Post-Chornobyl thyroid cancers in Ukraine. Report 1: estimation of thyroid doses

I Likhtarov, L Kovgan, S Vavilov, M Chepurny, A Bouville, N Luckyanov, P Jacob, P Voillequé, G Voigt
Radiation Research 2005, 163 (2): 125-36
About 1.8 EBq of 131I was released into the atmosphere during the Chornobyl accident that occurred in Ukraine on April 26, 1986. More than 10% of this activity was deposited on the territory of Ukraine. Beginning 4-5 years after the accident, an increase in the incidence of thyroid cancer among children, believed to be caused in part by exposure to 131I, has been observed in different regions of Ukraine. A three-level system of thyroid dose estimation was developed for the reconstruction of thyroid doses from 131I for the entire population of Ukrainian children aged 1 to 18 at the time of accident: (1) At the first level, individual doses were estimated for the approximately 99,000 children and adolescents with direct measurements of radioactivity in the thyroid (so-called direct thyroid measurements) performed in May-June of 1986; (2) at the second level, group doses by year of age and by gender were estimated for the population of 748 localities (with 208,400 children aged 1-18 in 1986) where direct thyroid measurements of good quality were performed on some of the residents; and (3) at the third level, group doses by age and by gender were estimated for the population of the localities where no thyroid measurements were made in 1986. The third-level doses were then aggregated over the population of each oblast. Data, models and procedures required for each level of thyroid dose estimation are described in the paper. At the first level, individual doses were found to range up to 27,000 mGy, with geometric and arithmetic means of 100 and 300 mGy, respectively. At the second level, group doses were found to be highest for the younger children (aged 1 to 4 years); doses for the older children (aged 16 to 18 years) were 3.5 times smaller. At the third level, average population-weighted doses were found to exceed 35 mGy in the five northern oblasts closer to the Chornobyl reactor site; to be in the 14- to 34-mGy range in seven other oblasts, Kyiv city and Crimea; and to be less than 13 mGy in all other oblasts.

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