Category Archives: Radiation

Assessment of Water Treatment for Radium Removal and NORM Formation, Estonia

Hill L, Suursoo S, Kiisk M, Jantsikene A, Nilb N, Munter R, Realo E, Koch R, Putk K, Leier M, Vaasma T, Isakar K. Long-term monitoring of water treatment technology designed for radium removal-removal efficiencies and NORM formation. J Radiol Prot. 2017 Dec 6;38(1):1-24. doi: 10.1088/1361-6498/aa97f2.

A drinking water treatment plant in Viimsi, Estonia, was monitored over three years for iron, manganese, radium-226, radium-228, as well as their daughter nuclides, in order to determine the efficiency of the treatment process, gain an insight into the removal mechanisms and interactions between radium, iron, and manganese, and assess the overall longevity and performance of the technology along with the possible build-up of NORM in the treatment process. During the study, samples were collected from raw water, first and second stage filtrate, consumer water, backwash water and filter materials. The results show consistent removal efficiency for iron and manganese, as well as an average of over 85% removal for radium with a slight decline over time. The backwash process has been optimised for maximum radium removal from the filters, while keeping concentrations in the backwash water below exemption levels. However, the accumulation of radium and thorium occurs in the filter material, exceeding exemption levels in the top layer of the filter columns in less than a year. By the end of the observation period, activity concentrations in the top layer of the columns were above 30 000 Bq kg-1 for Ra-226 and Ra-228, and around 15 000 Bq kg-1 for Th-228. Radionuclides are not homogenously distributed in the filter columns. In order to estimate the average activity concentrations in the filter media, the height distribution of radionuclides has to be accounted for. Two years and two months after commissioning the treatment plant, the average activity concentrations of Ra isotopes in the filter columns were in the range 10 000 Bq kg-1, while Th-228 activity concentration was roughly 3500 Bq kg-1.

Radon in Groundwater, 12 Cities, China

Wu Y, Cui H, Liu J, Shang B, Su X. Radon Concentrations in Underground Drinking Water in Parts of Cities, China. Radiation protection dosimetry. 2017 Aug 31:1-5. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncx121.

222Rn concentrations in underground drinking water samples in 12 cities from seven provinces (municipalities), China were determined by using a continuous radon monitor with air-water exchanger. A total of 73 underground water samples were collected. The observed radon levels were in a range of 1.0-63.8 Bq l-1, with a mean of 11.8 Bq l-1. The annual effective dose from inhalation of water-borne radon for average radon content in underground water was 72.6 μSv and for maximal observed radon concentration in underground water the corresponding dose was 393.8 μSv. The dose contribution of inhalation dose from water-borne radon should be paid attention in some granitic area.

Radon in Water Samples Within Health Guidelines, Jammu District, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Kumar A, Kaur M, Mehra R, Sharma DK, Mishra R. Comparative Study of Radon Concentration With Two Techniques and Elemental Analysis in Drinking Water Samples of the Jammu District, Jammu and Kashmir, India. Health physics. 2017 Aug 7. doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000644.

The level of radon concentration has been assessed using the Advanced SMART RnDuo technique in 30 drinking water samples from Jammu district, Jammu and Kashmir, India. The water samples were collected from wells, hand pumps, submersible pumps, and stored waters. The randomly obtained 14 values of radon concentration in water sources using the SMART RnDuo technique have been compared and cross checked by a RAD7 device. A good positive correlation (R = 0.88) has been observed between the two techniques. The overall value of radon concentration in various water sources has ranged from 2.45 to 18.43 Bq L, with a mean value of 8.24 ± 4.04 Bq L, and it agreed well with the recommended limit suggested by the European Commission and UNSCEAR. However, the higher activity of mean radon concentration was found in groundwater drawn from well, hand and submersible pumps as compared to stored water. The total annual effective dose due to radon inhalation and ingestion ranged from 6.69 to 50.31 μSv y with a mean value of 22.48 ± 11.03 μSv y. The total annual effective dose was found to lie within the safe limit (100 μSv y) suggested by WHO. Heavy metal analysis was also carried out in various water sources by using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AAS), and the highest value of heavy metals was found mostly in groundwater samples. The obtained results were compared with Indian and International organizations like WHO and the EU Council. Among all the samples, the elemental analysis is not on the exceeding side of the permissible limit.

Protective Action and Planning Guidance for Radiological Incidents

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Linear No-Threshold Extrapolation for Ionizing Radiation: Let the Sacred Cow Die

Two very important papers detailing the history behind the default assumption of linear no-threshold for extrapolation of ionizing radiation cancer risk assessment were published in 2013 by Ed Calabrese. His work on hormesis is well-established.

