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Distillate ethanol production for re-use of abandoned lands - an analysis and risk assessment

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Technical Report

Distillate ethanol production for re-use of abandoned lands - an analysis and risk assessment

Abstract and Figures

Following the 1986 Chernobyl and 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accidents, large areas of land became unsuitable for crop production as a result of radioactive contamination. It is well known that distillation of fermented crops to produce ethanol significantly reduces impurities. This working paper presents the results of an experimental field study in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) to evaluate the transfer of radionuclides to crops and to distilled ethanol. The Opachichi field site has contamination levels typical of the outer 10-30 km Zone and is significantly lower than many areas within the 10 km Zone. The ethanol is diluted to 40% by volume using water from the deep aquifer in Chernobyl town, 10 km south of the nuclear power plant. The rye grain had elevated levels of Cs-137 and Sr-90, but Pu and Am isotopes were below detection limits. The Sr-90 activity was slightly above the Ukrainian limit of 20 Bq kg-1. At this site within the CEZ, Sr-90 fallout is relatively high at 20 kBq m-2 and is much higher than in abandoned lands outside the CEZ. There were no artificial radionuclides observed in the distillate ethanol (diluted to 40% with Chernobyl Town groundwater) sample. The low energy beta analysis recorded an estimated 58 Bq/L which we attribute to natural C-14 consistent with the expected activity concentration of natural C-14 in ethanol at this dilution. All radionuclides analysed in the groundwater sample were below limits of detection. Modelling of radiation doses to a farm worker using three different models found these to be significantly below 1 mSv y-1 .
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WORKING PAPER
SUBMITTED TO
The State Agency of Ukraine for Exclusion Zone Management
AND
The Narodychi District Administration
Distillate ethanol production for re-use of abandoned lands -
an analysis and risk assessment.
Smith, J.T.a, Laptev, G.b, Korychensky, K.b, Kireev, S.c, Obrizan, S.d, Hoque, M.A.a,
Kashparov, V.e, Levchuk, S.e, Bugai, D.f, Warwick, P.E.g
aSchool of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Portsmouth, Burnaby Building, Burnaby
Road, Portsmouth, PO1 3QL, UK.
b. Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute, 37, Prospekt Nauky, Kyiv, 03028, Ukraine
c. State Specialized Enterprise ECOCENTRE 6, Shkilna Str., 07270 Chornobyl, Kyiv Region, Ukraine
d. Chernobyl Biosphere Reserve, 28 Tolochyna Str., Ivankiv, Kyiv Oblast, 07201, Ukraine
e. Ukrainian Institute of Agricultural Radiology of National University of Life and Environmental
Sciences of Ukraine, Mashinobudivnykiv str. 7, Chabany, Kyiv region, 08162, Ukraine
f. Institute of Geological Sciences of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine
g. GAU-Radioanalytical, University of Southampton, NOCS, European way, SO14 6HT Southampton,
UK
A working paper of the UK Natural Environment Research Council funded iCLEAR project
supporting management of the Chernobyl abandoned areas in Ukraine.
7 August 2019
Summary
Following the 1986 Chernobyl and 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accidents, large areas of
land became unsuitable for crop production as a result of radioactive contamination. It is well
known that distillation of fermented crops to produce ethanol significantly reduces
impurities. This working paper presents the results of an experimental field study in the
Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) to evaluate the transfer of radionuclides to crops and to
distilled ethanol. The Opachichi field site has contamination levels typical of the outer 10-30
km Zone and is significantly lower than many areas within the 10 km Zone. The ethanol is
diluted to 40% by volume using water from the deep aquifer in Chernobyl town, 10 km south
of the nuclear power plant. The rye grain had elevated levels of 137Cs and 90Sr, but Pu and Am
isotopes were below detection limits. The 90Sr activity was slightly above the Ukrainian limit
of 20 Bq kg-1. At this site within the CEZ, 90Sr fallout is relatively high at 20 kBq m-2 and is much
higher than in abandoned lands outside the CEZ. There were no artificial radionuclides
observed in the distillate ethanol (diluted to 40% with Chernobyl Town groundwater) sample.
The low energy beta analysis recorded an estimated 58 Bq/L which we attribute to natural 14C
consistent with the expected activity concentration of natural 14C in ethanol at this dilution.
All radionuclides analysed in the groundwater sample were below limits of detection.
Modelling of radiation doses to a farm worker using three different models found these to be
significantly below 1 mSv y-1.
