Assessing internal contamination after a radiological dispersion device event using a 2x2-inch sodium-iodide detector

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Dewji, Shaheen Azim
Hertel, Nolan E.
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The detonation of a radiological dispersion device (RDD) may result in a situation where many individuals are exposed to contamination due to the inhalation of radioactive materials. Assessments of contamination may need to be performed by emergency response personnel in order to triage the potentially exposed public. The feasibility of using readily available standard 2x2-inch sodium-iodide detectors to determine the committed effective dose to a patient following the inhalation of a radionuclide has been investigated. The 2x2-NaI(Tl) detector was modeled using the Monte Carlo simulation code, MCNP-5, and was validated via a series of experimental benchmark measurements using a polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) slab phantom. Such validation was essential in reproducing an accurate detector response. Upon verification of the detector model, six anthropomorphic phantoms, based on the MIRD-V phantoms, were modeled with nuclides distributed to simulate inhaled contamination. The nuclides assessed included Am-241, Co-60, Cs-137, I-131, and Ir-192. Detectors were placed at four positions on the phantoms: anterior right torso, posterior right torso, anterior neck, and lateral left thigh. The detected count-rate varied with respect to detector position, and the optimal detector location was determined on the body. The triage threshold for contamination was set at an action level of 250-mSv of intake. Time dependent biokinetic modeling was employed to determine the source distribution and activity in the body as a function of post-inhalation time. The detector response was determined as a function of count-rate per becquerel of activity at initial intake. This was converted to count-rate per 250-mSv intake for triage use by first responders operating the detector to facilitate triage decisions of contamination level. A set of procedure sheets for use by first responders was compiled for each of the phantoms and nuclides investigated.
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