The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) initiated a contract with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to calculate radiation dose rates to members of the public that may result from exposure to patients recently administered iodine-131 (131I) as part of medical therapy. The main purpose was to compare dose rate estimates based on a point source and target with values derived from more realistic simulations of a human source and target. The latter simulations considered the time-dependent distribution of 131I in the patient and attenuation of emitted photons by the patient’s tissues. The external dose rate estimates were derived using Monte Carlo methods and two representations of the Phantom with Movable Arms and Legs (PIMAL), previously developed by ORNL and the USNRC, to model the patient and a nearby member of the public. Dose rates to tissues and effective dose rates were calculated for distances ranging from 10 cm to 300 cm between the phantoms. Dose rates estimated from these simulations are compared to estimates based on the point-source method, as well as to results of previous studies that estimated exposure from 131I patients. The point-source method overestimates dose rates to members of the public in very close proximity to an 131I patient but is a broadly accurate method of dose rate estimation at separation distances of 300 cm or more at times closer to administration.
*Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 1 Bethel Valley Road, MS-6335, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA; †Georgia Institute of Technology, 770 State Street, Atlanta, GA 30332–0745, USA; ‡United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001.
Corresponding Author: S. Dewji, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 1 Bethel Valley Road, MS-6335, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA; Tel: (865) 576–9348; Fax: (865) 574–8912; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
This work was funded by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission under contract number NRC-HQ-60-11-D-0024 with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
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(Manuscript accepted 1 May 2015)