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Assessment of the factors affecting the variability of radionuclides in terrestrial foodstuffs - RP0431

The analysis of terrestrial foodstuffs collected in the vicinity of nuclear sites has, in the past, demonstrated that a wide spatial variability in radionuclide levels exist, even over short distance scales. Environmental monitoring programmes ought to reflect this variability in order to determine both representation and pessimistic dose rates. Radionuclide analysis is, however, expensive and financial constraints will necessarily restrict the number of samples that can be analysed for a given site at any particular time. An assessment needs to be made, therefore, of the major factors that are likely to influence radionuclide concentrations in foodstuffs so that clear guidelines can be given to field operators employed in field sampling programmes in order to satisfy the monitoring requirements and to enable a cost effective monitoring programme to be undertaken. The results of this will be of use primarily to MAFF in the formulation of monitoring programmes and might be of use to other organisations with monitoring responsibilities.
Objectives (i) to (iii) relate to a theoretical study to determine the likely importance of the spatial inhomogeneity in the radionuclide content of foodstuffs. Objective (iv) relates to an additional experimental study to confirm the conclusions of the theoretical one. (i) to provide a listing of the dominant factors that are likely to control spatial inhomogeneities in surface contamination and in the radionuclide content of foodstuffs. (ii) to evaluate how the dominant factors controlling the spatial inhomogeneity of radionuclides in foodstuffs are likely to contribute to dosage uncertainties and to make recommendations for field monitoring in order to estimate mean and maximum radionuclide concentrations in foodstuffs. (iii) to provide recommendations on an experimental methodology to elucidate uncertainities in the factors leading to the spatial variability of the radionuclide content of foodstuffs. (iv) to undertake initial experimental studies to assess the conclusions made in (i) to (iii).
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1997

To: 1998

Cost: £30,116
Contractor / Funded Organisations
AEA Technology, Abingdon