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Title: Distribution of sup 137 Cs in soils due to the Goiania accident and decisions for remedial action during the recovery phase

Abstract

In September 1987, a powder radioactive source was removed from a teletherapy machine in Goiania, Brazil. Subsequently, it was ruptured in a residential garden causing the dissemination of {sup 137}Cs throughout the city. Soil resuspension processes and burial of contaminated house waste in unused gardens were the major contributors to the Cs dissemination in soils at the secondary contaminated sites. Only locations within a radius of 50 m from the primary contaminated sites presented the need for remedial action. The radiation dose-rate measurements and the soil profiles were good indicators of the extent of the secondary contamination and were fundamental for the decisions taken regarding decontamination procedures. In cases of surface contamination, 60% on average of the total activity remained in the upper 1.5-cm layer over the first 5 mo after the accident, and topsoil removal proved to be an effective procedure for decontamination.

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;  [1]
  1. (Instituto de Radioprotecao e Dosimetria/CNEN, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil))
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
6076195
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Health Physics; (USA); Journal Volume: 60:1
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; BRAZIL; RADIATION ACCIDENTS; CESIUM 137; RADIOECOLOGICAL CONCENTRATION; SOILS; RADIONUCLIDE MIGRATION; DECISION MAKING; RADIATION MONITORING; REMEDIAL ACTION; ACCIDENTS; ALKALI METAL ISOTOPES; BETA DECAY RADIOISOTOPES; BETA-MINUS DECAY RADIOISOTOPES; CESIUM ISOTOPES; DEVELOPING COUNTRIES; ECOLOGICAL CONCENTRATION; ENVIRONMENTAL TRANSPORT; ISOTOPES; LATIN AMERICA; MASS TRANSFER; MONITORING; NUCLEI; ODD-EVEN NUCLEI; RADIOISOTOPES; SOUTH AMERICA; YEARS LIVING RADIOISOTOPES; 540230* - Environment, Terrestrial- Radioactive Materials Monitoring & Transport- (1990-)

