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Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2013 Jul;216(4):499-507. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2012.07.002. Epub 2012 Aug 30.

Estimating historic exposures at the European Gaseous Diffusion plants.

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  • 1Institute of Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety, Radiobiology and Epidemiology Department, IRSN/PRP-HOM/SRBE/LEPID, BP 17, 92266 Fontenay-aux-Roses, France.


This paper describes the methods and results of an occupational exposure assessment covering 30 years of operation of the EURODIF establishment (1978-2008). The exposure assessment includes radiological, physical and chemical hazards, and takes into account of organizational changes at the establishment. Furthermore, it includes efforts to better quantify the levels of exposures using available industrial hygiene and health physics data. In total, 227 workers participated in the assessment of 26 different occupational exposures in 102 general workstations through 1978-2008. Only 7% of exposure levels were rectified by experts for internal consistency reasons. Noise, heat, trichloroethylene and soluble uranium compounds were the most prevalent exposures at the plant although their levels tended to decrease across time. Assessments of occupational exposure to noise based on JEM exposure levels were fairly well correlated with noise measurement data (Spearman's correlation coefficient, ρ=0.43) while JEM-based assessments of uranium exposure were not well correlated with uranium atmospheric measurements. This study demonstrates the importance of non-radiological exposure in the nuclear fuel industry and highlights the difficulties in managing the risks arising from these exposures. Occupational exposures remain difficult to quantify due to the scarcity of reliable monitoring data and the absence of binding occupational exposure limits for some of considered hazards.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

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