J Vives i Batlle

Belgian Nuclear Research Centre, Moll, Flanders, Belgium

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Publications (57)118.85 Total impact

  • J Vives I Batlle, S R Jones, D Copplestone
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    ABSTRACT: A method is presented for estimating (41)Ar, (85,88)Kr and (131m,133)Xe dose rates to terrestrial wildlife without having to resort to comparisons with analogue radionuclides. The approach can be used to calculate the dose rates arising from external exposures to given ambient air concentrations of these isotopes. Dose conversion coefficient (DCC) values for a range of representative organisms are calculated, using a Monte Carlo approach to generate absorbed fractions based on representing animals as reference ellipsoid geometries. Plume immersion is the main component of the total DCC. DCC values calculated for a human-sized organism are compared with human dose conversion factors from ICRP Publication 119, demonstrating the consistency of the biota approach with that for humans. An example of application is provided for hypothetical nuclear power plant atmospheric discharges with associated exposures to birds and insects. In this example, the dose rates appear to be dominated by (133)Xe and (88)Kr, respectively. The biota considered would be protected from the effects of noble gas radiation from a population protection perspective. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 04/2015; 144:152-161. DOI:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2015.03.004 · 3.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We will never have data to populate all of the potential radioecological modelling parameters required for wildlife assessments. Therefore, we need robust extrapolation approaches which allow us to make best use of our available knowledge. This paper reviews and, in some cases, develops, tests and validates some of the suggested extrapolation approaches. The concentration ratio (CRproduct-diet or CRwo-diet) is shown to be a generic (trans-species) parameter which should enable the more abundant data for farm animals to be applied to wild species. An allometric model for predicting the biological half-life of radionuclides in vertebrates is further tested and generally shown to perform acceptably. However, to fully exploit allometry we need to understand why some elements do not scale to expected values. For aquatic ecosystems, the relationship between log10(a) (a parameter from the allometric relationship for the organism-water concentration ratio) and log(Kd) presents a potential opportunity to estimate concentration ratios using Kd values. An alternative approach to the CRwo-media model proposed for estimating the transfer of radionuclides to freshwater fish is used to satisfactorily predict activity concentrations in fish of different species from three lakes. We recommend that this approach (REML modelling) be further investigated and developed for other radionuclides and across a wider range of organisms and ecosystems. Ecological stoichiometry shows potential as an extrapolation method in radioecology, either from one element to another or from one species to another. Although some of the approaches considered require further development and testing, we demonstrate the potential to significantly improve predictions of radionuclide transfer to wildlife by making better use of available data. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 04/2015; 214. DOI:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2015.03.022 · 3.57 Impact Factor
  • J Vives I Batlle
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    ABSTRACT: This paper does not necessarily reflect the views of the International Commission on Radiological Protection.Radiation doses to marine biota near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been estimated for the immediate aftermath and subsequent period of the accident. Dose estimations using monitoring data have been complemented by means of dynamic transfer modelling, improving on the more traditional equilibrium transfer approach. Earlier assessments using equilibrium transfer models overestimated the exposures in the immediate aftermath of the accident, whereas dynamic transfer modelling brings them more in line with the doses calculated from monitored activity concentrations in the biota. On that basis, marine biota populations in the vicinity of Fukushima do not seem to be at significant risk. The situation in the late post-accident period shows a tendency for lower exposures, but radiocaesium in sediments and biota persists to this day, with some organisms inhabiting local hotspots. Little is known about how long radionuclides will continue to remain in the local environment, or the long-term effects on populations due to limited knowledge on the effects of chronic radiation exposures to marine organisms. Therefore, the marine environment at Fukushima needs further study. The Fukushima nuclear accident remains an ongoing problem for marine radioecology, requiring constant re-evaluation of the cumulative extent of contamination and effects on the environment for years to come. © The International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav.
    Annals of the ICRP 03/2015; 44(1 Suppl). DOI:10.1177/0146645315576099
  • Jordi Vives I Batlle
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    ABSTRACT: The dynamic model D-DAT was developed to study the dynamics of radionuclide uptake and turnover in biota and sediments in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima accident. This dynamics is determined by the interplay between the residence time of radionuclides in seawater/sediments and the biological half-lives of elimination by the biota. The model calculates time-variable activity concentration of 131I, 134Cs, 137Cs and 90Sr in seabed sediment, fish, crustaceans, molluscs and macroalgae from surrounding activity concentrations in seawater, with which to derive internal and external dose rates.
    Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 03/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2015.02.023 · 3.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many wetlands support high biodiversity and are protected sites, but some are contaminated with radionuclides from routine or accidental releases from nuclear facilities. This radiation exposure needs to be assessed to demonstrate radiological protection of the environment. Existing biota dose models cover generic terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems, not wetlands specifically. This paper, which was produced under IAEA's Environmental Modelling for Radiation Safety (EMRAS) II programme, describes an evaluation of how models can be applied to radionuclide contaminated wetlands. Participants used combinations of aquatic and terrestrial model parameters to assess exposure. Results show the importance of occupancy factor and food source (aquatic or terrestrial) included. The influence of soil saturation conditions on external dose rates is also apparent. In general, terrestrial parameters provided acceptable predictions for wetland organisms. However, occasionally predictions varied by three orders of magnitude between assessors. Possible further developments for biota dose models and research needs are identified.
    Environmental Pollution 01/2015; 196. DOI:10.1016/j.envpol.2014.10.012 · 3.90 Impact Factor
  • Hildegarde Vandenhove, Jordi Vives I Batlle, Lieve Sweeck
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    ABSTRACT: The activities of the phosphate industry may lead to enhanced levels of naturally occurring radioactivity in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. We performed a preliminary environmental risk assessment (ERA) of environmental contamination resulting from the activities of 5 phosphate fertiliser plants (located in Belgium, Spain, Syria, Egypt, Brazil), a phosphate-mine and a phosphate-export platform in a harbour (both located in Syria). These sites were selected because of the availability of information on concentrations of naturally occurring radionuclides in the surrounding environments. Assessments were generally performed considering highest environmental concentrations reported in the studies. The ERICA Tool, operating in a Tier 2 assessment mode, was used to predict radiation dose rates and associated risk to the selected reference organisms using the ERICA default parameter setting. Reference organisms were those assigned as default by the ERICA Tool. Potential impact is expressed as a best estimate risk quotient (RQ) based on a radiation screening value of 10 μGy h(-1). If RQ ≤ 1, the environment is considered unlikely to be at risk and further radiological assessment is not deemed necessary. Except for one of the cases assessed, the best estimate RQ exceeded 1 for at least one of the reference organisms. Internal exposure covered for 90-100 % of the total dose. (226)Ra or (210)Po were generally the highest contributors to the dose. The aquatic ecosystems in the vicinity of the phosphate fertiliser plants in Tessenderlo (Belgium), Huelva (Spain), Goiás (Brazil) and the terrestrial environment around the phosphate mine in Palmyra (Syria) are the ecosystems predicted to be potentially most at risk. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 12/2014; 141C:14-23. DOI:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2014.11.001 · 3.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An international study under the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) was performed to assess radiological impact of the nuclear accident at the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) on the marine environment. This work constitutes the first international assessment of this type, drawing upon methodologies that incorporate the most up-to-date radioecological models and knowledge. To quantify the radiological impact on marine wildlife, a suite of state-of-the-art approaches to assess exposures to Fukushima derived radionuclides of marine biota, including predictive dynamic transfer modelling, was applied to a comprehensive dataset consisting of over 500 sediment, 6000 seawater and 5000 biota data points representative of the geographically relevant area during the first year after the accident. The dataset covers the period from May 2011 to August 2012. The method used to evaluate the ecological impact consists of comparing dose (rates) to which living species of interest are exposed during a defined period to critical effects values arising from the literature. The assessed doses follow a highly variable pattern and generally do not seem to indicate the potential for effects. A possible exception of a transient nature is the relatively contaminated area in the vicinity of the discharge point, where effects on sensitive endpoints in individual plants and animals might have occurred in the weeks directly following the accident. However, impacts on population integrity would have been unlikely due to the short duration and the limited space area of the initially high exposures. Our understanding of the biological impact of radiation on chronically exposed plants and animals continues to evolve, and still needs to be improved through future studies in the FDNPS marine environment.
