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SECTION 10: CHERNOBYL FALLOUT DATA: ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
Table of contents:
2. General Bibliography
3. Hot Particles
4. Chernobyl Plume:
The following section of our website has been translated
by Humus - Progetto. (The Humus Project: The effects of Chernobyl
contamination on the soil.)
and former USSR, Scotland,
RADNET EDITORIAL COMMENTS
U.S.A.: Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New
York, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington
As a preview to the annotated citations pertaining to
Chernobyl-derived fallout, the editor of RADNET offers the following comments
Nuclear safety experts had not anticipated that a nuclear
accident would release this large an inventory of radionuclides.
These nuclides were dispersed further, more erratically,
and in much greater quantities than had been anticipated prior to the accident.
At the time the accident was occurring, and during the weeks
and months that followed, there was a widespread lack of accurate information
about the seriousness and the radiological impact (deposition levels) of
During and after the accident, official information sources
ranged from unreliable (Russian and French government sources) to inaccurate
(IAEA, National Radiological Protection Board, etc.). Political considerations
and partisan prejudice in favor of nuclear energy production combined with
the lack of environmental monitoring information and skewed objective accident
analysis with the result that the impact of the accident was and continues
to be minimized.
This underestimation of the extent of the Chernobyl accident
continues today in most official versions in terms of where and in what
quantity deposition from the accident occurred.
Only a few locations were equipped with sufficient instrumentation
to make accurate real-time nuclide-specific measurements of the passage
of the fallout cloud and its erratic rainfall-associated deposition.
Rainfall events were the fundamental mechanism responsible
for the extremely high deposition levels in some locations, including areas
located thousands of kilometers from the accident site. Dry deposition
played a lesser role in the spread of Chernobyl fallout than in weapons
testing fallout events.
Only a minimum of information has been collected about the
actual levels of the dietary intake of Chernobyl-derived radionuclides
for persons living in areas with high fallout - greater than 1 Ci/km2
The failure to measure accurately the dietary intake of specific
population groups in the most affected areas and the general tendency to
average dose equivalents over large population groups (including estimating
projected deaths as a percentage of hemispheric death rates) are particularly
A reconsideration of the accident ten years later can only
conclude that accurate information is still unavailable about actual deposition
levels over vast areas of the Northern Hemisphere where millions of residents
do not have access to accurate radiological monitoring data (Turkey, Iran,
Iraq, North Africa, etc.).
Even in countries with modest to excellent radiological monitoring
capabilities, accurate information about the impact of the accident was
not available in a timely manner and, in some cases, has never been made
The United States serves as an example of the problem of
freedom of information. While most areas of the United States received
only a minimum of Chernobyl-derived fallout, some locations (See Dibbs,
Maryland) received fallout which exceeded weapons testing deposition. The
radiological surveillance data collected by the EML (Environmental Measurements
Laboratory) and the EPA were either limited to a very small number of locations
or, in the case of the EPA, did not include ground deposition data (Bq/m2)
or accurate air concentrations expressed in µBq/m3 (microbecquerels).
Extensive data collected by the National Reconnaissance Office
pertaining to the Chernobyl accident is not yet available to the general
We welcome your comments on our editorial opinions. We also
solicit additional citations pertaining to Chernobyl fallout.
Articles cited in this section but not annotated were not
present at hand for review.
We will add citations and data to RADNET as they become available.
This section of RADNET combines some editorial content with
the data citations.
|2. CHERNOBYL: GENERAL BIBLIOGRAPHY
|Fusco, Paul and Caris, Magdalena. (2001). Chernobyl
Legacy: Twenty four minutes and zero seconds anti meridian. de.MO,
A chilling and moving photo tour of the legacy of the Chernobyl
The cesium contamination maps show fallout levels ranging
up to 7,400,000 Bq/m2 in a spotty pattern over thousands of
square miles to the north and northeast of Chernobyl, with lesser quantities
of deposition on the European component of the map found later in the text.
The limited written text is poetic, informative, concise
|NOTICE TO THE READER: Levels of contamination cited within the Chernobyl
data base are peak concentrations unless otherwise noted. Ground
deposition activities varied widely in most areas impacted by the Chernobyl
accident: A location receiving, for example, 40,000 Bq/m2 could
be only a few kilometers from another location receiving an order of magnitude
less deposition. Nurmijarvi, Finland, a location with real time data collection
capabilities, recorded the highest air concentrations of any location cited
in RADNET (over thirty Chernobyl-derived nuclides were observed); ground
deposition activities at this location, while elevated, were typical of
many locations receiving heavy rainfall associated fallout. The data cited
for both ground deposition and contamination of abiotic and biotic media
which follow are the highest readings in the survey being cited, unless
ESTIMATED RELEASE OF LONG-LIVED RADIONUCLIDES FROM
THE CHERNOBYL ACCIDENT
Aarkrog, A. (1994). Source terms and inventories
of anthropogenic radionuclides. Riso National Laboratory, Roskilde,
||Total released radioactivity (Curies)
SIZES OF CONTAMINATED TERRITORIES IN THE FORMER
This incomplete source term release will be updated with
a more complete description of the total nuclide inventories released from
the Chernobyl accident if and when the tenth anniversary report of the
Chernobyl accident listing the revised release estimates is received from
the OECD/NEA. The current estimates listed above derive from a world health
organization report in 1989 which may underestimate the actual release
activity during the accident. Many earlier reports contain even larger
underestimations of the actual release during the accident, and, in fact,
an exact source term estimate for all radionuclides released in the Chernobyl
accident may never be possible. For a more detailed analysis of the release
dynamics of the Chernobyl accident and the many mysteries surrounding exactly
what transpired during the accident, see the publications of Alexander
Sich, 1994 etc., which are reviewed in the following pages. It has taken
almost a decade for an accurate analysis of the accident dynamics to emerge
from the official evasions and misinformation which characterized the early
reports on Chernobyl.
