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Bounding uncertainties around the conceptual representation of species in radiological assessment in the context of routine atmospheric release

Abstract : Wildlife protection has become of regulatory interest since the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) developed an approach to assess the level of radiological protection specifically for animals and plants. For the purpose of demonstrating compliance with regulation to protect the environment against routine authorized discharges from nuclear facilities, the wide variety of biota inhabiting an ecosystem needs to be condensed to a limited set of representative organisms, as proposed by the ICRP with a set of reference animals and plants which can be considered representative of many other species. It is now recommended in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safety Standards, and internationally accepted, that the use of such a limited number of organisms to represent a pool of species is adequate for radiation protection purposes, particularly in planned exposure situations. Adding site-specific species to that set of surrogate species can respond to various interests, such as ensuring a site-specific context to the assessment that addresses stakeholder interests and can aid in stakeholder consultation and risk communication. Moreover, there is a need to question whether the use of the set of surrogate organisms is conservative enough to cover a wider range of biodiversity. Previous studies partially answered this question and this paper adds a range of test cases. A selection of hypothetical representations of possible site-specific species are assessed on the basis of possible variations in size (mass) and occupancy habits. Dose rates are evaluated to determine the greatest difference between hypothetical organisms and those for reference organisms, considering radionuclides potentially discharged in atmospheric routine release from different nuclear facilities. Differences observed in the results between hypothetical and reference organisms were less than one order of magnitude in all cases, the difference being dependent on the radionuclides considered. These findings do not preclude the inclusion of site-specific species in environmental radiological assessments if it is considered necessary, but they provide reassurance that using reference organisms for radiological impact assessments in the case of routine atmospheric discharges is sufficient.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, June 21, 2022 - 10:00:07 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 23, 2022 - 3:31:41 AM
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Benoit Charrasse, Juan Carlos Mora, Tracey Anderson, Yuri Bonchuk, Diego Telleria. Bounding uncertainties around the conceptual representation of species in radiological assessment in the context of routine atmospheric release. Journal of Radiological Protection, IOP Publishing, 2022, 42, pp.020506. ⟨10.1088/1361-6498/ac5dd1⟩. ⟨cea-03701267⟩



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