Best practices for predictions of radionuclide activity concentrations and total absorbed dose rates to freshwater organisms exposed to uranium mining/milling

Goulet, RR, Newsome, L ORCID:, Vandenhove, H ORCID:, Keum, D-K, Horyna, J, Kamboj, S, Brown, J ORCID:, Johansen, MP, Twining, J, Wood, M ORCID:, Černe, M, Beaugelin-Seiller, K and Beresford, NA 2022, 'Best practices for predictions of radionuclide activity concentrations and total absorbed dose rates to freshwater organisms exposed to uranium mining/milling' , Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 244 , p. 106826.

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Predictions of radionuclide dose rates to freshwater organisms can be used to evaluate the radiological environmental impacts of releases from uranium mining and milling projects. These predictions help inform decisions on the implementation of mitigation measures. The objective of this study was to identify how dose rate modelling could be improved to reduce uncertainty in predictions to non-human biota. For this purpose, we modelled the activity concentrations of 210Pb, 210Po, 226Ra, 230Th, and 238U downstream of uranium mines and mills in northern Saskatchewan, Canada, together with associated weighted absorbed dose rates for a freshwater food chain using measured activity concentrations in water and sediments. Differences in predictions of radionuclide activity concentrations occurred mainly from the different default partition coefficient and concentration ratio values from one model to another and including all or only some 238U decay daughters in the dose rate assessments. Consequently, we recommend a standardized best-practice approach to calculate weighted absorbed dose rates to freshwater biota whether a facility is at the planning, operating or decommissioned stage. At the initial planning stage, the best-practice approach recommend using conservative site-specific baseline activity concentrations in water, sediments and organisms and predict conservative incremental activity concentrations in these media by selecting concentration ratios based on species similarity and similar water quality conditions to reduce the uncertainty in dose rate calculations. At the operating and decommissioned stages, the best-practice approach recommends relying on measured activity concentrations in water, sediment, fish tissue and whole-body of small organisms to further reduce uncertainty in dose rate estimates. This approach would allow for more realistic but still conservative dose assessments when evaluating impacts from uranium mining projects and making decision on adequate controls of releases.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** Article version: VoR ** From Elsevier via Jisc Publications Router ** Licence for VoR version of this article starting on 01-02-2022: **Journal IDs: issn 0265931X **History: issued 30-04-2022; published_online 05-02-2022; accepted 21-01-2022
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0265-931X
Related URLs:
SWORD Depositor: Publications Router
Depositing User: Publications Router
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2022 10:33
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 10:17

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