(Measured in thousands of curies per square meter)
Aarkrog, A., Tsaturov, Y. and Polikarpov, G.G. (1993).
to environmental radioactive contamination in the former USSR. Riso
National Laboratory, Roskilde, Denmark.
||Sizes of contaminated territories, km2
Aarkrog, A., Angelopoulos, A., Calmet, D., Delfanti, R.,
Florou, H., Permattei, S., Risica, S. and Romero, L. (1993). Radioactivity
in Mediterranean waters: Report of working group II of CEC project MARINA-MED.
Riso National Laboratory, Roskilde, Denmark.
The Chernobyl accident, if contaminated areas outside
the USSR are included, resulted in the deposition of long-lived radionuclides
in excess of 37,000 Bq/m2 (1 Ci/km2) on +/- 200,000
km2 of the world's surface. Areas impacted by iodine-131, ruthenium-103,
tellurium-132, barium-140, and other short-lived isotopes (1/2 T = 1 week
to 1 yr.), along with the longer-lived isotopes, to levels exceeding 37,000
Bq/m2, may have exceeded 1,000,000 km2 in the weeks
after the accident.
The primitive maps reproduced in this publication show
extensive contamination not only in Byelorussia, but also throughout central
Russia. With each passing year, our knowledge of the extent of the deposition
from the Chernobyl accident grows larger as more information is collected
and collated and the parameters of Chernobyl-derived deposition in excess
of one curie per square kilometer are expanded.
An accurate radiometric survey of the hemispheric impact
of the Chernobyl accident would probably reveal significant additional
contamination in locations such as Turkey, Iran, Iraq, North Africa, and
possibly even areas in the Far East and in North America.
The National Reconnaissance Office has extensive additional
radiological surveillance data pertaining to the Chernobyl accident which
is not available to the general public because it is classified.
The USSR contamination estimates were republished by Aarkrog,
et al, 1993, in the above citation from a UNSCEAR publication which was
citing a Russian source (Israel, Y.A., Tsaturov Y.S., et al., 1991).
||0.53 Bq/kg mean value
||0.10 Bq/kg mean value
||4.9 Bq/kg mean value
||2.0 Bq/kg mean value
||3.3 Bq/kg mean value
||0.36 Bq/kg mean value
||14.0 Bq/kg mean value
||3.2 Bq/kg mean value
||164.0 Bq/kg mean value
Aarkrog, A. (1988). The radiological impact of the Chernobyl
debris compared with that from nuclear weapons fallout. J. Environ.
Radioactivity. 6. pg. 151-162.
The Black Sea was more impacted by the Chernobyl accident
than the other Mediterranean sea basins; it was still showing the cumulative
effects of the accident in 1990.
The data was collected by a number of countries adjacent
to the Mediterranean Sea, and is an extensive summary of the mean values,
with a sea-by-sea survey of the major Mediterranean basins.
Andersson, K.G. and Roed, J. (1994). The behavior of Chernobyl
and 106Ru in undisturbed soil: Implications for external radiation.
Environ. Radioactivity. 22. pg. 183-196.
"Transfer factors are strongly influenced by seasonal
and geographical distributions. For example, if 1,000 Bq of 137 per m2
are deposited over a barley field three months before harvest, the concentration
in the mature grain will be 1 Bq 137Cs/kg. If on the other hand
contamination, with the same deposition, occurs one month before harvest,
the mature grain will contain approximately 100 Bq
"The mean concentration in Danish grain in 1962-74 was
7.1 Bq 137Cs/kg. In 1986 the mean level was 3.3 Bq." (pg. 157)
This illustrates the efficiency and uniformity of stratospheric fallout
contamination compared to the erratic distribution patterns of Chernobyl-derived
radiocesium, which did not significantly affect Denmark during the growing
Andersson, K.G. and Roed, J. (2006). Estimation of
doses received in a dry-contaminated residential area in the Bryansk region,
Russia, since the Chernobyl accident. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity,
Volume 85, Issues 2-3, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. pg. 228-240 .
"The URGENT computer model developed at Riso has shown
that as much as 89% of the dose to urban populations came from contamination
on the soil surface in open areas such as gardens and parks." (pg. 183).
Cesium remained strongly bound in the topmost 2 cm of
soil associated with a mineral fraction; ruthenium was associated with
an organic fraction; external exposure is the primary exposure pathway
four years after the initial deposition.
Anspaugh, L.R., Catlin, R.J. and Goldman, M. (1988).
The global impact of the Chernobyl reactor accident. Science. 242.
Apsimon, H.M., Gudiksen, P., Khitrov, L., Rodhe, H. and
Yoshikawa, T. (1988). Lessons from Chernobyl: Modeling the dispersal and
deposition of radionuclides. Environment. 30(5) pg. 17-20.
"By means of an integration of the environmental data,
it is estimated that ~100 petabecquerels of cesium-137 (1PBq = 1015
Bq) were released during and subsequent to the accident." (pg. 1513).
Apsimon, H.M., MacDonald, H.F. and Wilson, J.J.N. (1986).
An initial assessment of the Chernobyl-4 reactor accident release source.
Soc. Radiol. Prot. 6(3) pg. 109-119.
"Localized peaks of wet deposition (in excess of 100 kilobecquerels
per square meter) occurred in parts of Central Scandinavia." (pg. 18).
"Deposition of the most important long-lived nuclide,
did not decrease smoothly with travel distance but was enhanced when rain
or snow interrupted the plume." (pg. 18).
The estimate for plume transport atmospheric height ranged
from 4 km to 10 km. (pg. 19).
Balter, Michael. (December 15, 1995). Radiation biology:
Chernobyl's thyroid cancer toll. Science. 270(5243). pg. 1758.
Long range atmospheric dispersion model, MESOS, was used
to provide a preliminary estimate of the accident source term release;
15-20% of iodine, tellurium and cesium and 1% or less of ruthenium and
other isotopes was the estimated release.
