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Journal: Health physics


World events over the past decade have highlighted the threat of nuclear terrorism as well as an urgent need to develop radiation countermeasures for acute radiation exposures and subsequent bodily injuries. An increased probability of radiological or nuclear incidents due to detonation of nuclear weapons by terrorists, sabotage of nuclear facilities, dispersal and exposure to radioactive materials, and accidents provides the basis for such enhanced radiation exposure risks for civilian populations. Although the search for suitable radiation countermeasures for radiation-associated injuries was initiated more than half a century ago, no safe and effective radiation countermeasure for the most severe of these injuries, namely acute radiation syndrome (ARS), has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The dearth of FDA-approved radiation countermeasures has prompted intensified research for a new generation of radiation countermeasures. In this communication, the authors have listed and reviewed the status of radiation countermeasures that are currently available for use, or those that might be used for exceptional nuclear/radiological contingencies, plus a limited few medicines that show early promise but still remain experimental in nature and unauthorized for human use by the FDA.

Concepts: Chernobyl disaster, Radioactive decay, Radiation, Nuclear weapon, Gamma ray, Radiation poisoning, Nuclear fallout, Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents


As MOSFET (Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor) detectors allow dose measurements in real time, the interest in these dosimeters is growing. The aim of this study was to investigate the dosimetric properties of commercially available TN-502RD-H MOSFET silicon detectors (Best Medical Canada, Ottawa, Canada) in order to use them for in vivo dosimetry in interventional radiology and for dose reconstruction in case of overexposure. Reproducibility of the measurements, dose rate dependence, and dose response of the MOSFET detectors have been studied with a Co source. Influence of the dose rate, frequency, and pulse duration on MOSFET responses has also been studied in pulsed x-ray fields. Finally, in order to validate the integrated dose given by MOSFET detectors, MOSFETs and TLDs (LiF:Mg,Cu,P) were fixed on an Alderson-Rando phantom in the conditions of an interventional neuroradiology procedure, and their responses have been compared. The results of this study show the suitability of MOSFET detectors for in vivo dosimetry in interventional radiology and for dose reconstruction in case of accident, provided a well-corrected energy dependence, a pulse duration equal to or higher than 10 ms, and an optimized contact between the detector and the skin of the patient are achieved.

Concepts: Radiology, Integrated circuit, Semiconductor device, Transistor, Bipolar junction transistor, CMOS, MOSFET, Julius Edgar Lilienfeld


Coal combustion residues from coal-fired power plants can be advantageous for use in building and construction materials. These by-products contain trace quantities of naturally occurring radionuclides from the uranium and thorium series, as well as other naturally occurring radionuclides such as K. Analysis was performed on samples of coal fly ash, flue gas desulfurization, gypsum and scrubber sludges, fixated scrubber sludges, and waste water filter cakes sampled from multiple coal-fired power plants in the United States. The radioactive content of U and Th decay series nuclides was determined using gamma photopeaks from progeny Pb at 352 keV and Tl at 583 keV, respectively; K specific activities were determined using the 1,461 keV photopeak. The samples were hermetically sealed to allow for secular equilibrium between the radium parents and the radon and subsequent progeny. Samples were analyzed in a common geometry using two high purity germanium photon detectors with low energy detection capabilities. The specific activities (Bq kg) were compared to results from literature studies including different building materials and fly ash specific activities. Fly ash from bituminous and subbituminous coals had U specific activities varying from 30-217 Bq kg (mean + 1 s.d. 119 ± 45 Bq kg) and 72-209 Bq kg (115 ± 40 Bq kg), respectively; Th specific activities from 10-120 Bq kg (73 ± 26 Bq kg) and 53-110 Bq kg (81 ± 18 Bq kg), respectively; and K specific activities from 177 to 928 Bq kg (569 ± 184 Bq kg) and 87-303 Bq kg (171 ± 69 Bq kg), respectively. Gypsum samples had U, Th, and K specific activities approximately one order of magnitude less than measured for fly ash samples.

Concepts: Radioactive decay, Coal, Fly ash, Pozzolana, Portland cement, Concrete, Flue gas, Decay chain


Differences between IEEE C95 Standards (C95.6-2002 and C95.1-2005) in the low-frequency (1 Hz-100 kHz) and the ICNIRP-2010 guidelines appear across the frequency spectrum. Factors accounting for lack of convergence include: differences between the IEEE standards and the ICNIRP guidelines with respect to biological induction models, stated objectives, data trail from experimentally derived thresholds through physical and biological principles, selection and justification of safety/reduction factors, use of probability models, compliance standards for the limbs as distinct from the whole body, defined population categories, strategies for central nervous system protection below 20 Hz, and correspondence of environmental electric field limits with contact currents. This paper discusses these factors and makes the case for adoption of the limits in the IEEE standards.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Brain, Frequency, Hertz, Standards organizations, IEEE 802.11, IEEE Standards Association


The photon interaction parameters such as mass attenuation coefficient (μ/ρ), effective atomic number (Zeff) and effective electron density (Nel) must be identical for the phantom material and their tissue. In the present study, the μ/ρ, Zeff, and Nel for muscle, breast, lung tissue have been computed, and their substitutes such as Griffith muscle, Griffith breast, Griffith lung, Alderson muscleA, Alderson muscle, and Alderson lung. Also compared were μ/ρ, Zeff, and Nel for muscle, breast, lung tissue, and their substitutes. It can be shown that Alderson muscle B is better substitute for muscle than Griffith muscle and Alderson muscle A. Similarly, the photon interaction parameters of tissue substitutes of lung and breast with their original tissue were also compared.

