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||Guidelines for exposure assessment in health risk studies following a nuclear reactor accident.
||Bouville A, Linet MS, Hatch M, Mabuchi K, Simon SL
||Environ Health Perspect
||BACKGROUND: Worldwide concerns regarding health effects after the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear power plant accidents indicate a clear need to identify short- and long-term health impacts that might result from accidents in the future. Fundamental to addressing this problem are reliable and accurate radiation dose estimates for the affected populations. The available guidance for activities following nuclear accidents is limited with regard to strategies for dose assessment in health risk studies. OBJECTIVES: Here we propose a comprehensive systematic approach to estimating radiation doses for the evaluation of health risks resulting from a nuclear power plant accident, reflected in a set of seven guidelines. DISCUSSION: Four major nuclear reactor accidents have occurred during the history of nuclear power production. The circumstances leading to these accidents were varied, as were the magnitude of the releases of radioactive materials, the pathways by which persons were exposed, the data collected afterward, and the lifestyle factors and dietary consumption that played an important role in the associated radiation exposure of the affected populations. Accidents involving nuclear reactors may occur in the future under a variety of conditions. The guidelines we recommend here are intended to facilitate obtaining reliable dose estimations for a range of different exposure conditions. We recognize that full implementation of the proposed approach may not always be feasible because of other priorities during the nuclear accident emergency and because of limited resources in manpower and equipment. CONCLUSIONS: The proposed approach can serve as a basis to optimize the value of radiation dose reconstruction following a nuclear reactor accident.