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  • Author: Zelmo R. Lima x
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Abstract

A release of radioactive material into the environment can lead to hazardous exposure of the population and serious future concerns about health issues such as an increased incidence of cancer. In this context, a practical methodology capable of providing useful basic information from the scenario can be valuable for immediate decisions and future risk assessment. For this work, the simulation of a radiological dispersal device (RDD) filled with americium-241 was considered. The radiation dose simulated by the HotSpot code was used as an input to the epidemiological equations from BEIR V producing the data used to assess the risk of lung cancer development. The methodology could be useful in providing training for responders aimed to the initial support addressed to decision-making for emergency response at the early phase of an RDD scenario. The results from the simulation allow estimating (a) the size of the potentially affected population, (b) the type of protection action considering gender and location of the individuals, (c) the absorbed doses, (d) the matrix of lung cancer incidence predictions over a period of 5 years, and (e) the cost-effectiveness in the initial decision environment.

Abstract

The detonation of an (hypothetical) improvised nuclear device (IND) can generate atmospheric release of radioactive material in the form of particles and dust that ultimately contaminate the soil. In this study, the detonation of an IND in an urban area was simulated, and its effects on humans were determined. The risk of solid cancer development due to radiation was calculated by taking into account prompt radiation and whole-body exposure of individuals near the detonation site up to 10 km. The excess relative risk (ERR) of developing solid cancer was evaluated by using the mathematical relationships from the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) studies and those from the HotSpot code. The methodology consists of using output data obtained from simulations performed with the HotSpot health physics code plugging in such numbers into a specific given equation used by RERF to evaluate the resulting impact. Such a preliminary procedure is expected to facilitate the decision-making process significantly.