Individual Radiological Protection Monitoring of Utrok Atoll Residents Based on Whole Body Counting of Cesium-137 (137Cs) and Plutonium Bioassay

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This report contains individual radiological protection surveillance data developed during 2006 for adult members of a select group of families living on Utrok Atoll. These Group I volunteers all underwent a whole-body count to determine levels of internally deposited cesium-137 ({sup 137}Cs) and supplied a bioassay sample for analysis of plutonium isotopes. Measurement data were obtained and the results compared with an equivalent set of measurement data for {sup 137}Cs and plutonium isotopes from a second group of adult volunteers (Group II) who were long-term residents of Utrok Atoll. For the purposes of this comparison, Group II volunteers were considered ... continued below

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Hamilton, T; Kehl, S; Brown, T; Martinelli, R; Hickman, D; Jue, T et al. June 8, 2007.

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This report contains individual radiological protection surveillance data developed during 2006 for adult members of a select group of families living on Utrok Atoll. These Group I volunteers all underwent a whole-body count to determine levels of internally deposited cesium-137 ({sup 137}Cs) and supplied a bioassay sample for analysis of plutonium isotopes. Measurement data were obtained and the results compared with an equivalent set of measurement data for {sup 137}Cs and plutonium isotopes from a second group of adult volunteers (Group II) who were long-term residents of Utrok Atoll. For the purposes of this comparison, Group II volunteers were considered representative of the general population on Utrok Atoll. The general aim of the study was to determine residual systemic burdens of fallout radionuclides in each volunteer group, develop data in response to addressing some specific concerns about the preferential uptake and potential health consequences of residual fallout radionuclides in Group I volunteers, and generally provide some perspective on the significance of radiation doses delivered to volunteers (and the general Utrok Atoll resident population) in terms of radiological protection standards and health risks. Based on dose estimates from measurements of internally deposited {sup 137}Cs and plutonium isotopes, the data and information developed in this report clearly show that neither volunteer group has acquired levels of internally deposited fallout radionuclides specific to nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands that are likely to have any consequence on human health. Moreover, the dose estimates are well below radiological protection standards as prescribed by U.S. regulators and international agencies, and are very small when compared to doses from natural sources of radiation in the Marshall Islands and the threshold where radiation health effects could be either medically diagnosed in an individual or epidemiologically discerned in a group of people. In general, the results from the whole-body counting measurements of 137Cs are consistent with our knowledge that a key pathway for exposure to residual fallout contamination on Utrok Atoll is low-level chronic uptake of {sup 137}Cs from the consumption of locally grown produce (Robison et al., 1999). The error-weighted, average body burden of {sup 137}Cs measured in Group I and Group II volunteers was 0.31 kBq and 0.62 kBq, respectively. The associated average, annual committed effective dose equivalent (CEDE) delivered to Group I and Group II volunteers from {sup 137}Cs during the year of measurement was 2.1 and 4.0 mrem. For comparative purposes, the annual dose limit for members of the public as recommended by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) and the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) is 100 mrem. Consequently, specific concerns about elevated levels of {sup 137}Cs uptake and higher risks from radiation exposure to Group I volunteers would be considered unfounded. Moreover, the urinary excretion of plutonium-239 ({sup 239}Pu) from Group I and Group II volunteers is statistically indistinguishable. In this case, the error-weighted, average urinary excretion of {sup 239}Pu from Group I volunteers of 0.10 {mu}Bq per 24-h void with a range between -0.01 and 0.23 {mu}Bq per 24-h void compares with an error-weighted average from Group II volunteers of 0.11 {mu}Bq per 24-h void with a range between -0.20 and 0.47 {mu}Bq per 24-h void. The range in urinary excretion of {sup 239}Pu from Utrok Atoll residents is very similar to that observed for other population groups in the Marshall Islands (Bogen et al., 2006; Hamilton et al., 2006a; 2006b; 2006c, 2007a; 2007b; 2007c) and is generally considered representative of worldwide background.

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PDF-file: 20 pages; size: 0.2 Mbytes

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  • Report No.: UCRL-TR-231678
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • DOI: 10.2172/912681 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 912681
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc885188

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  • June 8, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 29, 2016, 2:54 p.m.

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Hamilton, T; Kehl, S; Brown, T; Martinelli, R; Hickman, D; Jue, T et al. Individual Radiological Protection Monitoring of Utrok Atoll Residents Based on Whole Body Counting of Cesium-137 (137Cs) and Plutonium Bioassay, report, June 8, 2007; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc885188/: accessed September 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.