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A model for estimating the total absorbed dose to the thyroid in Swedish inhabitants following the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident: Implications for existing international estimates and future model applications.

Journal article
Authors Christopher Rääf
Martin Tondel
Mats Isaksson
Published in Journal of Radiological Protection
Volume 39
ISSN 0952-4746
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Radiation Physics
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6498/a...
Subject categories Radiological physics

Abstract

The time-integrated absorbed dose to the thyroid gland in the years after a fallout event can indicate the potential excess number of thyroid cancers among young individuals after a radionuclide release. Typical mean values of the absorbed dose to the thyroid have been calculated previously using reported data on radioiodine obtained from air sampling and dairy milk surveys in Sweden after the Chernobyl fallout, not including the contribution from Cs-134 and Cs-137. We have developed a model for Swedish conditions taking these additional dose contributions into account. Our estimate of the average time-integrated absorbed dose to the thyroid during the first 5 years after fallout ranged from 0.5 to 4.1 mGy for infants and from 0.3 to 3.3 mGy for adults. The contribution to Dth,tot from 131I through inhalation and milk consumption varied considerably between different regions of Sweden, ranging from 9 to 79% in infants, and from 4 to 58% in adults. The external irradiation and exposure from the ingestion of Cs-134 & Cs-137 in foodstuffs accounted for the remaining contributions to the total thyroid absorbed dose (i.e., up to 96% for adults). These large variations can be explained by the highly diverse conditions in the regions studied, such as different degrees of fractionation between wet and dry deposition, different grazing restrictions on dairy cattle, and differences in Cs-134 & Cs-137 transfers through food resulting from differences in the local fallout. It is our conclusion that the main contribution to the total thyroid absorbed dose from nuclear power plant fallout in areas subjected to predominantly wet deposition will be from external exposure from ground deposition, followed by internal exposure from contaminated food containing the long-lived fission product Cs-137 and the neutron-activated fission product Cs-134. The contribution from Cs-134 & Cs-137 to the thyroid absorbed dose should thus be taken into account in future epidemiological studies.

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