Riddell, Anthony Edward (2011)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Plutonium is carcinogenic when it is taken into the body because it is an alpha particle emitter. There is limited direct epidemiological evidence of the scale of specific risks from plutonium intake. Assessing doses arising from plutonium exposure is an onerous task. Doses have to be assessed from urine samples and mathematical models which describe the passage of plutonium through the body. Information on plutonium absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion is very limited. Models of plutonium transport within the body continue to evolve. Different assessment methodologies have been employed to assess plutonium doses for worker cohorts.
A review of existing methodologies for producing plutonium doses has been conducted. A strategy for setting research priorities based on their potential impact on estimates of risk is discussed. Ways of improving plutonium dose reconstruction, including the production of reliability/uncertainty estimates are investigated. Efforts to harmonize approaches to the production of doses for the major plutonium worker cohorts are discussed. Recommendations are made for methodological approaches to plutonium dosimetry to meet current epidemiological research needs. The way in which the recommended methodological approach has been implemented for one major plutonium worker cohort is described. Some potential future research priorities are suggested.
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