Bouville and Co-Workers Explained:
The Methodology Used to Assess Doses from the First Nuclear Weapons Test (Trinity) to the Populations of New Mexico.
Reference: Bouville, A., Beck, H. L., Thiessen, K. M., Hoffman, F. O., Potischman, N., & Simon, S. L. (2020). The Methodology Used to Assess Doses from the First Nuclear Weapons Test (Trinity) to the Populations of New Mexico. Health Physics, 119(4), 400–427. https://doi.org/10.1097/HP.0000000000001331
What was the purpose of the work?
The aim was to develop and describe methods for use in the estimation of radiation doses received by residents of New Mexico in 1945 as a result of the Trinity nuclear test.
How was the scientific problem approached?
The researchers developed mathematical models to make estimates of the amount of radioactivity deposited on the ground from the 63 most important radioactive isotopes produced by the nuclear test. They also used information about diet, housing and how fallout moved in the environment to consider potential routes for exposure.
What did the research involve?
The researchers used a previously published fallout deposition map to make estimates of the amount of radioactivity deposited on the ground from the 63 most important radioactive isotopes. The researchers considered routes of exposure as (1) external irradiation, arising mainly from the radionuclides deposited on the ground, (2) inhalation of radionuclide-contaminated air during the passage of the radioactive cloud and/or radionuclides resuspended from soil to air, and (3) ingestion of contaminated water and foodstuffs. These routes were considered together with the potential timing of exposure. Mathematical models for the various different exposure pathways were then developed using this information which they then applied to different populations based upon ethnicity, age and resident area.
What did the researchers achieve?
The researchers present detailed mathematical models and parameter values for the calculation of radiation doses resulting from the three exposure pathways. Sixty-three radionuclides and exposure to five organs or tissues (thyroid, lung, active marrow, stomach, and colon) are detailed.
How did the researchers interpret their basic results?
The methods and models developed will enable dose assessment for multiple types of foods and modes of intake to be performed. The authors highlight that their work represents the most detailed assessment of exposure from nuclear testing fallout to have ever been conducted.
Who did this research?
The study was done by researchers from the US National Cancer Institute in collaboration with teams from the US National Institutes of Health, New Mexico State University, Honor Our Pueblo Existence and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. The research was funded by the US National Cancer Institute and the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
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Mathematical models were developed to enable estimations of radiation dose from nuclear fallout.
Methods to estimate dose were determined for both external and internal (inhalation, ingestion) exposure routes.