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Estimating the exposure of small mammals at three sites within the Chernobyl exclusion zone – a test application of the ERICA Tool

Beresford, N.A.; Gaschak, S.; Barnett, C.L.; Howard, B.J.; Chizhevsky, I.; Stromman, G.; Oughton, D.H.; Wright, S.M.; Maksimenko, A.; Copplestone, D.. 2008 Estimating the exposure of small mammals at three sites within the Chernobyl exclusion zone – a test application of the ERICA Tool. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 99. 1496-1502. 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2008.03.002

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Abstract/Summary

An essential step in the development of any modelling tool is the validation of its predictions. This paper describes a study conducted within the Chernobyl exclusion zone to acquire data to conduct an independent test of the predictions of the ERICA Tool which is designed for use in assessments of radiological risk to the environment. Small mammals were repeatedly trapped at three woodland sites between early July and mid-August 2005. Thermoluminescent dosimeters mounted on collars were fitted to Apodemus flavicollis, Clethrionomys glareolus and Microtus spp. to provide measurements of external dose rate. A total of 85 TLDs were recovered. All animals from which TLDs were recovered were live-monitored to determine 90Sr and 137Cs whole-body activity concentrations. A limited number of animals were also analysed to determine 239,240Pu activity concentrations. Measurements of whole-body activity concentrations and dose rates recorded by the TLDs were compared to predictions of the ERICA-Tool. The predicted 90Sr and 137Cs mean activity concentrations were within an order of magnitude of the observed data means. Whilst there was some variation between sites in the agreement between measurements and predictions this was consistent with what would be expected from the differences in soil types at the sites. Given the uncertainties of conducting a study such as this, the agreement observed between the TLD results and the predicted external dose rates gives confidence to the predictions of the ERICA Tool.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2008.03.002
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry > SE01B Sustainable Monitoring, Risk Assessment and Management of Chemicals > SE01.4 Monitoring and predicting the distribution of chemicals in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems
CEH Sections: Shore
Watkins (to March 2011)
ISSN: 0265-931X
Additional Keywords: thermoluminescent dosimeter, external dose rate, ERICA, plutonium, caesium, strontium, small mammals, Chernobyl, radioecology
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Data and Information
Date made live: 11 Dec 2008 14:08
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/5136

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