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On the Use of Location and Occupancy Factors for Estimating External Exposure From Deposited Radionuclides

Tzivaki, Margarita1; Waller, Edward1

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000875

Providing a dose estimate for the exposed population is crucial in the case of deposition of a known radioactive material, either through an accident or during routine operations. In the absence of detailed information on each individual, knowing the demographics of the affected population concerning occupational habits and housing allows the determination and use of appropriate location and occupancy factors required for exposure and dose calculations. The previous approach in the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation 2013 report, published in 2014, used time-dependent location factors and occupancy factors based on age and occupation. The newly published methodology in the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation 2016 report (2017) is simplified, using a single time-independent location factor for indoor occupancy, as well as a single occupancy factor that is independent of the age and occupation of the population considered. In this work the two approaches are compared for different population groups and housing types in the case of both a short-lived and a long-lived radionuclide. It was found that the new simplified methodology, while overestimating the integrated effective dose over 100 y for 137Cs and 134Cs, also underestimates the dose on short timescales, especially for the shorter-lived 134Cs. Additionally, the dose rate is significantly underestimated for certain types of buildings with higher location factors. This was found for both radionuclides in the first year of exposure. In the case of short-lived 134Cs, the integrated effective dose after 100 y is also underestimated in certain cases. It can be concluded that, while the simplified methodology can reasonably and successfully be applied in cases where dose due to deposition (1) is not the dominant pathway and (2) is part of multistep calculations, caution must be exercised in more complex exposure situations, especially when performing dose assessment in response to an accident.

1University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Faculty of Energy Systems and Nuclear Science, 2000 Simcoe Street N, Oshawa, ON, Canada, or email at

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

(Manuscript accepted 23 February 2018)

© 2018 by the Health Physics Society