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Preliminary Dose Assessment for Emergency Response Exercise Using Unsealed Radioactive Contamination

Cochran, Lainy D.; Marianno, Craig M.1

doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000001083

A preliminary dose assessment for an emergency response exercise using unsealed radioactive sources was performed based on conservative calculation methods. The assessment was broken into four parts: activation, distribution, exercise participation, and post-exercise monitoring. The computer code MicroShield was used to determine external exposure from the source during and after distribution. Internal exposure via inhalation and ingestion was estimated by assuming fractional intakes of activity and converting to dose using annual limits on intake and dose coefficients. It was determined from the dose assessment that a radionuclide-dependent range of 37 MBq to 1.5 GBq can be used to achieve detectable dose rates during the exercise without exceeding assumed administrative dose limits. Of the identified radionuclides, 99mTc results in the lowest dose and is recommended from a radiological safety standpoint. However, the choice of which radionuclide and what activity to use for an exercise should be made based on budget and the logistics of the actual exercise.

1Department of Nuclear Engineering, Texas A&M University, 3133 TAMU, College Station, TX.

Lainy Cochran graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.S. in Radiological Health Engineering (2013) and M.S. in Nuclear Engineering (2016). The work described in this article was part of her M.S. thesis while at Texas A&M. Lainy currently works at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as a health physicist and responder for the DOE NNSA Consequence Management program. Her email address is

Online date: May 4, 2019

© 2019 by the Health Physics Society