Introduction
Following the 1986 Chernobyl and 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accidents, large areas of
land became unsuitable for crop production as a result of radioactive contamination. More
than thirty years after Chernobyl, more than 6000 square kilometres of land in Belarus and
Ukraine remain abandoned, a significant proportion of which are former agricultural lands.
Since these accidents, many methods have been developed to reduce activity concentrations
of radionuclides in crops (e.g. (Beresford et al., 2016; Fesenko et al., 2007), however in large
parts of the abandoned areas, activity concentrations in crops could still exceed regulatory
limits. Even in cases where regulatory limits (Japan: 100 Bq kg-1 of 137Cs (Nihei et al., 2016);
Ukraine: 50 Bq kg-1 137Cs, 20 Bq kg-1 90Sr for cereals (Balonov et al., 2018)) are not exceeded,
there may be significant public reluctance to consume products viewed as “contaminated”.
For example, rice grown in the more contaminated parts of the Fukushima Prefecture has
been traded at an approximately 20% lower price than the national average (MAFF, 2016)
due to consumer concerns over its safety.
Alternative uses of crops grown in radioactively contaminated land have been suggested,
including use as feed for fur-producing animals (Howard, 1993) and processing to produce
industrial ethanol (Firsakova et al., 2000), both of which are expected to prevent the transfer
of significant radioactivity to the human food chain. A stakeholder consultation in five
Western European countries concluded that “any process that produces marketable food
from contaminated raw materials was considered to be unacceptable” by the UK and Belgian
stakeholder groups but may be acceptable under specific circumstances in some countries
(Nisbet et al., 2005). This study (Nisbet et al., 2005) found that the use of contaminated crops
for biofuel production was likely to be acceptable.
Any countermeasure based on processing of crops which exceed regulatory limits (or are
deemed unacceptable by consumers for direct consumption) needs to be supported by a full
life-cycle analysis of radiation risks to farm and process workers and evaluation of the fate of
radioactivity in the original crop. The present study, for the first time, carries out such an
analysis for the production of distillate ethanol from grain grown on experimental plots in the
Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) in Ukraine. Deep aquifer groundwater from the well in the
town of Chernobyl (approximately 10 km South of the power plant site) is used for final
dilution of the product to 40% ethanol by volume.
Methods
An experimental plot of approximately 0.25 ha was designated near the Opachichi settlement
in one of the relatively less contaminated parts of the CEZ (Fig 1). The area is officially
abandoned, but a few “self-settlers” remain. The soil type in the area is soddy-podzolic.
Surface contamination of the field plot was 100 kBq m-2 of 137Cs and 20 kBq m-2 of 90Sr. Other
isotopes were estimated from empirical data on isotope ratios to 137Cs in this area (Chernobyl
ECOCENTER; unpubl. res.). A crop of rye was grown on the field plot and harvested using
standard farming methods.
Water samples were taken from a depth of > 250 m from a confined chalk-limestone aquifer
of Jurassic age, the third aquifer from the surface in a multi-aquifer system, and the main
source of urban water supply in Chernobyl town (Dzhepo and Skal’skii, 2002). The surficial
Quaternary sandy alluvial unconfined aquifer (ca. 20 m thickness) received small amounts of
radioactivity from surface fallout after the accident. But the deep aquifer is separated from
the near-surface shallow groundwaters by another confined aquifer system of ca. >100 m
thickness sandwiched by low permeability layers of marl and clay-rich lithologies at the top
and bottom. Although there is spatial variability in the aquifer geology on a regional scale,
this third aquifer, where the water sample came from, is isolated from the influence of the
accident because of multi-level low-permeability barriers in between this and shallower
unconfined aquifer (Fabyshenko and Nicholoson, 2015), as confirmed by previous tracer
studies (Bugai et al. 1996).
Figure 1. Map of contamination in the CEZ (as of 1997) and location of the experimental plot.
Distillation method
Ethanol production from grains involves a chain of different technical steps before the
distillation process begins (Buglass, 2011). After harvesting, the grains were sieved to remove
stones, stem and leaf residuals and other particles, and washed to remove dust. The grain is
dried at 25-30 oC to reach relative humidity less than 50%, with further drying in VENTICELL
forced air circulation heating oven at 45 oC to reach less than 15% humidity. The grain was
then milled to a grain size of 0.2-1 mm with a flour fraction of less than 10%.
