose rate recorded by thermoluminescent dosimeters attached to rodent species. Potential reasons for differences between predictions between the various approaches and the available data are explored.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is increasing interest in radiological assessment of discharges of naturally occurring radionuclides into the terrestrial environment. Such assessments require parameter values for the pathways considered in predictive models. An important pathway for human exposure is via ingestion of food crops and animal products. One of the key parameters in environmental assessment is therefore the soil-to-plant transfer factor to food and fodder crops. The objective of this study was to compile data, based on an extensive literature survey, concerning soil-to-plant transfer factors for uranium, thorium, radium, lead, and polonium. Transfer factor estimates were presented for major crop groups (Cereals, Leafy vegetables, Non-leafy vegetables, Root crops, Tubers, Fruits, Herbs, Pastures/grasses, Fodder), and also for some compartments within crop groups. Transfer factors were also calculated per soil group, as defined by their texture and organic matter content (Sand, Loam, Clay and Organic), and evaluation of transfer factors' dependency on specific soil characteristics was performed following regression analysis. The derived estimates were compared with estimates currently in use.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to compile data, based on an extensive literature survey, for the soil solid-liquid distribution coefficient (K(d)) and soil-to-plant transfer factor (TF) for nickel. The K(d) best estimates were calculated for soils grouped according to texture and organic matter content (sand, loam, clay and organic) and soil cofactors affecting soil-nickel interaction, such as pH, organic matter, and clay content. Variability in K(d) was better explained by pH than by soil texture. Nickel TF estimates were presented for major crop groups (cereals, leafy vegetables, non-leafy vegetables, root crops, tubers, fruits, herbs, pastures/grasses and fodder), and also for plant compartments within crop groups. Transfer factors were also calculated per soil group, as defined by their texture and organic matter content. Furthermore an evaluation of transfer factor dependency on specific soil characteristics was performed following regression analysis. The derived estimates were compared with parameter estimates currently in use.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In particular, in 1994 the IAEA published Technical Reports Series No. 364, Handbook of Parameter Values for the Prediction of Radionuclide Transfer in Temperate Environments. Over the years, it has proved to be a valuable reference for radioecologists, modellers and authorities in Member States, and has been quoted in numerous impact assessments. Technical Reports Series No. 364 was based on a review of available data up to the end of 1992. It was assumed that there is sufficient new information available to warrant reconsideration of a significant proportion of the values given in Technical Reports Series No. 364 and to initiate an updating of Technical Reports Series No. 364 in the framework of the IAEA EMRAS (Environmental Modelling for RAdiation Safety) project. The present IAEA-TECDOC is intended to be a support to the update of Technical Reports Series No. 364, overcoming the limitations of the former, and comprises both revised transfer parameter values, as well as missing data, key transfer processes, concepts and models that were found to be important for radiation safety. The publication was prepared by members of the EMRAS project Working Group 1, Theme 1 Revision of IAEA Technical Reports Series No. 364.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Within the IAEA EMRAS programme, a working group was established to look at the modelling of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) in a variety of environments. There are many models already available. However, guidance on how and when to apply specific models is lacking in many cases. Development of models has often been carried out without a clear understanding of the possible applications of the models. Some models have been developed only for specific applications in specific industries, and are not generally useful. The work carried out during this program has resulted in the identification of several important issues that require consideration in the selection and utilization of computer models for NORM risk assessment. These issues discussed below cover suitability, selection, use and misuse of available models, as well as training and guidance for modelers, and acquisition of data for model inputs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is general international acceptance of the need to demonstrate that the environment is protected from ionising radiation. In some countries requirements and guidelines for the protection of non-human biota are already in place. As a consequence a number of models and approaches have been proposed for the estimation of the exposure of non-human biota to ionising radiation. The IAEA EMRAS programme's Biota Working Group has conducted the most comprehensive intercomparison of the predictions of these approaches to date. In this paper, we present an overview of the activities of the Biota Working Group concentrating on its conclusions and recommendations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A number of models have recently been, or are currently being, developed to enable the assessment of radiation doses from
ionising radiation to non-human species. A key component of these models is the ability to predict whole-organism activity
concentrations in a wide range of wildlife. In this paper, we compare the whole-organism activity concentrations predicted
by eight models participating within the IAEA Environmental Modelling for Radiation Safety programme for a range of radionuclides