Edward J. Calabrese. How the US National Academy of Sciences misled the world community on cancer risk assessment: new findings challenge historical foundations of the linear dose response. Archives of Toxicology, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s00204-013-1105-6

This paper extends several recent publications indicating that Hermann J. Muller: (1) Made deceptive statements during his Noble Prize Lecture on December 12, 1946, that were intended to promote the acceptance of the linear dose-response model for risk assessment for ionizing radiation and (2) that such actions of Muller were masked by a series of decisions by Muller’s long-time colleague and esteemed radiation geneticist Curt Stern, affecting key publications in the mutation literature. Such actions further enhanced acceptance of the linearity dose-response model while preventing Muller’s deceptions from being discovered. This paper provides documentation that Muller reinforced such practices within the scientific literature in the early 1950s, by supporting scientifically questionable actions of Stern. Detailed documentation is provided that demonstrates how these actions affected national and international risk assessment policy for ionizing radiation and chemical carcinogens via the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences Biological Effects of Atomic Radiation committee in 1956, to adopt the linear dose-response model.

Edward J. Calabrese. Origin of the linearity no threshold (LNT) dose–response concept. Archives of Toxicology, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s00204-013-1104-7

This paper identifies the origin of the linearity at low-dose concept [i.e., linear no threshold (LNT)] for ionizing radiation-induced mutation. After the discovery of X-ray-induced mutations, Olson and Lewis (Nature 121(3052):673–674, 1928) proposed that cosmic/terrestrial radiation-induced mutations provide the principal mechanism for the induction of heritable traits, providing the driving force for evolution. For this concept to be general, a LNT dose relationship was assumed, with genetic damage proportional to the energy absorbed. Subsequent studies suggested a linear dose response for ionizing radiation-induced mutations (Hanson and Heys in Am Nat 63(686):201–213, 1929; Oliver in Science 71:44–46, 1930), supporting the evolutionary hypothesis. Based on an evaluation of spontaneous and ionizing radiation-induced mutation with Drosophila, Muller argued that background radiation had a negligible impact on spontaneous mutation, discrediting the ionizing radiation-based evolutionary hypothesis. Nonetheless, an expanded set of mutation dose–response observations provided a basis for collaboration between theoretical physicists (Max Delbruck and Gunter Zimmer) and the radiation geneticist Nicolai Timoféeff-Ressovsky. They developed interrelated physical science-based genetics perspectives including a biophysical model of the gene, a radiation-induced gene mutation target theory and the single-hit hypothesis of radiation-induced mutation, which, when integrated, provided the theoretical mechanism and mathematical basis for the LNT model. The LNT concept became accepted by radiation geneticists and recommended by national/international advisory committees for risk assessment of ionizing radiation-induced mutational damage/cancer from the mid-1950s to the present. The LNT concept was later generalized to chemical carcinogen risk assessment and used by public health and regulatory agencies worldwide.

 

Lessons from Fukushima; Nuclear Power Safer than Thought

A different point of view than that of the popular press. But a point of view well justified indeed.

“So what were the lessons learned from Fukushima? Quite simply they are that nuclear power has been proven to be much safer than anyone previously imagined.

The nuclear fraternity worldwide should have celebrated after the Fukushima drama. The world watched the entire saga, second by second…and what was the outcome?

Answer: total people killed by radiation, zero. Total injured, zero. Total private property damaged by radiation, zero. Expected long term effects on people; zero.” – Dr. Kelvin Kemm (click here)

Fukushima Radiation Levels do not Represent a Threat to Human Health or the Environment

John N. Smitha, Robin M. Brown, William J. Williams, Marie Robert, Richard Nelson, and S. Bradley Moran. Arrival of the Fukushima radioactivity plume in North American continental waters PNAS Dec 29 2014 Early Edition

The large discharge of radioactivity into the northwest Pacific Ocean from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor accident has generated considerable concern about the spread of this material across the ocean to North America. We report here the first systematic study to our knowledge of the transport of the Fukushima marine radioactivity signal to the eastern North Pacific. Time series measurements of 134Cs and 137Cs in seawater revealed the initial arrival of the Fukushima signal by ocean current transport at a location 1,500 km west of British Columbia, Canada, in June 2012, about 1.3 y after the accident. By June 2013, the Fukushima signal had spread onto the Canadian continental shelf, and by February 2014, it had increased to a value of 2 Bq/m3 throughout the upper 150 m of the water column, resulting in an overall doubling of the fallout background from atmospheric nuclear weapons tests. Ocean circulation model estimates that are in reasonable agreement with our measured values indicate that future total levels of 137Cs (Fukushima-derived plus fallout 137Cs) off the North American coast will likely attain maximum values in the 3–5 Bq/m3 range by 2015–2016 before declining to levels closer to the fallout background of about 1 Bq/m3 by 2021. The increase in 137Cs levels in the eastern North Pacific from Fukushima inputs will probably return eastern North Pacific concentrations to the fallout levels that prevailed during the 1980s but does not represent a threat to human health or the environment.

Click here for full paper (Open Access).