Methodology for Estimating Radiation Dose Rates to Freshwater Biota Exposed to Radionuclides in the Environment

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The purpose of this report is to present a methodology for evaluating the potential for aquatic biota to incur effects from exposure to chronic low-level radiation in the environment. Aquatic organisms inhabiting an environment contaminated with radioactivity receive external radiation from radionuclides in water, sediment, and from other biota such as vegetation. Aquatic organisms receive internal radiation from radionuclides ingested via food and water and, in some cases, from radionuclides absorbed through the skin and respiratory organs. Dose rate equations, which have been developed previously, are presented for estimating the radiation dose rate to representative aquatic organisms from alpha, beta, ... continued below

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40 pages

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Blaylock, B.G. January 1, 1993.

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Description

The purpose of this report is to present a methodology for evaluating the potential for aquatic biota to incur effects from exposure to chronic low-level radiation in the environment. Aquatic organisms inhabiting an environment contaminated with radioactivity receive external radiation from radionuclides in water, sediment, and from other biota such as vegetation. Aquatic organisms receive internal radiation from radionuclides ingested via food and water and, in some cases, from radionuclides absorbed through the skin and respiratory organs. Dose rate equations, which have been developed previously, are presented for estimating the radiation dose rate to representative aquatic organisms from alpha, beta, and gamma irradiation from external and internal sources. Tables containing parameter values for calculating radiation doses from selected alpha, beta, and gamma emitters are presented in the appendix to facilitate dose rate calculations. The risk of detrimental effects to aquatic biota from radiation exposure is evaluated by comparing the calculated radiation dose rate to biota to the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) recommended dose rate limit of 0.4 mGy h{sup -1} (1 rad d{sup -1}). A dose rate no greater than 0.4 mGy h{sup -1} to the most sensitive organisms should ensure the protection of populations of aquatic organisms. DOE's recommended dose rate is based on a number of published reviews on the effects of radiation on aquatic organisms that are summarized in the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements Report No. 109 (NCRP 1991). The literature identifies the developing eggs and young of some species of teleost fish as the most radiosensitive organisms. DOE recommends that if the results of radiological models or dosimetric measurements indicate that a radiation dose rate of 0.1 mGy h{sup -1} will be exceeded, then a more detailed evaluation of the potential ecological consequences of radiation exposure to endemic populations should be conducted. Dose rates have been calculated for biota in aquatic ecosystems associated with three national laboratories and one uranium mining and milling facility (NCRP 1991). At all sites, the dose rates were two orders of magnitude less than the value recommended by DOE for the protection of populations of aquatic biota. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that aquatic organisms will encounter dose rates in aquatic ecosystems that will be detrimental at the population level other than in man-made bodies of water associated with waste management activities or from accidental releases of radionuclides.

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40 pages

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  • Other Information: PBD: 1 Jan 1993

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  • Report No.: ES/ER/TM-78
  • Grant Number: AC05-00OR22725
  • DOI: 10.2172/814035 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 814035
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc736918

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  • January 1, 1993

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • March 31, 2016, 1:09 p.m.

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Blaylock, B.G. Methodology for Estimating Radiation Dose Rates to Freshwater Biota Exposed to Radionuclides in the Environment, report, January 1, 1993; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc736918/: accessed September 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.