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Bytwerk D.,Oregon State University | Limer L.,Quintessa Ltd. | Albrecht A.,Andra National Radioactive Waste Management Agency | Marang L.,Electricite de France | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Radiological Protection | Year: 2011

A range of performance assessments have indicated that the long-lived activation product 36Cl will be among the more significant contributors to dose following release to the biosphere from deep or near-surface repositories for radioactive wastes. Described here are results of a BIOPROTA model intercomparison study, investigating dose assessment uncertainties and variability on the basis of six 36Cl models from three countries. The models share a compartmental approach with transfers between compartments handled on the basis of empirical transfer factors (IMARC, ERB2A, Aquabios), on the basis of defined specific activities (AquaCl36, SA-36Cl), or on a combination of these methods (MTA-Cl36). The dose estimates that these models produce for a consensus well-water irrigation scenario, as well as the effect of altering certain critical assumptions, are reported, and the causes of variation examined. For the scenario considered, the calculated doses are within a factor of 15 of each other. Major differences were attributable to the data used for stable Cl concentrations and 36Cl transfer parameter values, both typically site-specific parameters. Additional critical assumptions were studied such as the impact of stable chloride in the diet on dose coefficients, the effect of irrigating pasture with contaminated water on 36Cl concentrations in animal products, and the explicit consideration of foliar uptake. © 2011 IOP Publishing Ltd. Source

Smith K.,Eden Nuclear and Environment Ltd. | Jackson D.,Eden Nuclear and Environment Ltd. | Smith G.,GMS Abingdon Ltd. | Norris S.,Campus Management
Mineralogical Magazine | Year: 2012

Carbon-14 has been identified as one of the more significant radionuclides in solid radioactive wastes in a repository, due to the potential radiological impact arising if 14C were to be released and enter the biosphere. However, the assessment of radiation doses is complicated by the major role of carbon in biological processes, and this has tended to lead to the adoption of a cautious assessment approach. An international comparison of five models used to predict uptake of 14C to agricultural crops has been undertaken, within the BIOPROTA framework. Processes investigated include conversion of 14C-labelled CH4 into CO2 in soils, carbon accumulation in and release from soil carbon pools, gaseous emanation to, and dispersion from, the plant canopy atmosphere and, incorporation into plants by photosynthesis. For a unit rate of entry of 14C to soil, modelled activity concentrations in cereal crops differ by three to five orders of magnitude. This reflects, in part, differing assumptions for mixing and dispersion of air above the soil surface and within the crop canopy layer. For a unit activity concentration of 14C in air, the modelled uptake to cereal crops converges significantly. Following an assumed irrigation of crops with groundwater containing unit activity of 14C, the predicted uptake to crops varied by two to four orders of magnitude, again largely dominated by assumptions regarding the canopy atmosphere. In all cases, there is some convergence in model predictions as field size increases. A continuing programme of field research is being undertaken in parallel with the assessment work. © 2012 The Mineralogical Society. Source

Smith K.,Eden Nuclear and Environment Ltd. | Smith G.M.,GMS Abingdon Ltd. | Norris S.,Campus Management
Mineralogical Magazine | Year: 2012

Consideration of the biosphere is important in the post-closure safety assessment of a geological disposal facility (GDF) as the biosphere acts as the receptor for any contaminants that may be released from the geosphere. Considerable uncertainty exists in the characteristics of the biosphere at times in the far future when any contaminant releases from a GDF would reach the accessible environment. These uncertainties include human behaviour, affecting environmental change as well as exposure modes. A number of critical scientific issues have been identified through the practical application of the International Atomic Energy Agency reference biosphere approach within both site generic and site specific repository assessment projects. These issues are being addressed through an international collaboration programme, BIOPROTA. The purpose of this paper is to describe the BIOPROTA programme, its objectives and typical working method. The approach is illustrated with examples from the recent work programme including model intercomparison studies for the radionuclides 36Cl and 79Se. © 2012 The Mineralogical Society. Source

Sneve M.K.,Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority | Smith G.,GMS Abingdon Ltd.
Radiation Protection Dosimetry | Year: 2015

Past development of processes and technologies using radioactive material led to construction of many facilities worldwide. Some of these facilities were built and operated before the regulatory infrastructure was in place to ensure adequate control of radioactive material during operation and decommissioning. In other cases, controls were in place but did not meet modern standards, leading to what is now considered to have been inadequate control. Accidents and other events have occurred resulting in loss of control of radioactive material and unplanned releases to the environment. The legacy from these circumstances is that many countries have areas or facilities at which abnormal radiation conditions exist at levels that give rise to concerns about environmental and human health of potential interest to regulatory authorities. Regulation of these legacy situations is complex. This paper examines the regulatory challenges associated with such legacy management and brings forward suggestions for finding the path from: legacy recognition; implementation, as necessary, of urgent mitigation measures; development of a longerterm management strategy, through to release from regulatory control. © The Author 2014. Source

This paper describes the development and evolution of the Electric Power Research Institute's (EPRI) post-closure dose assessment for potential releases of radionuclides from the proposed High Level Waste repository at Yucca Mountain. The starting point for this work was the 1995 publication of Technical Bases for Yucca Mountain Standards by the Commission on Geosciences, Environment and Resources of the National Research Council. This report proposed the development and application of an individual risk-based standard for releases from the repository to replace the existing one, which was based on radionuclide release limits. This in turn implied the development and application of methods to assess radiation doses to humans. Accordingly, EPRI produced a methodology for such dose assessment as part of its Total System Performance Assessment program for the proposed Yucca Mountain repository site. The methodology initially addressed releases via groundwater and then releases associated with extrusive igneous events. The methodology was updated and applied over the following years to take account of regulatory developments, changes in estimates of the source term to the biosphere, peer review through international model comparison exercises, new site generic data, and new data concerning conditions at the point of compliance in Amargosa Valley. The main outputs were Biosphere Dose Conversion Factors, which relate radionuclide levels in environmental media to the annual individual doses to a member of a hypothetical critical group and to the regulator-defined Reasonably Maximally Exposed Individual. Most recently, consideration has been given to uncertainty in the dose estimates based on a probabilistic analysis. The paper provides a perspective on the evolution of the dose assessments in response to the developments listed above. Copyright © by the Health Physics Society. Source

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