Tritium Releases and Potential Offsite Exposures At The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory - Evaluation by an Expert Panel


P. A. Charp, M. Evans


The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is an agency within the US Public Service. ATSDR has specific legislative mandates associated with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as the Superfund law. A portion of this mandate includes response to community concerns regarding hazardous wastes and potential exposures. In response to communities around the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Savannah River Site (SRS) facilities, ATSDR convened an expert panel to assess tritium monitoring and dosimetry issues. ATSDR's summary of the panel's conclusions found that potential community exposures to chronic or long term tritium releases from LLNL (and SRS) are below levels of public health concern and are not likely to produce adverse health effects in the surrounding communities (ATSDR 2001). However, approximately 80% of the total radiologic releases from the LLNL facility occurred during two accidents in 1965 and 1970 which were of similar magnitude, 13 petabecquerels (Pbq) and 11.1 Pbq, respectively. Specific information on the accident scenario and meteorological conditions is available only for the 1970 accident with only general information on the 1965 release. Myers, et al. (1971) conducted a study of the 1970 release that included real time monitoring and environmental sampling of the release plume and provides general meteorological data. That study also included human dose estimates based on sampling of tritium in air, vegetation, cow's milk, and human urine. The results from the Myers, et al. (1971) study will be compared with the modeled dispersion and estimated doses from this evaluation, which implicitly includes the dose contribution from OBT.


This abstract was presented at the 35th Annual Midyear Meeting, "Decommissioning and Environmental Restoration", Poster Session, 2/17/2002 - 2/20/2002, held in Orlando, FL.

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