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Health Phys. 1991 Jan;60(1):91-8.

Distribution of 137Cs in soils due to the Goiânia accident and decisions for remedial action during the recovery phase.

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Instituto de Radioproteção e Dosimetria/CNEN, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


In September 1987, a powder radioactive source was removed from a teletherapy machine in Goiânia, Brazil. Subsequently, it was ruptured in a residential garden causing the dissemination of 137Cs throughout the city. Soil resuspension processes and burial of contaminated house waste in unused gardens were the major contributors to the Cs dissemination in soils at the secondary contaminated sites. Only locations within a radius of 50 m from the primary contaminated sites presented the need for remedial action. The radiation dose-rate measurements and the soil profiles were good indicators of the extent of the secondary contamination and were fundamental for the decisions taken regarding decontamination procedures. In cases of surface contamination, 60% on average of the total activity remained in the upper 1.5-cm layer over the first 5 mo after the accident, and topsoil removal proved to be an effective procedure for decontamination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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