Relatively low airborne concentrations of Chernobyl-derived
radionuclides were observed in comparison to ground deposition levels noted
by other researchers (See EML-460).
This is another in a series of early underestimations
of the severity of the Chernobyl accident and the extent of the erratic
fallout patterns which characterized the plume pulse pathway.
Bedyaev, S.T., et. al. (1991). The Chernobyl source term.
Seminar on Comparative Assessment of the Environmental Impact of Radionuclides
Released During Three Major Nuclear Accidents: Kyshtym, Windscale, Chernobyl.
EVR-13574, CEC. pg. 71-91.
"Geneva--radiation scientists now accept that the large increase in
childhood thyroid cancers, particularly in Belarus and Ukraine, is the
result of radiation released by the Chernobyl nuclear accident. The new
focus is on trying to explain why the cancer epidemic is so virulent."
Beskorovajnyj, V.P., et. al. (1995). Radiation effects
of collapse of structural elements of the sarcophagus. Sarcophagus Safety
'94: Proceedings of an International Conference, Zeleny Mys, Chernobyl,
Ukraine, March 14-18, 1994. OECD/NEA, Paris. pg. 196-202.
Beardsley, T. (1986). US analysis incomplete. Nature.
321. pg. 187.
This publication also includes the following titles:
"Hydrogeological Effects of the Principal Radioactive Waste Burial Sites
Adjacent to the Chernobyl NPP."
"The Current State of the Regulations on the Safety of Unit 4 at the
"Hypothetical Accidents in the Sarcophagus."
"Design of a Shelter - Experience of Planning and Construction in 1986."
"Current State of the Sarcophagus and Safety Problems."
Begichev, S.N., Borovoi, A.A., Burlakova, E.V., A. Y.
Gagarinsky, Demin, V.F., Khodakovsky, I.L. and Khurlev, A.A. (1990). Radioactive
releases due to the Chernobyl accident. In: Fission product transport
processes in reactor accidents. J.T. Rogers (ed.). Hemisphere.
"One of the highest atmospheric air concentrations recorded
outside the Eastern Bloc, was in Stockholm, where a level of 5,130 pCi
(190,000,000 micro becquerels) of 131I per cubic meter of air
was found." (pg. 187).
Beninson, D. and Lindell, B. (1986). Chernobyl reactor
accident: Report of a consultation, 6 May 1986. Report No. ICP/CEH.
World Health Organization, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Borovoi, A.A. and Sich, A.R. (1995).
The Chernobyl accident revisited, part II: The state of the nuclear fuel
located within the Chernobyl sarcophagus. Nuclear Safety. 36 (1).
While this report contains little or no data, it does
have a list of remedial actions and a preliminary review of some precautions
taken by a number of countries affected by the Chernobyl accident. (Fig.
10, pg. 30).
Burkart, W. et. al. (1991). Assessing Chernobyl's radiological
consequences. Nuclear Europe Worldscan. 1(3-4). pg. 27-30.
The second in a series of articles in Nuclear Safety
by A.R. Sich and, in their totality, the best summary of the Chernobyl
accident available in the literature.
"Approximately 135 tonnes of the 190.3-tonne initial core
fuel load (~71%) at Chernobyl Unit 4 melted and flowed into the lower regions
of the reactor building to form various kinds of the now-solidified lava-like
fuel-containing materials (LFCMs) or corium." (pg. 1).
Excellent descriptions and photographs of the sarcophagus
which was built over the ruined reactor after the accident, with a detailed
analysis of the location of the melted and resolidified fuel in the lower
regions of the reactor building.
"Investigations conducted during 1986 to 1989 showed that
previous notions concerning the extent of damage within Unit 4 as a result
of the accident in most cases did not correspond to the actual state of
the destroyed reactor." (pg. 8).
Contents of the sarcophagus are listed as including the
following: "1,270 and 1,350 tonnes of fuel-containing materials (FCMs)
(material containing ~ 10.5% of partially "burned" nuclear fuel), 64,000
m3 of other radioactive material (concrete, building metal,
etc.), approximately 10,000 tonnes of construction metal, and 800 to 1,000
tonnes of contaminated water are located within the sarcophagus." (pg.
"A considerable amount of 137Cs (35%) remains
within the solidified remnants of the core....significantly higher than
that retained at TMI-2 in the molten ceramic lower plenum debris (average
of 3% retained) or in the upper plenum debris (average of 19% retained)."
Buzulukov, Y.P. and Dobrynin, Y.L. (1993). Release
of radionuclides during the Chernobyl accident. In: The Chernobyl Papers.
Merwin, S. E. and Balonov, M.I., (eds.) Research Enterprises, Richland,
WA. 1. pg. 321.
Cambrai, R.S. et. al. (1987). Observations on radioactivity
from the Chernobyl accident. Nuclear Energy. 26. pg 77.
Devell, L. et. al. The Chenobyl reactor accident source
term: Development of a consensus view. CSNI Report in preparation.
Dickerson, M.H. and Sullivan, T.J. (1986). ARAC
response to the Chernobyl reactor accident. (Under U.S. Department
of Energy Contract W-7405-Eng-48). Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory,
Dickman, S. (1988). IAEA's verdict on Chernobyl. Nature.
333. pg. 285.
This report illustrates the lack of centralized facility
in the US for accurate "real-time" analysis of radioactive contamination
and the failure of existing computer models to predict accurately the erratic
ground deposition of Chernobyl fallout patterns.
Deposition levels in Europe were grossly underestimated.
"Detection of BA-140 and Zr-95 in Sweden implied a significant
meltdown." (pg. 12).
"An amount of 9000 pCi/l was estimated as the maximum
expected I-131 concentration in milk for the U.S..." (pg. 13). (No contamination
levels of this magnitude inside the U.S. were noted in the citations reviewed
to date for RADNET.)
Editorial. Anxiety about reactor accident subsides. (May
8, 1986). Nature. 321. pg. 100.
"According to one IAEA official... on the basis of a study
of 30,000 people living in the (Chernobyl) area, no adverse health effects
on the general population had been attributed to the radiation." (pg. 285).