    Science of The Total Environment 04/2014; 487C:143-153. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2014.03.137 · 4.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Following releases from the nuclear accident at the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS), contention has arisen over the potential radiological impact on wildlife. Under the auspices of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, a suite of recently developed approaches was applied to calculate exposure and thereafter infer effects on wildlife through comparison with compiled dose–response relationships. Only macroalgae (accumulated dose of 7 Gy) substantially exceeded its corresponding benchmark. We inferred that although effects on sensitive end points in individual plants and animals might have occurred in the weeks directly following the accident in relatively contaminated areas, impacts on population integrity would have been unlikely because of the short duration of the most highly elevated exposures. The conclusions of the assessment are incongruous with recent field observations of effects on some animal species, the cause of which has been reportedly exposures from FDNPS releases.
    02/2014; 1(3):198–203. DOI:10.1021/ez500019j
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    ABSTRACT: To obtain a better understanding on how non-human biota are affected by exposure to environmental radioactivity, it is essential to link observed effects to a correct estimate of absorbed ionising radiation dose. Current wildlife dose rate and risk assessment tools are not set up to assess changes in dose rate during organism development. This paper presents a dosimetry model for assessing dose rate and absorbed dose during seedling development of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. We included growth and radionuclide absorption dynamics into the dose calculations. This model was subsequently used to compare the dose and dose rate calculations for three radionuclides, (241)Am (α-radiation), (90)Sr (β-radiation) and (133)Ba (γ-radiation), in a standard exposure scenario. We show that growth influences dose and dose rate and that this influence depends on the radionuclide and the organ involved. The use of dynamic dosimetry models greatly improves the dose calculations for effect studies.
    Journal of Theoretical Biology 01/2014; 347. DOI:10.1016/j.jtbi.2014.01.012 · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An international study under the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) was performed to assess radiological impact of the nuclear accident at the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) on the marine environment. This work constitutes the first international assessment of this type, drawing upon methodologies that incorporate the most up-to-date radioecological models and knowledge. To quantify the radiological impact on marine wildlife, a suite of state-of-the-art approaches to assess exposures to Fukushima derived radionuclides of marine biota, including predictive dynamic transfer modelling, was applied to a comprehensive dataset consisting of over 500 sediment, 6000 seawater and 5000 biota data points representative of the geographically relevant area during the first year after the accident. The dataset covers the period from May 2011 to August 2012. The method used to evaluate the ecological impact consists of comparing dose (rates) to which living species of interest are exposed during a defined period to critical effects values arising from the literature. The assessed doses follow a highly variable pattern and generally do not seem to indicate the potential for effects. A possible exception of a transient nature is the relatively contaminated area in the vicinity of the discharge point, where effects on sensitive endpoints in individual plants and animals might have occurred in the weeks directly following the accident. However, impacts on population integrity would have been unlikely due to the short duration and the limited space area of the initially high exposures. Our understanding of the biological impact of radiation on chronically exposed plants and animals continues to evolve, and still needs to be improved through future studies in the FDNPS marine environment.
    Science of The Total Environment 01/2014; 487:143–153. · 4.10 Impact Factor
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    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.
    Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 08/2013; 126C:61-76. DOI:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2013.07.004 · 3.57 Impact Factor
  • N A Beresford, J Vives I Batlle
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    ABSTRACT: The application of allometric, or mass-dependent, relationships within radioecology has increased with the evolution of models to predict the exposure of organisms other than man. Allometry presents a method of addressing the lack of empirical data on radionuclide transfer and metabolism for the many radionuclide-species combinations which may need to be considered. However, sufficient data across a range of species with different masses are required to establish allometric relationships and this is not always available. Here, an alternative allometric approach to predict the biological half-life of radionuclides in homoeothermic vertebrates which does not require such data is derived. Biological half-life values are predicted for four radionuclides and compared to available data for a range of species. All predictions were within a factor of five of the observed values when the model was parameterised appropriate to the feeding strategy of each species. This is an encouraging level of agreement given that the allometric models are intended to provide broad approximations rather than exact values. However, reasons why some radionuclides deviate from what would be anticipated from Kleiber's law need to be determined to allow a more complete exploitation of the potential of allometric extrapolation within radioecological models.