The wort was prepared in a 50 L experimental tank. 24 L of water was raised to a temperature
of 70-80 oC then 6 kg of grain was added and stirred until it had the consistency of dense
porridge. Alpha-amylase and glucoamylase were added to the Wort to liquefy and saccharify
the starch molecules for further consumption by yeasts. A temperature range of 70-80 oC
was used for the alpha-amylase stage for greatest efficiency of enzymatic breakdown of the
starch. The glucoamylase is then applied when wort is cooled to a temperature of 60 oC
(Balcerek et al. 2016). The wort was periodically mixed during the first 30 minutes after the
enzyme was added. The wort was then left to be saccharified and cooled to 30 degrees prior
to yeast fermentation (Neves et al., 2006).
Commercial active dried yeasts were used for fermentation at a proportion of 10 g of yeast
per 1 kilogram of grain material. Fermentation was done in controlled temperature conditions
over 5 days, for this purposes hand made insulated box with hot plate was used.
Thermometer and controller kept the temperature of the wort at 30 oC during the full period
of fermentation (Naeem et al., 2015). During fermentation, the wort was in a sealed reservoir
with a tube for gas release with a water lock.
When the fermentation process is complete, the alcohol content in the wort is about 12%.
The liquid part is decanted and filtered to remove suspended particles. From this time the
liquid decantant of the wort (the “wash”) is ready for distillation. The distillation apparatus
(AquaGradus Compact) with a 35 L stainless steel tank was used for triple distillation of the
decanted liquid. The first distillation was carried out to obtain all raw alcohol without
discrimination of spirits fractions, the temperatures of distillation of the first distillation were
from 70 to 97 oC, and the distillation process was finished when the content of alcohol in the
distillate flow decreased to 35%. Before the second distillation, all raw alcohol material from
the first fraction was diluted with water to a content of 20% of alcohol in total. During the
second distillation 10% of distillate was removed to "heads" fraction which correspond to the
temperatures below 78 oC. The "Hearts" fraction were collected in a temperature range from
78 to 85 oC on low heat until the alcohol content in distillate flow decreased to 40%. The
residuals of alcohol from the second distillation was discarded as the "tails" fraction that
contain most of the fusel oils. Before the third distillation, the "hearts" from the second
distillation were diluted with water to a content of 20% of alcohol in total and filtered through
birch activated charcoal. During the third distillation, 5% of distillate was removed to the
"heads" fraction. The "hearts" fraction were collected in a temperature range from 78 to 85
oC on low heat until the alcohol content in distillate flow decreased to 40%. The "hearts" from
the third distillation was diluted with Chernobyl ground water to produce grain spirit with
alcohol content 40%.
Radioanalytical methods
Radioanalytical methods at GAU-Radioanalytical were as follows:
Sub-samples of rye, diluted ethanol and groundwater were transferred to counting vials for
analysis as received by gamma spectrometry. Further sub-samples were taken for 3H, 14C,
gross alpha/beta analysis and digestion for all other radiochemical analysis.
Gross alpha/beta analysis: the rye sample was treated with sodium sulphate solution, ignited
at 400oC and then digested with aqua regia. An aliquot of the ethanol solution was dropwise
applied to a filter and evaporated to dryness under an infrared lamp.
Radiochemical analysis: Sub-samples were spiked with 85Sr, 232U, 242Pu and 243Am tracers for
chemical recovery monitoring. The spiked groundwater sub-sample was acidified with c.HNO3
and evaporated to dryness and the residue digested with aqua regia. The rye sub-sample was
ignited at 500oC for >10hrs and the residue digested with aqua regia. The spiked ethanol sub-
sample was evaporated to dryness and the residue digested with aqua regia.
Gamma spectrometry. High-resolution gamma spectrometric analysis was performed using
HPGe detectors. Detectors were calibrated against a mixed radionuclide standard solution.
The standard was used to prepare a source of identical geometry to that of the samples.
Gamma spectra were analysed and individual radionuclides quantified using Fitzpeaks
spectral deconvolution software (JF Computing Services). All artificial gamma-emitting
radionuclides detected have been reported.
Screen by liquid scintillation counting. An aliquot of the sample was spiked into a vial
containing a liquid scintillation cocktail and measured using a Quantulus ultra-low level liquid
scintillation counter.
Gross alpha/beta in aqueous samples. The groundwater sample and prepared rye digest
solution were further acidified with c.H2SO4 and the solutions evaporated to dryness. The
resulting residue was ignited at 350°C. A sub-sample of the ignited residue was ground and
mounted on a planchet and the source was counted by gas flow proportional counting. The
counter was calibrated against 241Am (alpha) & 137Cs (beta).