Concepts: Electron, Photon, Atom, Atomic number, Mass attenuation coefficient, Attenuation coefficient, Scattering theory, Effective atomic number


Radon-222 has been measured in groundwater, dwellings, and atmosphere of an inhabited area adjacent to the granitic Aja heights of Hail province, Saudi Arabia. The measurements were carried out in the field using a RAD7 instrument. Twenty-eight water samples, collected from drilled wells scattered in the region, were analyzed. Radon-222 concentration ranged from 2.5-95 kBq m with an average value of about 30.3 kBq m. The higher values were found in wells drawing water from granitic aquifers. Indoor Rn was measured in 20 dwellings of rural areas in Hail city and other towns. Concentrations ranged from 12-125.6 Bq m, with an average value of 54.6 Bq m. Outdoor air Rn was measured at 16 sites, with values ranging from 6.2-13.3 Bq m, with an average value of 10.5 Bq m. The estimated average effective dose due to inhalation of Rn released from water was 0.08 mSv y. The estimated average annual effective dose due to indoor Rn was 1.35 mSv, which lies below the effective dose range (3-10 mSv) given as the recommended action level. Based on the average dose rate values, the excess lifetime cancer risk values were estimated as 69.8 × 10 due to indoor radon and 13.4 × 10 due to outdoor radon.

Concepts: Water, Saudi Arabia, Arabian Peninsula, Riyadh, United Arab Emirates, Mecca, Ha'il, Ha'il Province


This paper presents KDEP, an open-source implementation of the ICRP lung deposition model developed by the authors. KDEP, which is freely available to the public, can be used to calculate lung deposition values under a variety of different conditions using the ICRP methodology. The paper describes how KDEP implements this model and discusses some key points of the implementation. The published lung deposition values for intakes by workers were reproduced, and new deposition values were calculated for intakes by members of the public. KDEP can be obtained for free at or by emailing the authors directly.

Concepts: Mathematics, Respiratory system, Literature, Calculation, Free software, Standard Model, Open access, Calculating demand forecast accuracy


This work is a brief overview and comparison of dose rates stemming from both indoor and outdoor natural background radiation and household objects within a suburban environment in North Carolina. Combined gamma and beta dose rates were taken from indoor objects that ranged from the potassium in fruit to the americium in smoke detectors. For outdoor measurements, various height and time data samples were collected to show fluctuations in dose rate due to temperature inversion and geometric attenuation. Although each sample tested proved to have a statistically significant increase over background using Students t-test, no sample proved to be more than a minor increase in natural radiation dose. The relative contributions from natural radioactivity such as potassium in foods and common household items are shown to be easily distinguished from background using standard handheld instrumentation when applied in a systematic, methodological manner.

Concepts: Ionizing radiation, Sievert, Radiation poisoning, Background radiation, Radioactive contamination, Radon, Radiation hormesis, Background radiation equivalent time


Decontamination workers may face a high risk of exposure to internal irradiation through inhalation during decontamination activities; there is, however, little previous research on the levels of internal contamination during decontamination procedures. The authors reviewed the medical records, including whole body counter measurements, of decontamination workers in villages near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant to assess their levels of internal radiation exposure. In total, 83 decontamination workers were enrolled in this study. They were regularly engaged in decontamination activities in highly contaminated areas where surface Cs deposition density was over 100 kBq m. The present study showed low levels of internal exposure among the decontamination workers near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The cesium burdens of all the decontamination workers were below detection limits. They had reported no acute health problems. The resuspension of radioactive materials may cause minimal internal contamination during decontamination activities.

Concepts: Chernobyl disaster, Radioactive decay, Uranium, Nuclear fission, Nuclear power, Radioactive contamination, Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents, Nuclear safety


The reductive effect of an anti-pollinosis mask against internal exposure from radioactive materials dispersed following the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster was investigated. A single mask was worn continuously for 18 h from 15:00 JST on 15 March to 09:00 JST on 16 March 2011 at the Hongo campus of the University of Tokyo, Japan. An adult without a mask was exposed during this time to radiation of 6.1 μSv over ambient background in effective dose and 33 μSv in dose equivalent to the thyroid. Radionuclides were dispersed not only in their gaseous and particulate state but also as components that agglomerate to other aerosols and pollens. Wearing a mask for anti-pollinosis could reduce internal exposure from inhalation.

Concepts: Ionizing radiation, Chernobyl disaster, Radioactive decay, Japan, Gamma ray, Radioactive contamination, Radioactivity, Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents