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Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2003;105(1-4):413-6.

Internal dosimetry of uranium isotopes using Bayesian inference methods.

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1
MS E546, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA. tlittle@lanl.gov

Abstract

A group of personnel at Los Alamos National Laboratory is routinely monitored for the presence of uranium isotopes by urine bioassay. Samples are analysed by alpha spectroscopy, and the results are examined for evidence of an intake of uranium. Because the measurement uncertainties are often comparable to the quantities of material we wish to detect, statistical considerations are crucial for the proper interpretation of the data. The problem is further complicated by the significant, but highly non-uniform, presence of uranium in local drinking water and, in some cases, food supply. Software originally developed for internal dosimetry of plutonium has been adapted to the problem of uranium dosimetry. The software uses an unfolding algorithm to calculate an approximate Bayesian solution to the problem of characterising any intakes which may have occurred, given the history of urine bioassay results for each individual in the monitored population. The program uses biokinetic models from ICRP Publications 68 and later, and a prior probability distribution derived empirically from the body of uranium bioassay data collected at Los Alamos over the operating history of the laboratory. For each individual, the software creates a posterior probability distribution of intake quantity and solubility type as a function of time. From this distribution, estimates are made of the cumulative committed dose (CEDE) to each individual. Results of the method are compared with those obtained using an earlier classical (non-Bayesian) algorithm for uranium dosimetry. We also discuss the problem of distinguishing occupational intakes from intake of environmental uranium, within a Bayesian framework.

PMID:
14526999
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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