"Although there are still a few hot spots, most of the
area within 10-30 km from the reactor has returned to normal levels of
activity." (pg. 285).
Extraordinary misinformation from one of the most preeminent
scientific journals; this IAEA editorial rhetoric is completely contradicted
by other reports and data.
Eremeev, V.N., Ivanov, L.M., Kirwan, A.D. Jr. and Margolina,
T.M. (1995). Amount of 137Cs and 134Cs radionuclides
in the Black Sea produced by the Chernobyl accident. Journal of Environmental
Radioactivity. 27(1). pg. 49-63.
This news summary is the paradigm of misinformation and
selective interpretation of inadequate data and is an example of the biased
reporting that characterized much of the Chernobyl-related editorial content
of Nature in the first few months after the Chernobyl accident.
This biased editorial reporting contrasts with the many objective scientific
reports and papers which Nature published after the Chernobyl accident.
Gittus, J.H., Hicks, D., Bonell, P.G., Clough, P.N.,
Dunbar, I.H., Egan, M.J., Hall, A.N., Hayns, M.R., Nixon, W., Bulloch,
R.S., Luckhurst, D.P., Maccabee, A.R., Edens, D.J. (1988). The Chernobyl
accident and its consequences. Report No. NOR 4200. United Kingdom
Atomic Energy Authority, London.
Goldman, M. (1987). Recalculating the cost of Chernobyl.
236 pg. 658-659.
Extensive discussion of how the accident happened.
Little specific fallout data.
Gross underestimation of radiological impact of the accident:
inaccurate and overly generalized radiation dispersion maps.
Goldman, M. (1987). Chernobyl: A radiobiological perspective.
238. pg. 622-623.
Global fatal cancers estimated at 39,000, most of them
outside the Soviet Union.
Gudiksen, P.H., Harvey, T.F. and Lange, R. (1989). Chernobyl
source term, atmospheric dispersion and dose estimation. Health Physics.
57(5). pg. 697-706.
Radiocesium release was calculated to be 2.4 million curies
Global fatal cancer ratio assessment of up to 28,000 deaths.
This is one of many fluctuating estimates of deaths resulting
from Chernobyl, none of which will allegedly have a statistically significant
impact on the overall cancer rate.
The New York Times (1995, date unavailable) has
reported a sharp drop in the life expectancy of the Russian population
since the Chernobyl accident. What role Chernobyl played in the drop is
Gudiksen, P.H. and Lange, R. (1986). Atmospheric dispersion
modeling of radioactivity releases from the Chernobyl event. Report No.
UCRL- 95363, Preprint. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore,
Hohenemser, C., Deicher, M., Ernst, A., Hofsass, H., Lindner,
G. and Recknagel, E. (1986). Chernobyl: An early report. Environment.
28(5). pg. 6-43.
This report illustrates the unreliability of computer
models in estimating atmospheric dispersion from a nuclear accident, particularly
in the early stages of an accident with limited data availability.
Neither the calculated nor the measured deposition levels
seem to match data collected by other researchers.
|April 28, 1986
|April 28, 1986
|April 28, 1986
|April 30, 1986
Hotzl, H., Rosner, G. and Winkler, R. (1989). Long-term
behavior of Chernobyl fallout in air and precipitation. J. Environ.
Radioactivity. 10. pg. 157-171.
"In Konstanz the current ground activity of cesium-137
is estimated at 8,000-12,000 Bq/m2, whereas the global weapons-testing
fallout peak in West Germany was 800 Bq/m2 in 1963." (pg. 36).
"During passage of the cloud peak air radionuclide concentrations
reached 100,000 times background levels in Poland and as high as 10,000
times background in Scotland." (One million times background equals 2,000
Bq/m3.) (pg. 35).
Institut de Protection et de Surete Nucleaire. (1986.)
Tchernobyl accident. Report No. IPSN 2/86, rev. 3. Institut de Protection
et de Surete Nucleaire, Fontenay-aux-Roses.
"Ground level air concentrations... of 137Cs
in autumn 1986 were 100 times fallout values in 1985, and decreased by
the end of 1987 to only 30 times the weapon fallout level. This very slow
rate of decrease was not expected." (pg. 158).
|April 26-May 6
||Total activity released per family
||100%: 1x 108 Ci
|April 26-May 6
||20%: 8.4 x 106
|April 26-May 6
||15%: 1.2 x 106
|April 26-May 6
||15%: 1.0 x 107
|April 26-May 6
||Rutheniums and Rhodiums
||4%: 1.6 x 107
|April 26-May 6
||3%: 1.2 x 107
|April 26-May 6
||3%: 3.9 x 106
|April 26-May 6
|3%: 2.3 x 104
||3%: 2.3 x 106
International Atomic Energy Agency. (1986). The accident
at Chernobyl nuclear power plant and its consequences. Information
compiled for the IAEA expert's meeting August 25-26, 1986, Vienna, Austria,
USSR State Committee on the Utilization of Atomic Energy. (IAEA translation).
These preliminary source term estimates are for a core
inventory with a cooling time of one hour. Total released activity is estimated
at 1.58 x 108 Ci (158,000,000 Ci) including the noble gases.
"The Soviets distinguish between 4 phases in the main
release which lasted 9 days." (pg.71).
Phase One: April 26: Mechanical dispersion of slightly
enriched fuel (2.2 x 107 Ci).
Phase Two: April 27-May 1: Falling release level; diminishing
graphite fire (2.2 x 107 Ci).
Phase Three: May 2-5: The core heats to a temperature
exceeding 2000 degrees centigrade. Reactions occur between 2O
and graphite, fission product aerosols combine with graphite particles
(2.7 x 107 Ci).
Phase Four: May 5-6: Rapid falloff in fission product
emission due to halting of the fission process. (1 x 105 Ci).
"Discharge of radioactive products into the atmosphere
continued through the end of August at the rate of a few curies per day."
