Averting cumulative lifetime attributable risk (LAR) of cancer by decontamination of residential areas affected by a large-scale nuclear power plant fallout: Time aspects of radiological benefits for newborns and adults

C. Rääf, R. Finck, J. Martinsson, Y. Hinrichsen, M. Isaksson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The averted cumulative lifetime attributable risk (LAR), the residual dose and highest ground deposition of 137Cs complying with a reference dose level of 20 mSv yr-1 to an individual returning after one year to an area contaminated by unfiltered releases of fission products from a nuclear power plant (NPP) were evaluated by applying an existing exposure model designed to compute age- and gender-dependent time-integrated LAR. The model was applied to four types of nuclear fallout scenarios, partly based on data from the Chernobyl and Fukushima releases and from theoretical source terms from Swedish NPPs. For rapid decontamination measures that achieve a 50% relative reduction in external dose rate within 1 year, compliance with the reference level 20 mSv yr-1 can be attained for an initial 137Cs ground deposition of up to 2 MBq m-2 with relaxed food restrictions. This compliance can be attained at even higher ground deposition (up to 4.5 MBq m-2) if using the strict food restrictions employed in Japan after 2011. Considering longer than 1 year return times it was also found that the benefit of implementing decontamination decreases rapidly with time (2-3 years half-time), especially if the fallout has a high initial 134Cs to 137Cs activity ratio and if the ecological half-time of the external dose rate is short (<5 years). Depending on fallout scenario the averted cumulative LAR for newborn girls by decontamination that is achieved after 5 years is only between 6% and 11% of that obtained by evacuation alone during the same time, indicating a rather limited radiological benefit of decontamination if delayed more than a few years. We conclude that decision makers and emergency response planners need to consider that protracted decontamination measures may have limited radiological benefit compared with evacuation in terms of averted future cancer cases, albeit it may have other societal benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)790-814
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Radiological Protection
Volume40
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Environmental Health and Occupational Health

Keywords

  • averted cumulative life-time attributable risk
  • decontamination
  • life-time attributable risk
  • nuclear power plant release
  • residual dose
  • restoration

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Averting cumulative lifetime attributable risk (LAR) of cancer by decontamination of residential areas affected by a large-scale nuclear power plant fallout: Time aspects of radiological benefits for newborns and adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this