    Biophysik 07/2013; DOI:10.1007/s00411-013-0481-x · 1.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is a need for a better understanding of biological effects of radiation exposure in non-human biota. Correct description of these effects requires a more detailed model of dosimetry than that available in current risk assessment tools, particularly for plants. In this paper, we propose a simple model for dose calculations in roots and shoots of Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings exposed to radionuclides in a hydroponic exposure setup. This model is used to compare absorbed doses for three radionuclides, (241)Am (α-radiation), (90)Sr (β-radiation) and (133)Ba (γ radiation). Using established dosimetric calculation methods, dose conversion coefficient values were determined for each organ separately based on uptake data from the different plant organs. These calculations were then compared to the DCC values obtained with the ERICA tool under equivalent geometry assumptions. When comparing with our new method, the ERICA tool appears to overestimate internal doses and underestimate external doses in the roots for all three radionuclides, though each to a different extent. These observations might help to refine dose-response relationships. The DCC values for (90)Sr in roots are shown to deviate the most. A dose-effect curve for (90)Sr β-radiation has been established on biomass and photosynthesis endpoints, but no significant dose-dependent effects are observed. This indicates the need for use of endpoints at the molecular and physiological scale.
    Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 04/2013; 133. DOI:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2013.03.011 · 3.57 Impact Factor
  • T Nedveckaite, A Gudelis, J Vives I Batlle
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    ABSTRACT: This work describes the radiological assessment of the near-surface Maisiagala radioactive waste repository (Lithuania) over the period 2005-2012, with focus on water pathways and special emphasis on tritium. The study includes an assessment of the effect of post-closure upgrading, the durability of which is greater than 30 years. Both human and terrestrial non-human biota are considered, with local low-intensity forestry and small farms being the area of concern. The radiological exposure was evaluated using the RESRAD-OFFSITE, RESRAD-BIOTA and ERICA codes in combination with long-term data from a dedicated environmental monitoring programme. All measurements were performed at the Lithuanian Institute of Physics as part of this project. It is determined that, after repository upgrading, radiological exposure to humans are significantly lower than the human dose constraint of 0.2 mSv/year valid in the Republic of Lithuania. Likewise, for non-human biota, dose rates are below the ERICA/PROTECT screening levels. The potential annual effective inhalation dose that could be incurred by the highest-exposed human individual (which is due to tritiated water vapour airborne release over the most exposed area) does not exceed 0.1 μSv. Tritium-labelled drinking water appears to be the main pathway for human impact, representing about 83 % of the exposure. Annual committed effective dose (CED) values for members of the public consuming birch sap as medical practice are calculated to be several orders of magnitude below the CEDs for the same location associated with drinking of well water. The data presented here indicate that upper soil-layer samples may not provide a good indication of potential exposure to terrestrial deep-rooted trees, as demonstrated by an investigation of stratified (3)H in soil moisture, expressed on a wet soil mass basis, in an area with subsurface contamination.
