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Generic performance assessment for a deep repository for low and intermediate level waste in the UK - a case study in assessing radiological impacts on the natural environment

Citation
Jones SR, Patton D, Copplestone D, Norris S & O'Sullivan P (2003) Generic performance assessment for a deep repository for low and intermediate level waste in the UK - a case study in assessing radiological impacts on the natural environment, Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 66 (1-2), pp. 89-119.

Abstract
Concentrations of radionuclides in soil and surface water, taken from a generic performance assessment of a repository for low and intermediate level radioactive waste, assumed to be located in the UK, have been used as the basis for a case study in assessing radiological impacts on the natural environment. Simplified descriptions of the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem types likely to be impacted have been developed. A scoping assessment has identified 226Ra, 210Po, 234U, 230Th and 238U as having the highest potential for impact, with doses from internally incorporated alpha emitters as being potentially of particular importance. These nuclides, together with 36Cl and 129I (which have proved to be of importance in radiological risk assessments for humans) were included in a more detailed dose assessment. A basic methodology for dose assessment of ecosystems is described, and has been applied for the defined impacted ecosystems. Paucity of published data on concentration factors prevented a more detailed assessment for terrestrial ecosystems. For the aquatic ecosystem, a more detailed assessment was possible and highest calculated absorbed dose rates (weighted for the likely higher biological effectiveness of alpha radiation) were about 6.5 μGy h−1. We conclude that harm to the impacted ecosystems is unlikely and make the observation that the lack of concentration factor or transfer factor data for a sufficiently wide range of species, ecosystems and nuclides appears to be the principal obstacle to establishing a comprehensive framework for the application of radiological protection to ecosystems.

Keywords
radioactive waste; repository; radionuclides; dose assessment; biota; ecosystems

StatusPublished
AuthorsJones Steve R, Patton D, Copplestone David, Norris Simon, O'Sullivan Patrick
Publication date2003
PublisherElsevier
ISSN 0265-931X
LanguageEnglish

Journal
Journal of Environmental Radioactivity: Volume 66, Issue 1-2 (2003)

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