This revised early report still underestimates the source
term release but is more accurate and comprehensive than the other reports
presented at the IAEA conference at Vienna on August 25-29, 1986.
International Atomic Energy Agency. (1991). The International
Chernobyl Project - Assessment of radiological consequences and evaluation
of protective measures. Report by an International Advisory Committee.
This report is full of errors, incorrect descriptions
of how the accident happened and incomplete or inaccurate information about
the impact of the accident.
A major blow to the credibility of the International Atomic
Energy Agency and a graphic illustration of the unavailablility of accurate
information about the Chernobyl accident in the months after it occurred;
much of the contents of this report can no longer be relied on to provide
accurate information about the Chernobyl accident.
International Atomic Energy Agency. (1991). The
International Chernobyl Project, surface contamination maps. IAEA,
International Atomic Energy Agency. (1991). The
International Chernobyl Project, technical report. IAEA, Vienna.
Ilyin, L.A. and Pavlovskij, A.O. (1987). Radiological
consequences of the Chernobyl accident in the Soviet Union and measures
taken to mitigate their impact. IAEA Bulletin 4.
International Nuclear Safety Advisory Group. (1986).
summary report on the post-accident review meeting on the Chernobyl accident
(INSAG report to International Atomic Energy Agency general conference,
Vienna, Austria, August 1986). Vienna. IAEA translation.
Jaworowski, Z. and Kownacka L. (1988). Tropospheric and
stratospheric distributions of radioactive iodine and cesium after the
Chernobyl accident. J. Environ. Radioact. 6. pg. 145-150.
This report includes the core inventory of radionuclides
provided by Soviet authorities to the International Atomic Energy Agency
at this conference and reprinted in RADNET under Warman, E.A. (1987) in
The core inventory of plutonium-239 at Chernobyl at the
time of the accident is listed as 23,000 curies. For comparison with plutonium
inventories at both U.S. nuclear power facilities and at U.S. DOE plutonium
production facilities, RADNET readers are urged to refer to RADNET, Section
11: Anthropogenic Radioactivity: Major Plume Source Points: U.S.
Military Source Points, Plutonium the first 50 years, and the
annotations which follow this citation.
Kirchner, G. and Noack, C.C. (1988). Core history and
nuclide inventory of the Chernobyl core at the time of the accident. Nuclear
Safety, 29(1). pg. 1-5.
Komarov, V.I. (1990). Radioactive contamination and decontamination
in the 30 km zone surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Report
No. IAEA-SM-306/124. In: Environmental contamination following
a major nuclear accident, Vol. 2. Report No. STI/PUB/825. International
Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna.
"Any calculation of the radionuclide inventory of the
Chernobyl core at the time of the accident... requires the specification
of burnup and detailed irradiation history of the reactor core prior to
the accident - data not accessible as yet." (pg. 1).
The reactor vessel inventory of nuclides in this report
is listed in Table 2 and is the calculated concentrations of selected nuclides
per ton of initial heavy metal at the time of the accident. A note at the
bottom of the table lists fuel loading of the Chernobyl core at 192 tons.
The calculated concentration of 137Cs is listed
as 1.6 x 1015 Bq/ton; 239Pu is calculated at 4.7
x 1012 Bq/ton; 28 other nuclide concentrations are calculated
in this table. (pg. 4).
Krey, P.W. (1986). International data exchange and
cooperative research. In: Environmental Measurements Laboratory: A compendium
of the environmental measurements laboratory's research projects related
to the Chernobyl nuclear accident: October 1, 1986. Report No. EML-460.
U.S. Department of Energy, New York, NY. pg. 259-264.
Chernobyl fallout conclusions (pg. 259-260):
Kryshev, I.I. (1995). Radioactive contamination of aquatic
ecosystems following the Chernobyl accident. J. Environ. Radioact.
"The dose and subsequent health risk to the population
of Western Europe are minimal."
"Although fallout levels in Russia and Eastern Europe
are not now known, circumstances would have been much worse had there been
rain immediately following the accident."
"There was evidence of several pulses of Chernobyl fallout
in Western Europe."
"The relative amount of gaseous 131I was large
and variable... deposited 131I was distilled out of the soil
back into the atmosphere during daylight hours."
Likhtarev, L.A. et. al. (1989). Radioactive contamination
of water ecosystems and sources of drinking water. Medical Aspects of
the Chernobyl Accident. TECDOC 516. IAEA, Vienna.
Morrey, M., Brown, J., Williams, J.A., Crick, M.J.,
Simmonds, J.R. and Hill, M.D. (1987). A preliminary assessment of the
radiological impact of the Chernobyl reactor accident on the population
of the European community. (Report from Health and Safety Directorate
No. V/E/1 funded under CEC contract number 86 398). Commission of the European
Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The use of Chernobyl
fallout data to test model predictions of the transfer of 131I
and 137Cs from the atmosphere through agricultural food chains.
Report CONF-910434-7. F. O. Hoffman Oak Ridge National Laboratory,
17,000 Bq/l = 1,020,000 pCi/liter.
This report contains detailed media specific Chernobyl-derived
activity levels for many European countries as well as an interesting evaluation
of the availability of environmental monitoring data at the time of this
study (See Table B-2, pg. 40).
This report comes in two sections. Section one contains
dose assessments. Section two contains the appendices with all the environmental
monitoring data, as well as additional dose estimates. Section two also
contains information about countermeasures taken in each country.
OECD. (1987). The radiological impact of the Chernobyl
accident in OECD countries. Organization for Economic Cooperation and
OECD. (1989). The influence of seasonal conditions on
the radiological consequences of a nuclear accident. Proceedings of
an NEA workshop, Paris, September 1988. OECD/NEA, Paris.
This is a lengthy and detailed review of the Chernobyl
accident and its impact throughout the northern hemisphere. At first glance
it would seem to be the definitive summary of the radiological impact of
the Chernobyl accident, particularly in view of the polychrome radiometric
maps which appear to document the fallout patterns in a number of countries
(not all of the maps are in color, but the ones that are look very impressive).
