L. Dromgoole Cochran, C. Marianno, “Radionuclide Selection for Emergency Response Exercise at Disaster City Using Unsealed Radioactive Contamination”, Journal of Health Physics, 114, 1, 7 (2018).
The Department of Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M University currently supports 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. Emergency response exercises can be enhanced 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 publicly available. This research compiles the publicly available information along with additional information acquired through discussion with experts and presents the process for selection of a short-lived radionuclide for use at Disaster City®. The historically-used radionuclides were 18F, 99mTc, 82Br, and 140La. These radionuclides were considered for the Disaster City® exercise, as well as other short-lived radionuclides commonly used or capable of being produced at Texas A&M. The selection process described in this paper identified seven radionuclides that could be used in an unsealed contamination exercise at Disaster City®. Radiopharmaceuticals 99mTc and 18F are suitable and available for purchase from nearby vendors. In addition, the Texas A&M Nuclear Science Center TRIGA reactor could be used to produce 24Na, 56Mn, 64Cu, 82Br, and 140La via thermal neutron activation.