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Title: Simulation of atmospheric dispersion of radioactivity from the Chernobyl accident

Abstract

Measurements of airborne radioactivity over Europe, Japan, and the United States indicated that the release from the Chernobyl reactor accident in the Soviet Union on April 26, 1986 contained a wide spectrum of fission up to heights of 7 km or more within a few days after the initial explosion. This high-altitude presence of radioactivity would in part be attributable to atmospheric dynamics factors other than the thermal energy released in the initial explosion. Indications were that two types of releases had taken place -- an initial powerful explosion followed by days of a less energetic reactor fire. The Atmospheric Release Advisory Capability (ARAC) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) utilized three-dimensional atmospheric dispersion models to determine the characteristics of the source term (release) and the evolution of the spatial distributions of the airborne radioactivity as it was transported over Europe and subsequently over the northern hemisphere. This paper describes the ARAC involvement and the results of the hemispheric model calculations which graphically depict the extensive dispersal of radioactivity. 1 fig.

Authors:
; ;  [1]
  1. (Lawrence Livermore National Lab., CA (USA))
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab., CA (USA)
Sponsoring Org.:
DOE/ER
OSTI Identifier:
5400563
Report Number(s):
UCRL-101507; CONF-891103-27
ON: DE89015626; TRN: 89-029009
DOE Contract Number:
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Winter meeting of the American Nuclear Society, San Francisco, CA (USA), 26-30 Nov 1989
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
63 RADIATION, THERMAL, AND OTHER ENVIRON. POLLUTANT EFFECTS ON LIVING ORGS. AND BIOL. MAT.; 22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; CHERNOBYLSK-4 REACTOR; REACTOR ACCIDENTS; DISPERSIONS; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; ATMOSPHERIC CIRCULATION; ENVIRONMENTAL TRANSPORT; FALLOUT; FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY; FOOD CHAINS; GLOBAL ASPECTS; THREE-DIMENSIONAL CALCULATIONS; TRANSFRONTIER CONTAMINATION; ACCIDENTS; CONTAMINATION; ENRICHED URANIUM REACTORS; EUROPE; GRAPHITE MODERATED REACTORS; LWGR TYPE REACTORS; MASS TRANSFER; POWER REACTORS; REACTORS; SIMULATION; THERMAL REACTORS; WATER COOLED REACTORS; 560161* - Radionuclide Effects, Kinetics, & Toxicology- Man; 220500 - Nuclear Reactor Technology- Environmental Aspects; 210300 - Power Reactors, Nonbreeding, Graphite Moderated; 220900 - Nuclear Reactor Technology- Reactor Safety

Citation Formats

Lange, R., Sullivan, T.J., and Gudiksen, P.H.. Simulation of atmospheric dispersion of radioactivity from the Chernobyl accident. United States: N. p., 1989. Web.
Lange, R., Sullivan, T.J., & Gudiksen, P.H.. Simulation of atmospheric dispersion of radioactivity from the Chernobyl accident. United States.
Lange, R., Sullivan, T.J., and Gudiksen, P.H.. 1989. "Simulation of atmospheric dispersion of radioactivity from the Chernobyl accident". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/5400563.
@article{osti_5400563,
title = {Simulation of atmospheric dispersion of radioactivity from the Chernobyl accident},
author = {Lange, R. and Sullivan, T.J. and Gudiksen, P.H.},
abstractNote = {Measurements of airborne radioactivity over Europe, Japan, and the United States indicated that the release from the Chernobyl reactor accident in the Soviet Union on April 26, 1986 contained a wide spectrum of fission up to heights of 7 km or more within a few days after the initial explosion. This high-altitude presence of radioactivity would in part be attributable to atmospheric dynamics factors other than the thermal energy released in the initial explosion. Indications were that two types of releases had taken place -- an initial powerful explosion followed by days of a less energetic reactor fire. The Atmospheric Release Advisory Capability (ARAC) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) utilized three-dimensional atmospheric dispersion models to determine the characteristics of the source term (release) and the evolution of the spatial distributions of the airborne radioactivity as it was transported over Europe and subsequently over the northern hemisphere. This paper describes the ARAC involvement and the results of the hemispheric model calculations which graphically depict the extensive dispersal of radioactivity. 1 fig.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 1989,
month = 7
}