Total tritium and 14C. An aliquot of the sample was progressively combusted to 900°C in a
silica work tube using air/O2 combustion / carrier gas. The combustion products were passed
over a Pt-alumina catalyst and heated to 800°C to ensure the complete conversion of tritiated
species to tritiated water and 14C to 14CO2. The tritiated water was then trapped in HNO3
bubblers and the 14C in Carbontrap bubblers. The 3H/14C collected in the bubblers was
measured using a Quantulus ultra-low level liquid scintillation counter.
90Sr in aqueous samples. The strontium was pre-concentrated by precipitation as an oxalate
and purified using extraction chromatography. 90Sr activity was determined by measuring the
in-growth of the 90Y daughter using Cerenkov counting. Chemical recovery was determined
via measurement of the 85Sr yield monitor in the final purified strontium fraction.
U by alpha spectrometry. A combination of anion exchange and extraction chromatography
was used to isolate U from the prepared solution. The U was electrodeposited onto a stainless
steel disc and 234U, 235+236U and 238U activities determined by alpha spectrometry.
Pu by alpha spectrometry. The Pu was isolated from the prepared solution by anion exchange
chromatography. The Pu was electrodeposited onto a stainless steel disc and the 238Pu and
239, 240Pu activities determined by alpha spectrometry.
241Am by alpha spectrometry. The Am was isolated from the prepared solution by anion
exchange chromatography. The Am was electrodeposited onto a stainless steel disc and 241Am
activity determined by alpha spectrometry.
Limits of Detection. Limits of detection for radiochemical analyses are quoted as defined by
Currie, 1968. Limits of detection for gamma spectrometric analysis are quoted as defined by
Gilmore and Hemingway, 2000. Limits of detection for alpha spectrometric analysis are
quoted as defined by Hurtgen et al, 2000.
Table 1. Parameter values and distributions for Monte Carlo estimation of external and inhalation
effective dose rates. Ratios of Sr, Pu, Am to 137Cs are representative of the relatively less contaminated
parts of the CEZ and would be higher at higher contamination densities.
Parameter
Central estimate
Assumed variability
Notes
90Sr/137Cs ratio
0.32
Lognormal
ECOCENTER data
LOG10(90Sr:137Cs)
-0.56
Lognormal
(S.D. 0.25)
ECOCENTER data
238Pu/137Cs ratio
2.62 × 10-3
Uniform
(1.54×10-3-3.58×10-3)
ECOCENTER data
239,240Pu/137Cs ratio
6.7 × 10-3
Uniform
(3.85×10-3-9.17×10-3)
ECOCENTER data
241Am/137Cs ratio
1.45 × 10-2
Uniform
(1.15×10-2-15.8×10-2)
ECOCENTER data
Soil dry bulk density
1400
kg m-3
Normal
(S.D. 200)
Range from clay to
sandy soils
Plough mixed depth
0.25 m
Uniform
(0.2 0.3)
Typical range
Ploughed field dose
0.5 µSv h-1 per
MBq m-2
Uniform
(0.35-0.7)
Empirical data (UIAR)
Occupancy farm worker
4.6
h ha-1 year-1
Uniform
(3.1 6.9)
(Williams et al., 2006)
Adult breathing rate
(activity level “light”)
0.86
m3 h-1
Normal
(S.D. 0.15)
(Moya et al., 2011)
Inhalable dust soil tillage
2 ×10-5
kg m-3
Uniform
(5×10-6-4×10-5)
(Arslan and Aybek,
2012)
Radiological risk assessment
The radiological risk assessment for distillate ethanol production is based on estimation of
dose to a farmer/farm worker carrying out all soil preparation, crop spraying and harvesting
operations across a 100 ha farm, a reasonable estimate farm size for one farmer/farm worker.
A Monte Carlo approach (1000 model runs) was taken to evaluating variability in external
dose rate, using estimated parameter ranges and distributions. It was assumed that field
operations (soil preparation, seeding, spraying and harvesting) took 4.6 hours/ha, a
conservative estimate (based on data for the UK in (Williams et al., 2006)), reflecting potential
use of smaller farm machinery than is typical in the UK. Potential variation was assumed to
be a factor of 1.5 above or below this value, with a uniform distribution between upper and
lower limits. External exposure is estimated for a soil activity-depth profile corresponding to
a mixed (ploughed) depth of 0.25 m, a soil density of 1400 kg m-3 and 100 kBq m-2 surface
137Cs density. The assumed dose conversion coefficient for a ploughed field was 0.5 µSv h-1
per MBq m-2 based on empirical data (Ukrainan Inst. of Agricultural Radiology, unpubl. res.).
