The authors provide the results of long-term investigations of the consequences of environmental pollution from the military nuclear plant in the Southern Urals. Altogether 28,100 individuals who received substantial doses of external and internal radiation in the Techa riverside in the early fifties were entered into the study. The increase in the leukemia incidence as compared with unexposed controls has been confirmed on a statistical basis. The majority of excess cases of leukemia were recorded within the 5th to the 20th year after irradiation and may be attributed to the acute and chronic granulocytic types. The level of leukemia risk on the basis of the Techa river data is evaluated as 0.48-1.10 per 10(4) persons/years/Gy.
The rate of cortical bone resorption was assessed from long-term in vivo measurements of (90)Sr content in the skeleton for men aged 50-80 years and for women 0-30 years after menopause. Measurements of (90)Sr were conducted with a whole body counter (WBC) for residents of the Techa Riverside communities (Southern Urals, Russia), who ingested large amounts of (90)Sr as a result of releases of liquid radioactive wastes into the river from the Mayak plutonium facility in early 1950s. The results of this study showed an increase in the rate of cortical bone resorption in both men and women, as based on the use of accidentally ingested (90)Sr as a tracer for bone metabolism. In men there was a continuous gradual increase in the rate of cortical bone resorption after 55 years from 2.8 to 4.5%/year by the age of 75 years. In women, there was a doubled increase in the rate of cortical bone resorption after menopause of up to 6%/year; then the rate remained unchanged for 10-12 years with a subsequent gradual decline down to 5-5.5%/year. Comparison of the rate of cortical bone resorption in men and women older than 55 years showed that women expressed significantly higher levels of cortical bone resorption.
The Techa River Dosimetry System (TRDS) has been developed to provide estimates of dose received by approximately 30,000 members of the Extended Techa River Cohort (ETRC). Members of the ETRC were exposed beginning in 1949 to significant levels of external and internal (mainly from (90)Sr) dose but at low to moderate dose rates. Members of this cohort are being studied in an effort to test the hypothesis that exposure at low to moderate dose rates has the same ability to produce stochastic health effects as exposure at high dose rates. The current version of the TRDS is known as TRDS-2000 and is the subject of this paper. The estimated doses from (90)Sr are supported strongly by approximately 30,000 measurements made with a tooth beta-particle counter, measurements of bones collected at autopsy, and approximately 38,000 measurements made with a special whole-body counter that detects the bremsstrahlung from (90)Y. The median doses to the red bone marrow and the bone surface are 0.21 and 0.37 Gy, respectively. The maximum doses to the red bone marrow and bone surface are 2.0 and 5.2 Gy, respectively. Distributions of dose to other organs are provided and are lower than the values given above. Directions for future work are discussed.
The Mayak Production Association, which began operation in 1948, was the first facility in the former Soviet Union for the production of plutonium. Significant worker and population exposure occurred as a result of failures in the technological processes in the late 1940's and early 1950's. Members of the public were exposed via discharge of about 1017 Bq of liquid wastes into the Techa River during 1949-1956, an explosion in the radioactive waste-storage facility in 1957, and gaseous aerosol releases within the first decades of the facility's operation. Residents of many villages downstream on the Techa River were exposed via a variety of pathways; the more significant included drinking of water from the river and external gamma exposure due to proximity to sediments and shoreline. The specific aim of this project is to enhance the reconstruction of external and internal radiation doses for individuals in the Extended Techa River Cohort. The purpose of this paper is to present the details of the methods that are being used in this enhanced dose-reconstruction effort and to provide example and representative results of the calculations. The methods of dose assessment currently being developed for the exposed population [termed the Techa River Dosimetry System-2000 (TRDS-2000)], which are a significant improvement on past methods (TRDS-1996), are presented. The new TRDS-2000 doses from the ingestion of radionuclides are substantially higher for the gastrointestinal tract, due to consideration of short-lived radionuclides. The TRDS-2000 doses from external exposure are substantially lower due to improvements in several factors. Assessment of uncertainty and validation of the "new" doses are significant issues currently under investigation.
