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Should we ignore U-235 series contribution to dose?

Published in: Journal of Environmental Radioactivity – September 2015

Authors: Karine Beaugelin-Seiller, Richard Goulet, Steve Mihok and Nicholas A. Beresford
Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission


The CNSC recently published an article titled Should we ignore U-235 series contribution to dose? in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity. The article is based on a study that modelled the contribution of minor isotopes to doses to fish and molluscs. Minor isotopes (daughters formed through the disintegration of uranium (U-235)) are not typically included in totals, as they do not contribute significantly to total doses relative to the major isotopes of the uranium decay chain. A theoretical calculation was done for Beaverlodge Lake in Northern Saskatchewan. Total doses calculated were below levels determined to affect fish and molluscs. However, the study determined that these minor isotopes could account for as little as 4% to as much as 75% of the calculated total dose. Field measurements of these difficult-to-measure U-235 daughter isotopes would confirm the doses obtained by these simple calculations.

In conclusion, these calculations provide further evidence that fish and molluscs living in Beaverlodge Lake are not affected by radiation.

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