The Techa River was contaminated as a result of radioactive releases by the Mayak plutonium production facility in 1949-1956. The residents of riverside communities were exposed to internal irradiation from radionuclides ingested mainly with river water, and also to external gamma irradiation resulting from shoreline and flood-plain contamination. The most important role in population exposure was played by (89,90)Sr and 137Cs. The persons born after the onset of the contamination have been identified as the 'Techa River Offspring Cohort' (TROC). The TROC has the potential to provide direct data on health effects in progeny that resulted from exposure of a general population to chronic radiation. This report describes the results of the calculation of fetal doses due to intakes of radionuclides by their mothers. Particular attention has been given to fetal dose from 90Sr because this nuclide is the most significant in terms of population dose for the Techa River. The comparison of the fetal bone marrow doses evaluated using different approaches proposed in the literature has shown a large dispersal in dose values. The main cause of this is the difference in model assumptions simplifying some developmental aspects of fetal haematopoiesis and bone formation. This paper presents an analysis of these basic assumptions that could be useful for further improvements in fetal dosimetry.
Operation of "Mayak" plutonium production complex resulted in radioactive contamination of the part of Chelyabinsk Region in 1950-60s. Significant gas-aerosol emissions of 1311 occurred since 1948; in 1957, a radiation accident resulted in 90Sr contamination of large territories. This paper presents comparison of bone mineral density of persons lived on territories with different levels of soil 90Sr-contamination with a control group. It was found that in 1970-1975 the bone mineral density, estimated from mineral content in bone samples, in residents of contaminated areas born in 1936-1952 was significantly lower compared with the control group. For persons born in 1880-1935 such differences were not found. It was shown that the decrease in bone mineral density was not related to 90Sr exposure of osteogenic cells in the dose range from 0.1 to 1300 mGy: the coefficient of correlation between individual 90Sr-doses and bone mineral contents was not significant. The decrease in bone mineral density of persons born in 1936-1952 could be associated with exposure of thyroid and parathyroid glands (systemic regulators of calcium turnover) by 131I from gas-aerosol emissions from "Mayak". Maximum gas-aerosol emissions occurred in 1948-1954 and coincided with growth and development of thyroid gland, characterizing by intensive accumulation of 131I, and with growth and maturation of the skeleton of persons born in these calendar years.
Massive releases of fission products from the plutonium production facility 'Mayak' resulted in the years 1949-1956 in the contamination of the river Techa and its flood lands. This led to the exposure of the population in many riverside villages due to external gamma-rays and due to the incorporation of radionuclides, primarily Sr-90. The exposure situation is described and the reconstruction of doses due to external and due to internal radioactivity is explained. The internal dosimetry is based on large scale measurements of Sr-90 beta-rays on the surface of teeth that were begun in 1960, and on whole-body measurements of Sr-90 that were begun in 1974. The details of the analyses are presented in Part 2 of the present report. Average doses due to the external and the internal exposure are given for the residents of the different villages along the river Techa. In the total population of about 28,000 persons that were assessed, the medium dose to the red bone marrow was about 0.25 Gy and the mean dose about 0.4 Gy. In about 5% of the individuals the dose to the red bone marrow was estimated to be in excess of 1 Gy.
Measurements of 90Sr in human bone of inhabitants of the Techa river region were started in 1951, and since 1974 the Techa river population has been studied with a whole-body counter. One of the dosimetric tasks that could be decided using data on 90Sr measurements is direct evaluation of strontium transfer to the fetus from the maternal skeleton. Six cases were selected for which 90Sr measurements were available both for stillborn infants and their mothers. The ratio of 90Sr concentrations in fetal bone to maternal bone for the year of pregnancy has been evaluated. Two clusters of values were found and the difference between clusters could be explained by age-dependent features of maternal bone formation and remodelling. When the mother's 90Sr intake occurred in the period of intensive compact bone growth, the transfer coefficient was very low (0.012-0.032). If 90Sr ingestion occurred during the woman's reproductive age, the transfer to fetus was equal to 0.21-0.26.