Assessing doses to terrestrial wildlife at a radioactive waste disposal site: Inter-comparison of modelling approaches

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Radiological doses to terrestrial wildlife were examined in this model inter-comparison study that emphasised factors causing variability in dose estimation. The study participants used varying modelling approaches and information sources to estimate dose rates and tissue concentrations for a range of biota types exposed to soil contamination at a shallow radionuclide waste burial site in Australia. Results indicated that the dominant factor causing variation in dose rate estimates was the soil-to-organism transfer of radionuclides that included variation in transfer parameter values as well as transfer calculation methods. Additional variation was associated with other modelling factors including: how participants conceptualised and modelled the exposure configurations; which progeny to include with the parent radionuclide; and dose calculation parameters, including radiation weighting factors and dose conversion coefficients. Probabilistic approaches to model parameterisation were used to encompass and describe variable model parameters and outcomes. The study confirms the need for continued evaluation of the underlying mechanisms governing soil-to-organism transfer of radionuclides to improve estimation of dose rates to terrestrial wildlife. The exposure pathways and configurations available in most current codes are limited when considering instances where organisms access subsurface contamination


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-246
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • Biota dose modelling, radionuclides, transfer, concentration ratio, wildlife

ID: 136843