Conference:
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  • Measurements of airborne radioactivity over Europe, Japan, and the United States indicated that the release from the Chernobyl reactor accident in the Soviet Union on April 26, 1986, contained a wide spectrum of fission products up to heights of 7 km or more within a few days after the initial explosion. This high-altitude presence of radioactivity would in part be attributable to atmospheric dynamics factors other than the thermal energy released in the initial explosion. Indications were that two types of releases had taken place - an initial powerful explosion followed by days of a less energetic reactor fire. Themore » Atmospheric Release Advisory Capability (ARAC) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory utilized three-dimensional atmospheric dispersion models to determine the characteristics of the source term (release) and the evolution of the spatial distributions of the airborne radioactivity as it was transported over Europe and subsequently over the northern hemisphere. This paper describes the ARAC involvement and the results of the hemispheric model calculations, which graphically depict the extensive dispersal of radioactivity.« less
  • Measurements of fallout radioactivity were made in the thyroid region, abdomen, whole body, or urine of 96 persons who were in eastern Europe at the time of the Chernobyl reactor accident or who went there shortly afterward. The most frequently encountered radionuclides were /sup 131/I, sup 134,137/Cs, and /sup 103/Ru//sup 103/Rh. The median /sup 131/I activity in the thyroids of 42 subjects in whom radioiodine was detected and who were in Europe when the accident began was projected as 42 nCi the day the accident began. The median total body activity of /sup 134/Cs in 40 subjects in which itmore » was detected was 1.7 nCi upon arrival in the US. For 51 subjects with detectable /sup 137/Cs burdens, the total body activity was 4.6 nCi. The risk of fatal thyroid cancer is less than 3 x 10/sup -6/ for nearly all subjects in this series. The risk of fatal cancer from /sup 134,137/Cs for subjects with cesium exposures similar to the ones observed by us, but who remained in Europe, is estimated as 1.4 x 10/sup -6/ to 4.2 x 10/sup -5/ with 95% of the risk attributable to /sup 137/Cs. 5 refs., 4 tabs.« less
  • The Chernobyl source term available for long-range transport was estimated by integration of radiological measurements with atmospheric dispersion modeling, and by reactor core radionuclide inventory estimation in conjunction with WASH-1400 release fractions associated with specific chemical groups. These analyses indicated that essentially all of the noble gases, 80% of the radioiodines, 40% of the radiocesium, 10% of the tellurium, and about 1% or less of the more refractory elements were released. Atmospheric dispersion modeling of the radioactive cloud over the Northern Hemisphere revealed that the cloud became segmented during the first day, with the lower section heading toward Scandinavia andmore » the uppper part heading in a southeasterly direction with subsequent transport across Asia to Japan, the North Pacific, and the west coast of North America. The inhalation doses due to direct cloud exposure were estimated to exceed 10 mGy near the Chernobyl area, to range between 0.1 and 0.001 mGy within most of Europe, and to be generally less than 0.00001 mGy within the US. The Chernobyl source term was several orders of magnitude greater than those associated with the Windscale and TMI reactor accidents, while the /sup 137/Cs from the Chernobyl event is about 6% of that released by the US and USSR atmospheric nuclear weapon tests. 9 refs., 3 figs., 6 tabs.« less
  • This paper summarizes the results of eight years of mitigative measures to radioactive contamination within the 30 kilometer exclusion zone surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. We hope to demonstrate that effectiveness of mitigative measures depends not only on proper application of technology but also on selection of projects offering significant risk reduction potential. In a limited national economy, environmental mitigation projects must maximize risk reduction and cost effectiveness or risk losing funding to more pressing social issues.
  • The distribution of contaminants near Chernobyl is extremely patchy, and was highly influenced by prevailing wind direction after the accident. In data from Soviet agencies and their successors, regions to the south and southeast or the reactor reportedly received much less radioactivity than regions in the north and northwest. We visited sites to the south of Chernobyl in 1992, and to the north in 1993; all sites were within 35 km of the power plant. Sediments and fish samples from about 20 ponds were analyzed for radiocesium; Pb and Hg were also determined in fish muscle. Lake sediments in themore » south contained 0.02 to 11 Bq/g {sup 137}Cs, while those to the north contained up to 2000 Bq/g {sup 137}Cs. Fish muscle also contained much less radioactivity in southern areas ({le} 8.2 Bq/g vs. {le} 212 Bq/g at northern sites). Pb and Hg were elevated in some samples, but the distribution of radioactive and non-radioactive contaminants were not highly correlated. Low ionic strength waters typically favor contaminant uptake; waters in the area were soft (sp. cond < 450 {mu}S/cm) and low in Ca and K. In these regions, water chemistry was a poor predictor of fish contaminant burden, possibly due to the extreme patchiness of the contaminant distribution. Human habitation is presently permitted in the southern regions we visited, but the northern ones. A companion poster has been submitted detailing measurements of genetic anomalies in these fish.« less