The Department of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M
University currently supports emergency response exercises at
Disaster City, a mock community used for emergency response
training that features full-scale, collapsible structures designed
to simulate various levels of disaster and wreckage. Several times
a year, sealed radioactive sources are used at Disaster City to
create radiation fields in which emergency responders can become
more familiar with dose rates and how to use their radiation
detection equipment. This research seeks to enhance emergency
response exercises by using unsealed radioactive sources to
simulate a more realistic response environment following an
incident involving the dispersion of radioactive material. Limited
exercises are performed worldwide using unsealed radioactive
sources, and most of that information is not published. This work
compiles that information and presents the process for selection of
a short-lived radionuclide for use at Disaster City.
Historically-used radionuclides were considered, as well as other
short-lived isotopes commonly utilized or capable of being produced
at Texas A&M. A preliminary dose assessment for the exercise
was performed based on conservative calculation methods used in
assessments for unsealed contamination exercises performed at other
sites. The selection process identified seven radionuclides that
could be used for an unsealed contamination exercise at Disaster
City. It was determined from the dose assessment that a
radionuclide-dependent range of 1-40 mCi can be used to achieve
detectable dose rates during the exercise without exceeding assumed
administrative dose limits. The choice of which radionuclide and
what activity to use should be made based on budget and the
logistics of the actual exercise.
- L.E. Dromgoole, C.M. Marianno, and J.W. Poston,
"Preliminary Dose Assessment for Emergency Response Exercise at Disaster City Using Unsealed Radioactive Contamination,"
61st Annual Meeting of the Health Physics Society (HPS), Spokane, Washington, 17-21 July 2016.
- L. Dromgoole, C.M. Marianno, and J. Poston,
"Preliminary Dose Assessment for Emergency Response Exercise Using Unsealed Contamination,"
2016 South Texas Chapter of the Health Physics Society (STC-HPS) Student Presentation and Annual Business Meeting, Bryan, Texas, 16 April 2016.