A close comparison of the maps with many of the papers and the data they
contain cited in RADNET illustrate the continued underreporting of the
actual radiological impact of the Chernobyl accident.
The gross underestimation of fallout in the United Kingdom,
much of which was initially estimated by unreliable surface fallout measurements,
is a paradigm for how inaccurate even the most professional analysis of
a nuclear accident can be.
Data within many articles annotated in this website indicate
that actual fallout levels are neither as low as generally indicated in
this publication, nor as uniform as shown on many of the fallout maps.
OECD, NRC and IAEA. (May 1995). Sarcophagus safety
'94 the state of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Unit 4. 66-95-10-1.
ISBN 92-64-14437-4. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development,
OECD. (November 1995). Chernobyl
ten years on: Radiological and health impact: An assessment by the NEA
Committee on Radiation Protection and Public Health. Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris.
"Nine years after the Chernobyl disaster, scientific data for remedial
and recovery programmes still need to be assembled and evaluated. Many
questions must be addressed before the site can be radiologically stabilized
and environmental remediations can be found. Can the nuclear and radiation
safety conditions of the site be assured? What is the state of integrity
of the 'sarcophagus'? What is the nature and degree of the radioactive
This report is available on the Internet at URL: http://www.nea.fr/html/rp/chernobyl/chernobyl.html
This report is an update on the Chernobyl accident with a particular
emphasis on the radiological and health impact; the bibliography of this
report cites a large number of research projects pertaining to this subject
and is probably the largest single compilation of health physics related
data-derived from the Chernobyl accident available in one location.
This report also includes the accident source term release as well as
interesting maps denoting the "main spots" of 137Cs contamination
within the former Soviet Union. It is interesting to note that "main spots"
are defined as those areas with a ground deposition greater than 555,000
becquerels/m2 (555 kBq/m2)(Fig. 5). The report notes
that large areas of Ukraine and Belarus had ground deposition of 137Cs
over 40,000 becquerels/m2
"The most highly contaminated area was the 30-km zone surrounding the
reactor where 137Cs ground depositions generally exceeded 1,500
kBq/m2 ... the ground depositions of 137Cs in the
most highly contaminated areas ... (The Bryansk-Belarus spot, centered
200 km to the North-northeast of the reactor) ... reached 5,000 kBq/m2
" (5 million Bq/m2 ).
Minimal information is given about contamination outside the former
Figure 6 gives a graphic illustration of satellite-derived data of the
areas covered by the main body of the radioactive cloud on various days
during the release, as provided by the ARAC (Atmospheric Release Advisory
Capability), Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, Livermore, CA. These satellite-derived
photographs provide an excellent overview of contamination dissemination
but are not helpful in accurately describing actual ground deposition levels.
The photographs in this report first appeared in a 1986 ARAC report: see
Dickerson (1986) also in this section of RADNET.
The remainder of this report is primarily concerned with:
(III) reactions of national authorities
(IV) dose estimates
(V) health impact
(VI) agricultural and environmental impacts (containing the above-mentioned
(VII) potential residual risks
(VIII) lessons learned
|Weapons testing fallout vs. Chernobyl fallout vs.
US reactor accident:
|Maximum annual weapons testing derived 137Cs
deposition: 1,000 Bq/m2
(See Riso National Laboratory Cumulative Fallout Record: RAD
|OECD-NEA definition of "main" 137Cs Chernobyl deposition:
(See above citation)
|FDA-FEMA Emergency Action Guideline for radiocesium
ground deposition following a nuclear reactor accident in the United States:
90 microcuries radiocesium/m2 = 3,308,323 Bq/m2
(begin destroying rather than storing contaminated food: RAD
6: 2-7 and RAD 12: 3)
OECD. (1996). The Chernobyl reactor accident source
term. Report No. OCDE/GD(96)12. Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development, Paris.
Parmentier, N. and Nenot, J-C. (1989). Radiation damage
aspects of the Chernobyl accident. Atmospheric Environment. 23.
The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) is in the process
of issuing an updated report on the Chernobyl accident and its radiological
and health impact which will be issued on the occasion of the tenth anniversary
of the accident. This OECD report on the reactor accident source term is
one component of the larger report. It summarizes the research pertaining
to the inventory of reactor nuclides and the percentage of these inventories
released to the environment during the accident.
This report contains an extensive bibliography which includes
many publications pertaining to the reactor vessel inventories and source
term releases, only a few of which are cited in RADNET.
Reactor inventories for 137Cs are estimated
at between 2.2 x 1017 Bq and 2.9 x 1017 Bq; seven
different reactor inventory estimates are included in this report.
The percentage of the reactor inventory of cesium-137
estimated to have been released (source term release) is 33 + 10, indicating
that, out of 6.95 x 106 to 7.84 x 106 curies of radiocesium,
approximately 40% was released to the environment.
Powers, D.A., Kress, T.S. and Jankowski, M.W. (1987).
The Chernobyl source term. Nuclear Safety. 28(1). pg. 10-28.
Rezzoug, S. Michel, H., Fernex, F., Barci-Funel, G., and
Barci, V. (2006) Evaluation of 137Cs fallout from the Chernobyl accident
in a forest soil and its impact on Alpine Lake sediments, Mercantour Massif,
S.E. France. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, Volume 85, Issues
2-3, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. pg. 369-379 .
"The prolonged second stage of the release is not... well
understood. Physical and chemical processes not likely to develop during
LWR accidents may be responsible for the release during this stage of the
accident." (pg. 27).
Another of the early misinterpretations of the extent
of the Chernobyl source term release.
Scheid, W., et. al. (1993). Chromosome aberrations
in human lymphocytes apparently induced by Chernobyl fallout. ???? 64(5).
Scheid, W., Weber, J. and Traut, H. (1993). Chromosome
aberrations induced in the lymphocytes of pilots and stewardesses. Naturwissenschaften.
