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.
- M. Chen, "Validation of a Dose Assessment Method to be Used in Loose Contamination Exercises", M.S. Thesis, Nuclear Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX (2019).
- L. Cochran C. Marianno , "Radionuclide Selection for Emergency Response Exercise at Disaster City Using Unsealed Radioactive Contamination", Journal of Health Physics, 114, 1, 7 (2018).
- I.Y. Tsorxe C.M. Marianno, "Ground Survey of Disaster City Training Area in Preparation for a Short-Lived Radiological Contamination Exercise", 62nd Annual Meeting of the Health Physics Society, Raleigh, North Carolina, 9-13 July 2017.
- I. Tsorxe, "Baseline Measurements of Natural Radioactivity at the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service- Disaster City", M.S. Thesis, Health Physics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX (2017).
- L.D. Cochran, "Preliminary Dose Assessment for Emergency Response Exercise at Disaster City Using Unsealed Radioactive Contamination", M.S. Thesis, Nuclear Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX (2016).
- L.E. Dromgoole, C.M. Marianno, 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, 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.