Estimating radiological exposure of wildlife in the field

Beaugelin-Seiller, Karine; Garnier-Laplace, Jacqueline; Beresford, Nicholas A.. 2020 Estimating radiological exposure of wildlife in the field. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 211, 105830. 10, pp.

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The assessment of the ecological impact due to radionuclides at contaminated sites requires estimation of the exposure of wildlife, in order to correlate radiation dose with known radiological effects. The robust interpretation of field data requires consideration of possible confounding effects (e.g., from the tsunami at Fukushima) and an accurate and relevant quantification of radiation doses to biota. Generally, in field studies the exposure of fauna and flora has often been characterised as measurements of the ambient dose rate or activity concentrations in some components of the environment. The use of such data does not allow the establishment of a robust dose-effect relationship for wildlife exposed to ionising radiation in the field. Effects of exposure to radioactivity depend on the total amount of energy deposited into exposed organisms, which is estimated by adding doses (or dose rates) for all radionuclides and exposure pathways. Realistic dose estimation needs to reflect the entire story of the organisms of interest during their whole exposure period. The process of identifying and collecting all the related information should allow the “W” questions (Which organisms are exposed, Where, When and hoW) to be answered. Some parameters are well known to influence dose (rate): the organism life stage, its ecological characteristics (e.g. habitat, behaviour), the source term properties (e.g. discharging facility, nature of radiation), etc. The closer the collated data are to the ideal data set, the more accurate and realistic the dose (rate) assessment will be. This means characterising each exposure pathway (internal and external), the activity concentration in each exposure source, the time each organism spends in a given place, as well as the associated dose. In this paper the process of data collation in view of dose reconstruction is illustrated for Japanese birds exposed to radioactive deposition following the Fukushima accident. With respect to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone we will also consider variability under field conditions, availability of relevant datasets and options for better estimating internal and external doses received by wildlife.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0265-931X
Additional Keywords: radioecology
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 30 Oct 2018 10:50 +0 (UTC)

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