Inhalation dose coefficients were taken from (IAEA, 2004a). Parameters used and assumed
probability distributions are summarised in Table 1.
Results and Discussion
Radionuclide isotope ratios
The ratios of 90Sr, 241Am and isotopes of Pu in fallout are presented in Table 2. Measured ratios
in this part of the CEZ are 3.5-4.0 times higher than those in the Chernobyl release due to
preferential fallout of these less volatile radionuclides closer to the accident site (Mück et al.,
2002). These are representative of relatively less contaminated areas of the CEZ (the
majority), but would be higher for more contaminated areas (for example, the 90Sr:137Cs ratio
approaches 1 in the most contaminated “Red Forest” area). It can be seen that (even
accounting for further future ingrowth of 241Am from 241Pu), contamination densities of
transuranium elements are low compared to 137Cs and 90Sr.
Table 2. Radionuclide ratios to 137Cs in the study region of the CEZ.
Radionuclide ratio
Chernobyl release*
90Sr:137Cs
0.12
238Pu:137Cs
6.7 × 10-4
239+240Pu:137Cs
1.8 × 10-3
241Am:137Cs
3.9 × 10-3 **
* (UNSCEAR, 2000a); ratios are decay corrected to 2018. ** Including 32 years’ ingrowth from Pu-241.
Activity concentrations in grain
As shown in Table 3, the rye grain had elevated levels of 137Cs and 90Sr; the latter being slightly
above the Ukrainian limit of 20 Bq/kg. At this site within the CEZ, 90Sr fallout is relatively high
at 20 kBq m-2. Outside the CEZ in Zone 2 (“Zone of Obligatory Resettlement”) 90Sr fallout is
much lower so, for the same 137Cs contamination level, 90Sr activity concentrations in crops
are likely to be lower than the Ukrainian limit. 14C and 40K activity concentrations in the rye
were similar to those expected from levels of natural radioactivity in crops (IRSN, 2012), so
no evidence of 14C fallout from Chernobyl was seen. The 3H level of 100 Bq kg-1, though of no
radiological significance due to the low beta energy of this isotope, was unexpected as it is
significantly higher than expected natural 3H and requires further investigation to determine
whether it is due to 3H of Chernobyl origin. 241Am and isotopes of Pu were all below the limit
of detection.
Table 3. Radioactivity in ground rye grain (Bq/kg d.w.).
Analysis
Activity concentration
Notes
Gross alpha
< 20
Gross beta
250 +/- 30
Mainly natural 40K with some
90Sr. Does not include low
energy betas.
3H (Tritium)
100 +/- 50
Above expected natural
background, but of very minor
radiological significance. No
evidence of 3H in the ethanol
sample.
14C
60 +/- 30
Within the range of expected
natural background.
90Sr
26 +/- 8
Radioactivity from Chernobyl
and slightly above the
Ukrainian limit for grain (20
Bq/kg).
137Cs
2 +/- 1
Radioactivity from Chernobyl
and below the Ukrainian limit
for grain (50 Bq/kg).
60Co
< 3
241Am
< 0.2
234U; 235+236U; 238U
< 0.08; <0.06; < 0.06
238Pu; 239+240Pu
< 0.07; < 0.1
40K
140 +/- 30
Natural radioactivity.
228Ac; 212Pb; 212Bi; 208Tl; 235U;
234Th; 226Ra; 214Pb; 214Pb; 210Pb
All below limit of detection
Natural radioactivity.
Radioactivity concentrations in distillate ethanol
There were no artificial radionuclides observed in the distillate ethanol (diluted to 40% with
Chernobyl Town groundwater) sample (Table 4). The low energy beta analysis recorded an
estimated 58 Bq/L which we attribute to natural 14C consistent with the expected activity
concentration of natural 14C in ethanol at this dilution.
Table 4. Radioactivity in 40% distillate ethanol (Bq L-1).
