Abstract

The radiological consequences of a nuclear power plant (NPP) accident, resulting in the release of radionuclides to the environment, will depend largely on the mitigating actions instigated shortly after the accident. It is therefore important to make predictions of the radiation dose to the affected population, from external as well as internal exposure, soon after an accident, despite the fact that data are scarce. The aim of this study was to develop a model for the prediction of the cumulative effective dose up to 84 years of age based on the ground deposition of 137Cs that is determined soon after fallout. The model accounts for different assumptions regarding external and internal dose contributions, and the model parameters in this study were chosen to reflect various mitigating actions. Furthermore, the relative importance of these parameters was determined by sensitivity analysis. To the best of our knowledge, this model is unique as it allows quantification of both the external and the internal effective dose using only a fallout map of 137Cs after a nuclear power plant accident. The cumulative effective dose over a period of 50 years following the accident per unit 137Cs deposited was found to range from 0.14 mSv/kBq m-2 to 1.5 mSv/kBq m-2, depending on the mitigating actions undertaken. According to the sensitivity analysis, the most important parameters governing the cumulative effective dose to various adult populations during 50 years after the fallout appear to be: the correlation factor between the local areal deposition of 137Cs and the maximum initial ambient dose rate; the maximum transfer from regional average fallout on the ground to body burden; the local areal deposition of 137Cs; and the regional average 137Cs deposition. Therefore, it is important that mapping of local 137Cs deposition is carried out immediately after fallout from a nuclear power plant accident, followed by calculations of radiation doses for different scenarios using well-known parameters, in order to identify the most efficient mitigation strategies. Given this 137Cs mapping, we believe our model is a valuable tool for long-term radiological assessment in the early phase after NPP accidents.

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