A respiratory model for uranium aluminide based on occupational data.

Author(s) Leggett, R.W.; Eckerman, K.F.; Boice, J.D.
Journal J Radiol Prot
Date Published 2005 Dec

As part of an epidemiological study, doses from intake of radionuclides were estimated for workers employed during a 52-year period at the Rocketdyne/Atomics International facility in California. The facility was involved in a variety of research programmes, including nuclear fuel fabrication, spent nuclear fuel decladding, and reactor operation and disassembly. Most of the documented intakes involved inhalation of enriched uranium (U), fission products, or plutonium (Pu). Highest doses were estimated for a group of workers exposed to airborne uranium aluminide (UAl(x)) during the fabrication of reactor fuel plates. Much of the exposure to UAl(x) occurred early in the fuel fabrication programme, before it was recognised that intake and lung retention were being underestimated from urinary data due to an unexpected delayed dissolution of the inhaled material. In workers who had been removed from exposure, the rate of urinary excretion of U increased for a few months, peaked, and then declined at a rate consistent with moderately soluble material. This pattern differs markedly from the monotonically decreasing absorption rates represented by the default absorption types in the Human Respiratory Tract Model (HRTM) of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). This paper summarises the findings on the behaviour of UAl(x) in these workers and describes material-specific parameter values of the HRTM based on this information.

DOI 10.1088/0952-4746/25/4/004
Keywords Air Pollutants, Radioactive; Aluminum; California; Humans; Inhalation Exposure; Models, Anatomic; Occupational Exposure; Radiation Dosage; Radiation Monitoring; Radiation Protection; Respiratory System; Risk Assessment; Uranium Compounds
ISSN 0952-4746
Citation J Radiol Prot. 2005;25(4):40516.

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