Document Detail

Estimates of radiological risk from a terrorist attack using plutonium.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12201055     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The possible use of radioactivity dispersal devices by terrorist groups has been recently reported in the news. In this paper, we discuss the threat of terrorist attacks by plutonium, with particular attention to the dispersal of plutonium by explosion or fire. Doses resulting from inhalation of radioactive aerosol induced by a plutonium explosion or fire are simulated using a Gaussian plume model (the HOTSPOT code) for different meteorological conditions. Ground contamination and resuspension of dust are also considered in the simulations. Our simulations suggest that acute effects from a plutonium dispersal attack are very unlikely. For late stochastic effects, the explosion poses a greater hazard than fire. However, even in the worst-case scenario, the dispersed plutonium would cause relatively few excess cancers (around 80 in a city of 2 million inhabitants) after many years from the explosion, and these excess cancers would remain undetected against the background of cancer fatalities.
Marco Durante; Lorenzo Manti
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Radiation and environmental biophysics     Volume:  41     ISSN:  0301-634X     ISO Abbreviation:  Radiat Environ Biophys     Publication Date:  2002 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2002-08-30     Completed Date:  2003-04-02     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0415677     Medline TA:  Radiat Environ Biophys     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  125-30     Citation Subset:  IM    
Dipartimento di Scienze Fisiche, Università Federico II, Monte S. Angelo, Via Cintia, 80126, Napoli, Italy.
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MeSH Terms
Administration, Inhalation
Computer Simulation*
Models, Statistical*
Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / mortality*
Plutonium / administration & dosage,  adverse effects*
Radioactive Pollutants / adverse effects*
Risk Assessment / methods*
Stochastic Processes
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Radioactive Pollutants; 7440-07-5/Plutonium

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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