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Reconstruction of doses for Chernobyl liquidators.

Cardis E; Krjuchkov VP; Anspaugh L; Bouville A; Chumak VV; Drozdovich V; Gavrilin Y; Golovanov I; Hubert P; Illychev S; Ivanov VK; Kesminiene A; Kurtinaitis J; Maceika E; Malakhova IV; Mirhaidarov AK; Pitkevitch VA; Stengrevics A; Tekkel M; Tenet V; Tsykalo A
Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, R01-CCR-015763, 2003 Mar; :1-147
Case-control studies of leukaemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and of thyroid cancer have been carried out, nested within the cohorts of Chernobyl liquidators, the persons who were involved in the clean-up of the Chernobyl accident in 1986 and 1987 in the area around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, under a contract from the European Commission. The leukemia and NHL study included 70 cases and 304 matched controls, while the study of thyroid cancer included 73 cases and 309 matched controls. The majority of liquidators in the studies were exposed predominantly to whole body radiation (from external sources and intake of 137Cs), although substantial dose to the thyroid from iodine isotopes could be received by liquidators who worked in May-June 1986 and who resided in contaminated territories of Belarus. The main objective of the current project was to develop, test and implement a detailed method for individual dose reconstruction for the subjects in these epidemiological studies. Two different approaches were considered and tested. The method adopted, RADRUE (Radiation Dose Estimation with Uncertainty Estimates), a variant of an analytical dose reconstruction method previously derived for professional radiation workers of the Chernobyl power plant, appears to work well. It is based on detailed time and motion studies, coupled with the use of very comprehensive databases of radiological data. The development of this method has involved very extensive work to: 1. locate, collate and evaluate very large databases of gamma background measurements made by various organizations at different times on the industrial site and throughout the 30 and 70 km areas around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant; 2. bring together experts knowledgeable about working conditions in different groups of liquidators and formalize and compile their knowledge into an integrated database; 3. develop an integrated software program that allows the calculation of doses and associated uncertainties from a subject's work history; 4. carefully reconstruct itineraries of the study subjects using the information provided in the very detailed study questionnaires. Extensive validation of the work has been carried out.
Case-studies; Cancer; Nuclear-power-plants; Radiation-exposure; Occupational-exposure; Epidemiology; Radiation-hazards; Radiation-levels; Questionnaires; Exposure-assessment
Publication Date
Document Type
Final Grant Report
Funding Amount
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Research Tools and Approaches: Exposure Assessment Methods
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division