Analysis
Activity concentration
Notes
Gross alpha
< 7
Gross beta
< 10
Alpha; liquid scintillation
< 4
Low energy beta
58 +/- 0.5
Detects 14C: this activity is
consistent with expected
natural 14C in ethanol
High energy beta
< 10
90Sr
< 0.6
137Cs
< 1
60Co
< 3
241Am
< 0.02
234U; 235+236U; 238U
< 0.006; <0.008; < 0.005
238Pu; 239+240Pu
< 0.009; < 0.007
40K
< 40
228Ac; 212Pb; 212Bi; 208Tl; 235U;
234Th; 226Ra; 214Pb; 214Pb; 210Pb
All below limit of detection
Natural radionuclides
Radioactivity concentrations in water
All radionuclides analysed in the groundwater sample were below limits of detection as
shown in Table 5.
Table 5. Radioactivity in deep groundwater - Chernobyl Town (Bq L-1).
Analysis
Activity concentration
Notes
Gross alpha
< 0.7
Gross beta
< 1
Alpha; liquid scintillation
< 5
Low energy beta
< 4
Detects 14C: this lower limit is
consistent with natural 14C in
very old groundwater.
High energy beta
< 3
90Sr
< 0.1
137Cs
< 1
60Co
< 2
241Am
< 0.0003
234U; 235+236U; 238U
< 0.001; <0.001; < 0.001
238Pu; 239+240Pu
< 0.001; < 0.001
228Ac; 212Pb; 212Bi; 208Tl; 235U;
234Th; 226Ra; 214Pb; 214Pb; 210Pb
All below limit of detection
Natural radionuclides
Dose assessment to agricultural and process-workers
The estimated range of external dose rates to an agricultural worker using generally
conservative assumptions (e.g. no shielding from tractor or combine harvester, relatively high
exposure time) is given in Figure 2. External dose rate is shown for 100 kBq m-2 of 137Cs
contamination density. Note that dose to the agricultural worker is only for time spent on a
ploughed field (and is additional to natural background) whereas natural external dose is for
full year exposure.
Figure 3 shows the range of effective dose rates from inhalation, primarily from alpha-
emitting isotopes of Pu and 241Am. Doses are estimated for an agricultural worker at two
different contamination densities of 137Cs. It is assumed that she or he is working without the
protection of a cab on a tractor or combine (which would, if present, significantly reduce
inhalation of fine particulates). Even at high inhalable dust levels, doses from Chernobyl-
derived radioactivity are small compared to the range of doses worldwide from natural alpha-
emitting 222Rn and its progeny.
Figure 2. Range in effective annual gamma dose rate to an agricultural worker at the field study site
compared to illustrative range in annual external dose rates worldwide from naturally occurring
terrestrial gamma emitters (UNSCEAR, 2000a) assuming a conversion from absorbed dose in air to
external effective dose of 0.7 Sv Gy-1 (UNSCEAR, 2000b) and cosmic radiation (Bouville and Lovett,
1988). Natural terrestrial external dose rates in Northern Ukraine are at the lower end of this range.
Figure 3. Range in total (137Cs, 90Sr and alpha-emitters) effective equivalent inhalation dose rates from
agricultural activity at the experimental site (100kBq m-2) 137Cs contamination density in the CEZ. The
illustrative range of effective equivalent dose rates worldwide from natural alpha-emitting
radionuclides is also shown (based on data in (Appleton, 2007; Dubois, 2005)).
Effective equivalent doses from external, inhalation and inadvertent ingestion of soil were
also calculated using the RESRAD (Yu et al. 2007) and NORMALYSA (Avila et al., 2018)
software. Mean external dose was 13.4 µSv y-1 in both models and inhalation dose was 3.4
and 11.8 µSv y-1 respectively. These are broadly consistent with doses estimated in the MC
model, though external dose and hence total dose is lower due to a lower ploughed field soil-
external dose rate coefficient assumed in the RESRAD and NORMALYSA models. Effective
equivalent dose rates from inadvertent soil ingestion were insignificant in comparison to
external dose. The doses to a farm worker are therefore well below the reference
occupational (non-classified worker) dose rates.
Dose assessment for consumers
There is no evidence of any significant dose to consumers above natural background.
Conclusion
Levels of radionuclides of Chernobyl origin are slightly elevated in rye grain grown at the field
study site. Cs-137 is significantly below the Ukrainian regulatory limit, but 90Sr, at 26 +/- 8 Bq
kg-1 is slightly above the 20 Bq kg-1 limit. As expected, distillation of the grain to produce
distillate alcohol reduced radioactivity (including natural 40K) very significantly such that no
radioactivity except for natural 14C was found in the distillate. Groundwater at Chernobyl
town, used to dilute the distillate, was, as expected, free from artificial radioactivity. The
doses to a farm worker are therefore well below the reference occupational (non-classified
worker) dose rates.
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