to terrestrial and freshwater organisms. In many instances, there was considerable variation, ranging over orders of magnitude,
between the predictions of the different models. Reasons for this variability (including methodology, data source and data
availability) are identified and discussed. The active participation of groups responsible for the development of key models
within this exercise is a useful step forward in providing the transparency in methodology and data provenance required for
models which are either currently being used for regulatory purposes or which may be used in the future. The work reported
in this paper, and supported by other findings, demonstrates that the largest contribution to variability between model predictions
is the parameterisation of their transfer components. There is a clear need to focus efforts and provide authoritative compilations
of those data which are available.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over the last decade a number of models and approaches have been developed for the estimation of the exposure of non-human biota to ionising radiations. In some countries these are now being used in regulatory assessments. However, to date there has been no attempt to compare the outputs of the different models used. This paper presents the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency's EMRAS Biota Working Group which compares the predictions of a number of such models in model-model and model-data inter-comparisons.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A number of approaches have been proposed to estimate the exposure of non-human biota to ionizing radiation. This paper reports an inter-comparison of the unweighted absorbed dose rates for the whole organism (compared as dose conversion coefficients, or DCCs) for both internal and external exposure, estimated by 11 of these approaches for selected organisms from the Reference Animals and Plants geometries as proposed by the International Commission on Radiological Protection. Inter-comparison results indicate that DCCs for internal exposure compare well between the different approaches, whereas variation is greater for external exposure DCCs. Where variation among internal DCCs is greatest, it is generally due to different daughter products being included in the DCC of the parent. In the case of external exposures, particularly to low-energy beta-emitters, variations are most likely to be due to different media densities being assumed. On a radionuclide-by-radionuclide basis, the different approaches tend to compare least favourably for (3)H, (14)C and the alpha-emitters. This is consistent with models with different source/target geometry assumptions showing maximum variability in output for the types of radiation having the lowest range across matter. The intercomparison demonstrated that all participating approaches to biota dose calculation are reasonably comparable, despite a range of different assumptions being made.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The BIOMOSA (BIOsphere MOdels for Safety Assessment of radioactive waste disposal) project was part of the EC fifth framework research programme. The main goal of this project was to improve the scientific basis for the application of biosphere models in the framework of long-term safety studies of radioactive waste disposal facilities and to enhance the confidence in using biosphere models for performance assessments. The study focused on the development and application of a generic biosphere tool BIOGEM (BIOsphere GEneric Model) using the IAEA BIOMASS reference biosphere methodology, and the comparison between BIOGEM and five site-specific biosphere models. The site-specific models and the generic model were applied to five typical locations in Europe, resulting in estimates of the annual effective individual doses to the critical groups and the ranking of the importance of the exposure pathways for each of the sites. Uncertainty in the results was also estimated by means of stochastic calculations based on variation of the site-specific parameter values. This paper describes the generic model and the deterministic and stochastic results obtained when it was applied to the five sites. Details of the site-specific models and the corresponding results are described in two companion papers. This paper also presents a comparison of the results between the generic model and site-specific models. In general, there was an acceptable agreement of the BIOGEM for both the deterministic and stochastic results with the results from the site-specific models.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper describes the development and application of site-specific biosphere models that might be used for assessment of potential exposures in the framework of performance assessment studies of nuclear waste disposals. Model development follows the Reference Biosphere Methodology that has been set up in the framework of the BIOMASS study. In this paper, the application is to real sites at five European locations for which environmental and agricultural conditions have been described and characterised. For each of the sites a biosphere model has been developed specifically assuming a release of radionuclides to waters that are used by humans, for example as drinking water for humans and cattle and as irrigation water. Among the ingestion pathways, the intakes of drinking water, cereals, leafy vegetables, potatoes, milk, beef and freshwater fish are included in all models. Annual individual doses were calculated, and uncertainties in the results were estimated by means of stochastic calculations. To enable a comparison, all results were normalised to an activity concentration in groundwater of 1 Bq m(-3) for each of the radionuclides considered ((36)Cl, (79)Se, (99)Tc, (129)I, (135)Cs, (226)Ra, (231)Pa, (230)Th, (237)Np, (239)Pu, and (238)U), i.e. those that are usually most relevant in performance assessment studies of nuclear waste disposals. Although the results do not give answers in absolute terms on potential future exposures, they indicate the spectrum of exposures that might occur in different environments and specify the interaction of environmental conditions, human habits and potential exposure.