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Radiation Exposure of Workers and Volunteers in Shelters and Community Reception Centers in the Aftermath of a Nuclear Detonation

Anderson, Jeri L.1; Failla, Gregory2; Finklea, Lauren R.3; Charp, Paul4; Ansari, Armin J.3

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000987

After a nuclear detonation, workers and volunteers providing first aid, decontamination, and population monitoring in public shelters and community reception centers will potentially be exposed to radiation from people they are assisting who may be contaminated with radioactive fallout. A state-of-the-art computer-aided design program and radiation transport modeling software were used to estimate external radiation dose to workers in three different exposure scenarios: performing radiation surveys/decontamination, first aid, and triage duties. Calculated dose rates were highest for workers performing radiation surveys due to the relative proximity to the contaminated individual. Estimated cumulative doses were nontrivial but below the occupational dose limit established for normal operations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

1Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies (DSHEFS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH);

2Varex Imaging, Inc.;

3Emergency Management, Radiation and Chemical Branch, Division of Environmental Health Science and Practice, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;

4Division of Community Health Investigations, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

For correspondence contact Jeri L. Anderson, NIOSH/DSHEFS, 1090 Tusculum Avenue, MS R-14, Cincinnati, OH 45226, or email at

(Manuscript accepted 29 August 2018)

© 2019 by the Health Physics Society