Importance of Uranium Recovery Facility Product Characteristics for Dose Assessment and Assignment

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Two traditional methods are used, often in combination, for assessing the intake and resulting dose from the inhalation of radioactive aerosols. The first calculates the intake based on air sampling programs and assessing and assigning dose using published dose conversion factors. The second approach assigns dose from the results of bioassay programs using measurements of radionuclides in human excreta (ex vivo, sometimes referred to as “in vitro”) or via direct measurements of radionuclides in the body (in vivo) in combination with metabolic models. This paper describes standard practices using each of these methods to assess and assign worker dose from inhalation of uranium products produced at natural uranium processing facilities, namely uranium mills and in-situ uranium recovery facilities (ISRs). Chemical speciation is an important consideration, which relates directly to solubility in body fluids and associated metabolic behavior. The concepts are illustrated by specific examples applicable to the products to which workers can be exposed at natural uranium processing facilities.

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