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the framework of the BioMoSA project for the development of biosphere assessment models for radioactive waste disposal the Reference Biosphere Methodology developed in the IAEA programme BIOMASS was applied to five locations, situated in different European countries. Specific biosphere models were applied to assess the hypothetical contamination of a range of agricultural and environmental pathways and the dose to individuals, following contamination of well water. The results of these site-specific models developed by the different BioMoSA partners, and the individual normalised dose to the exposure groups were compared against each other. Ingestion of drinking water, fruit and vegetables were found to be among the most important pathways for almost all radionuclides. Stochastic calculations revealed that consumption habits, transfer factors, irrigation rates and distribution coefficients (Kd(s)) were the most important parameters that influence the end results. Variations in the confidence intervals were found to be higher for sorbing elements (e.g. (36)Cl, (237)Np, (99)Tc, (238)U, (129)I) than for mobile elements (e.g. (226)Ra, (79)Se, (135)Cs, (231)Pa, (239)Pu). The influence of daughter products, for which the distribution into the biosphere was calculated individually, was also shown to be important. This paper gives a brief overview of the deterministic and stochastic modelling results and the parameter sensitivity. A screening methodology was introduced to identify the most important pathways, simplify a generic biosphere tool and refine the existing models.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The BioMoSA (Biosphere Models for Safety Assessment of Radioactive Waste Disposal) project was part of the EC fifth framework research program. The main goal of this project was the improvement of the scientific basis for the application of biosphere models in the framework of long-term safety studies of radioactive waste disposal facilities. Another aim of the project was to provide operators and regulatory bodies with guidelines for performance assessments of repository systems. The study focused on the development and application of site-specific models and a generic biosphere tool BIOGEM (BIOsphere GEneric Model), using the experience from National programs and the IAEA BIOMASS reference biosphere methodology. The models were applied to 5 typical locations in Europe, resulting in estimates of the annual individual doses to the critical groups and the ranking of the importance of the pathways for each of the sites. The results of the site-specific and generic models were then compared. Uncertainty in the results was estimated by means of stochastic calculations which allowed a comparison of the overall model uncertainty with the variability across the different sites considered.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over the last decade, there have been a number of models and approaches proposed to estimate the exposure of non-human biota to ionising radiations. Some countries are now using these within their national regulatory frameworks for nuclear and other sites which may be releasing radioactivity to the environment. To date validation of these approaches has been limited and there has been little attempt to compare the outputs of the different models being applied. To address this gap, a new Biota Working Group (BWG) has been formed by the IAEA as part of the EMRAS (Environmental Modelling for Radiation Safety) programme. The primary objective of the EMRAS BWG, as set by its participants, is: ‘to compare and validate models being used and developed by Member States for biota dose assessment (that may be used) as part of regulatory process of licensing and compliance monitoring of authorised releases of radionuclides in order to improve Member State’s capabilities for protection of the environment’. Initial exercises are directed at the comparison and validation of screening level models. In this paper, we will report on a recently conducted comparison of predicted activity concentrations in a range of non-human biota assuming a simple scenario. Unweighted internal and external dose conversion coefficients will also be compared for a selection of reference organism geometries, as currently being proposed by the ICRP, in environmentally relevant media. The models and approaches used encompass those being developed and applied in the USA, Canada, France, Belgium and the UK, as well as the outputs from international collaborative programmes. The results of this work will be discussed in the context of the longer term objectives of the EMRAS Biota Working Group.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Following the Chernobyl reactor fire in April 1986, acute irradiation caused complete decay of pine trees in forest located in direct vicinity of ChNPP. The so-called "Red Forest", a 1500 ha of Scots pine stand where the absorbed doses values exceeded the destructive value for coniferous species (> 60 Gy), is still today one of the most contaminated terrestrial ecosystems on Earth. Emergency clean-up activities consisted of in situ burial of contaminated topsoil layers and dead trees in about two hundred sub-surface trenches involving 1 million m3 of radioactive materials. The trenches of Red Forest waste dump were then covered with 20-30 cm layer of "clean" sand and the site was revegetated with a mixture of pine, birch and bushes to prevent secondary contamination due to soil erosion or wind resuspension (Kozubov and Taskaev, 2002).