Citation Formats

Amaral, E.C., Vianna, M.E., Godoy, J.M., Rochedo, E.R., Campos, M.J., do Rio, M.A., Oliveira, J.P., Pereira, J.C., and Reis, W.G.. Distribution of sup 137 Cs in soils due to the Goiania accident and decisions for remedial action during the recovery phase. United States: N. p., 1991. Web. doi:10.1097/00004032-199101000-00015.
Amaral, E.C., Vianna, M.E., Godoy, J.M., Rochedo, E.R., Campos, M.J., do Rio, M.A., Oliveira, J.P., Pereira, J.C., & Reis, W.G.. Distribution of sup 137 Cs in soils due to the Goiania accident and decisions for remedial action during the recovery phase. United States. doi:10.1097/00004032-199101000-00015.
Amaral, E.C., Vianna, M.E., Godoy, J.M., Rochedo, E.R., Campos, M.J., do Rio, M.A., Oliveira, J.P., Pereira, J.C., and Reis, W.G.. 1991. "Distribution of sup 137 Cs in soils due to the Goiania accident and decisions for remedial action during the recovery phase". United States. doi:10.1097/00004032-199101000-00015.
@article{osti_6076195,
title = {Distribution of sup 137 Cs in soils due to the Goiania accident and decisions for remedial action during the recovery phase},
author = {Amaral, E.C. and Vianna, M.E. and Godoy, J.M. and Rochedo, E.R. and Campos, M.J. and do Rio, M.A. and Oliveira, J.P. and Pereira, J.C. and Reis, W.G.},
abstractNote = {In September 1987, a powder radioactive source was removed from a teletherapy machine in Goiania, Brazil. Subsequently, it was ruptured in a residential garden causing the dissemination of {sup 137}Cs throughout the city. Soil resuspension processes and burial of contaminated house waste in unused gardens were the major contributors to the Cs dissemination in soils at the secondary contaminated sites. Only locations within a radius of 50 m from the primary contaminated sites presented the need for remedial action. The radiation dose-rate measurements and the soil profiles were good indicators of the extent of the secondary contamination and were fundamental for the decisions taken regarding decontamination procedures. In cases of surface contamination, 60% on average of the total activity remained in the upper 1.5-cm layer over the first 5 mo after the accident, and topsoil removal proved to be an effective procedure for decontamination.},
doi = {10.1097/00004032-199101000-00015},
journal = {Health Physics; (USA)},
number = ,
volume = 60:1,
place = {United States},
year = 1991,
month = 1
}
  • In the Goiania accident, many individuals suffered external and internal contamination. The screening of internal contamination was done through {sup 137}Cs urinary excretion. During the first month after the accident, only in-vitro bioassay procedures were done. Incorporation into the body and committed doses were estimated using age-specific mathematical models correlating these quantities to the {sup 137}Cs excreted in urine. The ratio of feces to urine of {sup 137}Cs excretion was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the administration of Prussian Blue on removal of {sup 137}Cs from the body.
  • The removal of a 50.9-TBq {sup 137}Cs source from a radiation therapy facility in Goiania gave rise to a radiological accident in September 1987 whose proportions were aggravated by the 16-d interval from the beginning of a series of acts that resulted in the contamination of people and areas, to the moment of identification and seeking of aid. Data gathered from the declarations of persons involved in the accident, matched with the medical assessment and radiation monitoring of areas affected, made it possible to determine procedures for care of victims and for decontaminating operations of these areas. The priorities ofmore » these procedures were to provide care to victims and eliminate critical paths by which other persons might be affected by exposure to radiation or contamination. This paper presents (1) remedial actions taken during the first weeks, (2) management problems associated with the accident, and (3) lessons learned from this episode that are of benefit to us and, hopefully, to others.« less
  • A description is given of initial symptoms and clinical observations regarding acute localized radiation lesions in 28 persons exposed to 137Cs during the Goiania radiological accident. Specialized procedures to estimate the extent and gravity of the lesions and establish a therapeutic strategy, as well as to anticipate the prognosis in each case, are briefly discussed. Measures taken for reduction of pain and inflammation are noted, and an explanation is given for difficulties encountered due to adverse working conditions and the serious clinical manifestations presented by various patients concomitantly with their lesions. Also noted is the difficulty in obtaining credible informationmore » regarding exposure, such as source-to-object distance, duration of exposure, and source activity, which precluded dosimetry studies in most cases.« less
  • Blood samples of some highly internally contaminated Goianian patients were measured for {sup 137}Cs activity. The distribution of activity among the blood components was checked. We found that the majority of the activity was confined to the cellular fraction, mainly to the erythrocytes (red cells).
  • The main contamination areas in Goiania were exposed soil surfaces, and with the first rainfalls, {sup 137}Cs quickly reached the Meia-Ponte River, the main local waterway. Regular measurements of bottom sediment, surface water, and fish were begun 3 wk after the accident. In the first survey, {sup 137}Cs was detectable in sediments up to 12 km downstream from the accident area. Maximum {sup 137}Cs concentrations found in sediments of the Meia-Ponte River were 1.3 kBq kg-1 dry weight and 200 Bq kg-1 fresh weight for fish. Cesium-137 was always less than 10 Bq L-1 in surface waters plus suspended particulates,more » even in the most contaminated creeks. Because it was the beginning of the rainy season, downstream sediment transport was enhanced. This resulted in a decrease of {sup 137}Cs concentrations in sediments of the urban area by a factor of approximately 20, 5 wk after the accident. The main sedimentation area for suspended sediments in this portion of the river is the Rochedo Reservoir, which is 80 km downstream from the accident area. In a survey performed 10 mo after the accident, 137Cs concentrations in the reservoir were up to 14 Bq kg-1 for fish, 1 Bq kg-1 for aquatic plants, and 100 Bq kg-1 dry weight for bottom sediments.« less