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Modelling the effective dose to a population from fallout after a nuclear power plant accident—A scenario-based study with mitigating actions

Journal article
Authors Mats Isaksson
Martin Tondel
Robert Wålinder
Christopher Rääf
Published in PLoS ONE
Volume 14
Issue 4
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Radiation Physics
Language en
Subject categories Radiological physics


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 Cs-137 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 Cs-137 after a nuclear power plant accident. The cumulative effective dose over a period of 50 years following the accident per unit Cs-137 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 Cs-137 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 Cs-137; and the regional average Cs-137 deposition. Therefore, it is important that mapping of local Cs-137 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 Cs-137 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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