In this article we discuss examples of challenging problems in retrospective dosimetry and describe some promising solutions. The ability to make measurements by accelerator mass spectrometry and luminescence techniques promises to provide improved dosimetry for regions of Belarus, Ukraine and Russian Federation contaminated by radionuclides from the Chernobyl accident. In addition, it may soon be possible to resolve the large neutron discrepancy in the dosimetry system for Hiroshima through novel measurement techniques that can be used to reconstruct the fast-neutron fluence emitted by the bomb some 51 years ago. Important advances in molecular cytogenetics and electron paramagnetic resonance measurements have produced biodosimeters that show potential in retrospective dosimetry. The most promising of these are the frequency of reciprocal translocations measured in chromosomes of blood lymphocytes using fluorescence in situ hybridization and the electron paramagnetic resonance signal in tooth enamel.
Radioiodine released to the atmosphere from the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in the spring of 1986 resulted in large-scale thyroid-gland exposure of populations in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Because of the short half life of 131I (8.04 d), adequate data on the intensities and patterns of iodine deposition were not collected, especially in the regions where the incidence of childhood-thyroid cancer is now increasing. Results are presented from a feasibility study that show that accelerator-mass-spectrometry measurements of 129I (half life 16 x 106 y) in soil can be used to reconstruct 131I-deposition density and thus help in the thyroid-dosimetry effort that is now urgently needed to support epidemiologic studies of childhood-thyroid cancer in the affected regions.
Radioactive material was deposited throughout the Northern Hemisphere as a result of the accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station on 26 April 1986. On the basis of a large amount of environmental data and new integrated dose assessment and risk models, the collective dose commitment to the approximately 3 billion inhabitants is calculated to be 930,000 person-gray, with 97% in the western Soviet Union and Europe. The best estimates for the lifetime expectation of fatal radiogenic cancer would increase the risk from 0 to 0.02% in Europe and 0 to 0.003% in the Northern Hemisphere. By means of an integration of the environmental data, it is estimated that approximately 100 petabecquerels of cesium-137 (1 PBq = 10(15) Bq) were released during and subsequent to the accident.
This article discusses the most important information on health effects in the Urals region (Russia) of residents exposed to radiation from activities of a weapon plutonium separation plant. The population residing on the contaminated territory was exposed to chronic combined irradiation (external gamma-irradiation and internal irradiation due to Sr-90 and Cs-137). The red bone marrow (RBM) was the critical organ affected as a result of radiation events in the Urals. In the early period, after the discharges of radioactive wastes into the river Techa (about 3 M Ci) started, cases of chronic radiation sickness (CRS; 940 cases, in total), postirradiation reactions manifested by changes in blood parameters (e.g., leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, granulocytopenia), nervous system disorders, immunity changes and ostealgic syndrome were registered in a portion of those riverside village residents who had received the highest doses. Increased leukemia and cancer mortality and morbidity rates were noted among this population in later periods. No late effects were observed in residents exposed to an explosion in a radioactive waste depot in September, 1957 when radioactive wastes with about 20 M Ci of activity were released into the environment. Similarly, the offspring of the residents exposed on the Techa also did not display any late effects. The data about the possibilities of long-term (43-45 years after the start of exposure) biological indication of chronic internal exposure are presented. The methods used in the study include in situ fluorescent hybridization, analysis of mutations in the TCR gene of peripheral blood lymphocytes and erythrocyte mutations in the glycophorine A system. No dependence of genomic translocations and mutations in glycophorine A on cumulative exposure dose to RBM was traced.
The paper considers the radiation doses of the thyroid gland in the inhabitants from the Ukrainian SSR areas (Kiev, Zhitomir, Chernigov, and Vinnitsa Regions), which have been obtained by instrumental studies of thyroidal radioactivity in May-June, 1986, and calculated by the most conservative single-dose administration model. A hygienic evaluation has been made of the findings, taking into account the age and residence. The cumulative irradiation doses of the thyroid have been estimated for children and adults. Possible late sequelae for the areas in question may account for 1060 and 300 thyroid carcinoma cases during the whole life for children and adults, respectively.