80. pg. 528-530.
Shcherbak, Y. (April 1996). Ten years of the Chernobyl
era. Scientific American.
Sich, A.R. (1994). Chernobyl accident management actions.
Sich, A.R. (1994). The Chernobyl accident revisited:
Source term analysis and reconstruction of events during the active phase.
(Ph.D. Thesis). Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
The first in an important series of articles exploring
what actually occurred during the release phase of the Chernobyl accident
(April 26 through May 5).
Startling information about the contradictions, misrepresentations
and ineffectiveness of the accident management actions during and after
The first clear analysis of the ineffectiveness of helicopter
dropped materials and the flooding of the core with liquid (?) nitrogen
in halting the accident.
Excellent photographs and graphics give stark emphasis
to the bizarre events which transpired during the accident.
"71% of the initial 190.3 ton UO2 fuel load
was exposed to a high temperature oxidizing environment." (pg. 1).
A frightening indictment of the inaccuracy of Soviet,
IAEA and other early descriptions of the Chernobyl accident and an illustration
of how long it can take to obtain accurate information about a serious
nuclear accident and how it occurred.
Mandatory reading for anyone trying to understand what
really happened at Chernobyl, this is the first in a series of three articles
by Sich in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory publication Nuclear Safety.
Sich, A.R. (1995). The Chernobyl accident revisited,
part II: The state of the nuclear fuel located within the Chernobyl sarcophagus
phase. Nuclear Safety. 36(1). pg. 1-32.
Sich, A.R. (1996). The Chernobyl accident revisited, part
III: Chernobyl source term release dynamics and reconstruction of events
during the active phase. Nuclear Safety. 36(2). pg. 195-217.
See Borovoi and Sich (1995) above, for a review of this
Sich, A.R. (1996). The Chernobyl active phase: Why the
"official view" is wrong. Nuclear Engineering International. 40(501).
Appraisal of (inaccurate) Soviet release data is followed
by an evaluation of new release data and a consideration of the active
phase release dynamics.
The source term release estimate (lower-bound activity
releases for eight volatile isotopes) is followed by a reconstruction of
events during the active phase and serves as a summary of Sich's accident
release dynamic studies. Also see Sich (1996) Nuclear Engineering International
for our RADNET citation summarizing Sich's accident analysis.
Sich makes the following general observations at the beginning
of this article:
"....iodine, cesium, and (to some extent) tellurium are
considered to be the most important fission products in the early
stages of a severe accident because they exhibit similar high volatility's
and diffusion properties." (pg. 195).
"The less-volatile species may be divided broadly into
three groups: the semivolatiles (tellurium and antimony), the low volatiles
(strontium, barium, and europium), and the refractories (molybdenum, ruthenium,
zirconium, cerium, neptunium, etc.)." (pg. 195).
"What complicates time-dependent source term release analyses
(especially for the case of Chernobyl's 10-day active phase) is that the
longer lived fission products continue to decay until a stable product
is formed. The physical and chemical states of the intermediate species
in a given decay chain are important because their volatilities span the
entire range noted previouisly." (pg. 196).
Sich gives the release estimate for the eight most significant
volatile isotopes as 92 MCi. "...substantially more than a total release
of 50 MCi (excluding noble gases) claimed by the Soviets in Vienna in August
1986....if the contributions of all other longer lived radioisotopes are
added, the total release may approach 150 MCi. In fact, if Np-239 (half-life
2.355 d) is considered and if it was released at the 3.2% fraction claimed
by the Soviets, its contribution to the releases over the period of the
active phase alone could reach 30 Mci." (pg. 208).
Sich, A.R. (1996). Through the looking glass. Nuclear
Engineering International. 41(501). pg. 26-27.
Detailed analysis of the release dynamics of the accident;
as the graphite component of the core (corium) burned, it allowed the remaining
fuel to eat away the lower biological shield (LBS) and flow into the lower
regions of the reactor building. (pg. 23).
After nine days, the corium quickly solidified and the
accident stopped without direct human intervention (helicopter dropped
materials were ineffective). The decay heat dropped due to the uptake of
surrounding materials (the stainless steel and serpentine components of
the LBS) combined with rapid spreading of the melted fuel up to 40 m from
the epicenter of the melted corium. (pg. 23).
"A reconvergence of volatile and non-volatile behavior
and a large release around 7.5-8.5 days may indicate when the LBS melted
through." (pg. 25).
The solidified, ceramic-like corium indicates this rapid
cooling once the corium penetrated the lower biological shield and flowed
into the lower regions of the reactor building.
65% of the radiocesium was released; the Soviet report
of a 13% release was as unreliable as other early reports about the accident.
Special issue: International Chernobyl Project. (1992).
Environ. Radioactivity. 17(2-3).
"He found research in the Zone to be poorly organized,
encumbered with ideology, hampered by layer upon layer of bureaucracy and
conducted in an atmosphere of conflict and mutual suspicion. " (pg. 26).
"The manner in which some international organizations
have dealt with the accident over the past ten years has strengthened in
me the conviction that, sadly, scientific inquiry and politics are inextricably
linked..." (pg. 26).
United Nations. (August 29, 2003). Optimizing the international
effort to study, mitigate and minimize the consequences of the Chernobyl
disaster: Report of the Secretary-General. A/58/332. United Nations
General Assembly. http://www.chernobyl.info/files/doc/UNRepOptimizingIntEff.pdf.
A number of articles from this special issue are cited
in this section of RADNET, particularly under the subheading "Russia
and former USSR."
U. S. Department Of Energy. (1987). Health and environmental
consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant accident. Report
No. DOE/ER-0332. Committee on the Assessment of Health Consequences in
Exposed Populations, U. S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (1987). Report
on the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station. Report No.
NUREG-1250, Rev. 1. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.
A compendium of the misinformation and underestimations
within many of the early reports on the Chernobyl accident, this report
includes the initial inaccurate source term release activities, a lack
of media specific data, and summaries and conclusions based upon the inaccurate
computer models of the time.