    Biophysik 02/2013; 52(2). DOI:10.1007/s00411-013-0459-8 · 1.58 Impact Factor
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    J. Vives i Batlle, D. Copplestone, S.R. Jones
    Science of The Total Environment 11/2012; 439:354. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.08.001 · 4.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This report describes in details the basic concepts, needs and data treatment for the population modeling approaches that have been implemented under WP-5 dedicated to “ecologically-relevant low doses effects to non-human species” as part of Task 5.1 devoted to the derivation of population-level protection criteria. Two modeling approaches are presented for extrapolating radiation dose effects from individuals to populations of non-human biota.  The first approach, developed as part of the STAR programme, is inspired from methods which are increasingly used in ecotoxicology to address population effects of chemical contaminants. The approach applies Leslie matrix techniques to the case of chronic external gamma irradiation on a range of wildlife species, based on effect data available in the FREDERICA database and interpreted as dose rate response curves. Considered species cover 14 species representing four taxonomic groups (aquatic and soil invertebrates, fish and terrestrial mammals). The strength of the method is its suitability to integrate outcomes of DEBTox applications that will be conducted under Task 5.3 as consequences for population dynamics (limited to the few experimentally tested species).  The second approach evolves from a model specifically developed to address radiation effects at the population level in the European lobster and generalised to some mammalian species during the IAEA programme EMRAS II from 2009 to 2011. The model, based on a set of differential equations describing a simplified life history (with two life stages) with logistic functions for reproduction and mortality and a radiation repair mechanism, is reported in this deliverable with its application to fish and mouse. Results of simulations are compared and discussed underlying the following conclusions: (i) Population consequences vary depending on impaired individual endpoints and life history characteristics of exposed species; (ii) Populations can be more radiosensitive than the most sensitive individual endpoint, as a result of combined slight effects on several individual endpoints; (iii) The scarcity of data for acute and chronic exposure often makes it necessary to rely on highly speculative extrapolations (e.g. among species, acute to chronic exposures, among radiation types). This point underlines the need to improve our understanding of the mechanisms underlying radiation toxicity, in order to make better use and interpretation of all the available effect data. (iv) One major limit of the present approaches resides in their incapacity to integrate all the molecular, cellular or histological damages described in exposed organisms. This limit is the cause for one main discrepancy between population-level results and those based on the most sensitive individual endpoints taking account of all sub-individual levels of biological organisation. Future directions include analysing effects using mechanistic concepts in order to make the best possible use of all available data and defining adequate threshold levels assumed to protect species and/or taxonomic groups according to their life history characteristics.
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    ABSTRACT: An inter-comparison of five models designed to predict the effect of ionizing radiation on populations of non-human wildlife, performed under the IAEA EMRAS II programme, is presented and discussed. A benchmark scenario 'Population response to chronic irradiation' was developed in which stable generic populations of mice, hare/rabbit, wolf/wild dog and deer were modelled as subjected to chronic low-LET radiation with dose rates of 0-5 × 10(-2) Gy day(-1) in increments of 10(-2) Gy day(-1). The duration of exposure simulations was 5 years. Results are given for the size of each surviving population for each of the applied dose rates at the end of the 1st to 5th years of exposure. Despite the theoretical differences in the modelling approaches, the inter-comparison allowed the identification of a series of common findings. At dose rates of about 10(-2) Gy day(-1) for 5 years, the survival of populations of short-lived species was better than that of long-lived species: significant reduction in large mammals was predicted whilst small mammals survive at 80-100 % of the control. Dose rates in excess of 2 × 10(-2) Gy day(-1) for 5 years produced considerable reduction in all populations. From this study, a potential relationship between higher reproduction rates and lower radiation effects at population level can be hypothesized. The work signals the direction for future investigations to validate and improve the predictive ability of different population dose effects models.
    Biophysik 07/2012; 51(4). DOI:10.1007/s00411-012-0430-0 · 1.58 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 06/2012; 112:171-4. DOI:10.1016/j.jenvrad.2012.05.004 · 3.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Estimates of absorbed dose rates to wildlife from exposure to natural background radionuclides are required to put estimates of dose rates arising from regulated releases of radioactivity and proposed benchmarks into context. Recent review papers have estimated dose rates to wildlife from (40)K, and (238)U and (232)Th series radionuclides. However, only one study previous has considered the potential dose rates to burrowing animals from inhaled (222)Rn and its daughter products. In this paper we describe a study conducted at seven sites in northwest England. Passive track etch detectors were used to measure the (222)Rn concentrations in artificial burrows over a period of approximately one year. Results suggest that absorbed dose rates to burrowing mammals as a consequence of exposure to (222)Rn are likely to be at least an order of magnitude higher than those suggested in previous evaluations of natural background exposure rates which had omitted this radionuclide and exposure pathway. Dose rates in some areas of Great Britain will be considerably in excess of incremental no-effects benchmark dose rates suggested for use as screening levels. Such advised benchmark dose rates need to be better put into context with background dose rates, including exposure to (222)Rn, to ensure credibility; although the context will be determined by the purpose of the benchmark and the assessment level.
    Science of The Total Environment 06/2012; 431:252-61. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2012.05.023 · 4.10 Impact Factor