V. P. Ramzaev; A. N. Barkovsky;
V. P. Ramzaev; A. N. Barkovsky;
Publisher: SPRI of Radiation Hygiene Prof. PV Ramzaev
The aim of this study was to determine the dynamics of decrease of the dose rate of gamma radiation in air from 137Cs in typical rural locations in the remote period after the Chernobyl accident. The dose rate measurements were performed in the areas of 15 settlements of the Zlynka, Klintsy and Novozybkov districts of the Bryansk region of Russia in the period 1998–2012. After the accident in 1986, the density of contamination of the territory with 137Cs in all settlements was higher than the value of 555 kBq/m2 . Monitoring measurements of the dose rate were performed in eight locations commonly used in assessing the radiation doses to the rural population after the Chernobyl accident: 1) virgin soils (meadows) located outside settlements, 2) virgin soils located inside settlements, 3) forests, 4) arable fields, 5) kitchen gardens, 6) other ground surfaces (earthen yards next to residential buildings), 7) single-story wooden houses, 8) asphalted areas (streets, roads, courtyards next to residential buildings). The number of observation sites in individual locations ranged from 6 to 19 (a total of 103 sites). Series of measurements at individual sites were launched in the period 1998–2001 and completed in 2009–2012. On average, the duration of the series was 11.1 years. The measurements were made in the spring-autumn period annually (in some years at some sites two to three times a year) using a portable gamma-ray spectrometer-dosimeter. In the initial period of the study (1998–2001), the values of the absorbed dose rate in air from 137Cs were in the range from 40 to 2020 nGy/h. The maximum values were recorded in virgin meadows and forests, and the minimum ones were observed inside houses and over asphalted surfaces. By the end of our series of observations (2009–2012), the dose rate decreased at all sites, by an average of 33% (range 6–64%). The values of the ecological period of half-reduction of the dose rate, calculated for individual sites, ranged from 14 to 320 years and averaged 34 years (virgin soils located outside settlements), 30 years (virgin soils located inside settlements), 37 years (forests), 93 years (arable fields), 99 years (kitchen gardens), 33 years (other earth surfaces), 45 years (wooden houses), 60 years (asphalted areas). The deduced values of the rate of decrease of the dose rate of gamma radiation in the air in the surveyed locations were used to estimate the ecological period of the half-reduction of the effective external dose for rural population living in wooden houses. On average, this period was equal to 50 years. Given the radioactive decay of 137Cs, we can expect that the external dose from Chernobyl 137Cs to the rural population will decrease by approximately 4% per year. Our estimate of the rate of decrease of the external effective dose from 137Cs in the remote period after the Chernobyl accident is in agreement with the estimates that were previously given by other authors for the slow component of decreasing external doses from 137Cs to adults living in rural settlements of the Bryansk region.