The generalized conclusions about the health consequences
of the Chernobyl accident in this and many other reports are simply speculation
without a firm basis in an understanding of the radiological impact of
the accident on specific population groups most affected by the erratic
fallout patterns of the Chernobyl disaster.
Volchok, H.L. and Chieco, N. (1986). Environmental
Measurements Laboratory: A compendium of the Environmental Measurements
Laboratory's research projects related to the Chernobyl nuclear accident:
Environmental report October 1, 1986. Report No. EML-460. Department
of Energy, New York, NY.
This report contains very little media specific data on
Chernobyl fallout. Radionuclide deposition for Chester, NJ (5/6/86-6/2/86)
is reported as (pCi/m2): 131I: 2,380; 137Cs:
650; 134Cs: 290; 103Ru 720. (pg. 8-3).
A detailed description of how the accident happened and
of the design and construction of the reactor.
Warman, E.A. (1987). Soviet and far-field radiation
measurements and an inferred source term from Chernobyl. Report No.
TP87-13. Stone and Webster Engineering Corp, Boston, MA.
This is a general summary of Chernobyl fallout data in
the United States and in Sweden, with thirteen separate articles, the most
important of which are cited in this website. See especially Hardy, et.
al. (1986) in this Volume, Section 4, Sweden and Krey (1986) in this section.
A bizarre documentation of the impact of the Chernobyl
One of the earliest reports to question the inaccurate
source term reported by the Soviets.
"Approximately 30-60% of the available radiocesium and
at least 40-60% of the available radioiodine appear to have been released
to the atmosphere from the accident." (pg. 1).
"The radionuclide compositions observed outside the Soviet
Union differ substantially from the Soviet source-term estimate, e.g.,
much more radioiodine and less nonvolatile radionuclides were observed
in Europe than were estimated to have been released by the Soviets." (pg.
This is the first report to identify a second phase in
the accident characterized by increased release of 132Te,
Warman's revision of the inaccurate Soviet source term
release estimates were based upon a number of "far field" measurements
taken after the accident in Finland (2), West Germany, Hungary and Greece,
and summarized in chart form at the end of this report. Close inspection
of isotopic ratios present in ground depositions and air samples led Warman
to question, correctly, as it turned out, the inaccurate Soviet data.
This is one of the few reports to include a core inventory
of radionuclides at Chernobyl at the time of the accident (Taken by Warman
from the International Safety Advisory Group (1986) report listed above):
Core Inventory of Radionuclides
||Inventory @ April 26
||3.3 x 1016
||7.3 x 1018
||3.1 x 1018
||3.3 x 1018
||1.9 x 1017
||1.1 x 104
||2.9 x 1017
||7.3 x 1019
||4.9 x 1018
||5.0 x 1018
||2.0 x 1018
||5.3 x 1018
||5.6 x 1018
||3.2 x 1018
||2.3 x 1018
||1.02 x 104
||2.0 x 1017
||3.6 x 1018
||3.15 x 104
||1.0 x 1015
||8.9 x 106
||8.5 x 1014
||2.4 x 106
||1.2 x 1015
||1.7 x 1017
||2.5 x 1016
Webb, G.A.M., Simmonds, J.R. and Wilkins, B.T. (1986).
Radiation levels in Eastern Europe. Nature. 321. pg. 821-822.
Williams, D. (1994). Chernobyl, eight years on. Nature.
371. pg. 556.
Wirth, E., van Egmond, N.D. and Suess, M.J. (1986).
of radiation dose commitment in Europe due to the Chernobyl accident: Report
on a WHO meeting: Bilthoven, 25-27 June 1986. Report No. ISH-HEFT 108.
Institut fur Strahlenhygiene des Bundesgesundheitsamtes, Munchen.
World Health Organization. Health hazards from radiocesium
following the Chernobyl nuclear accident: Report on a WHO meeting. Environmental
Cumulative deposition of iodine-131 in soil to May 8:
Byelorussia: 1,000,000 Bq/m2 +
S. Germany: 130,000 Bq/m2 pv
Austria: 150,000 Bq/m2 pv
This report uses two computer models (MESOS and GRID)
for calculating deposition activity levels. These models appear to grossly
underestimate Chernobyl fallout data in areas where comprehensive radiometric
surveys are available.
World Health Organization. (September 8, 1986). Working
group on assessment of radiation dose commitment in Europe due to the Chernobyl
accident: Bilthoven, 25-27 June 1986. Report No. ICP/COR 129(s) Rev
1. 5134V. World Health Organization, Copenhagen, Denmark.
"Six... pathways are possible by which exposure may occur
following a nuclear accident..." (pg. 4).
Deposition on skin and clothing
Absorption from skin
"... root uptake of cesium will be substantially higher
for acid soils with a low clay and a high organic matter content and may
continue for many years in some soil conditions.... the external and internal
doses will be roughly the same for the fifty year period after the accident."
"Direct exposure from deposited radionuclides together
with the ingestion pathway was estimated to be three orders of magnitude
greater than that from inhalation or exposure to airborne radionuclides
(cloud shine)." (pg. 23).
||+/- 1,000,000 Bq/m2
||+/- 140,000 Bq/m2
WHO Regional Office for Europe. (1989). Health hazards
from radiocesium following the Chernobyl nuclear accident: Report on a
WHO working group. J. Environ. Radioactivity. 10(3). pg. 257-296.
Large scale computerized dispersion models (MESOS and
GRID) were used to reconstruct deposition patterns over Europe; these isolated
areas of very high local deposition were located in the Ukraine, Central
Scandinavia and Central Europe.
"Exposure of the population occurs through three main
pathways: inhalation of airborne material, external irradiation from material
deposited on the ground and ingestion of contaminated foodstuff." (pg.
This publication contains no media specific data on the
Chernobyl-derived radioactive fallout. It is a general survey of the pathways,
radiological impact and risk assessment of radiocesium.
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