facility SAR consequence assessment of identified hazards should be used as
a starting point for detailed EMHA plutonium consequence assessment.
Environmental monitoring capability for assessing consequences of a plutonium
release should conform to several general principles.
Procedures for measurement of airborne plutonium should provide for timely
analysis and reporting of results in units that correspond to decision criteria.
Decision points based on initial alpha screening measurements with field
instruments should account for the expected levels of radon progeny collected
on the air sample media. Alternatively, portable survey instruments capable of
performing alpha spectroscopy measurements can be used to provide rapid
isotopic analysis of plutonium collected on sample media.
Measurement of plutonium deposition should be planned and proceduralized to
yield results that correspond to those needed by the predictive models used for
emergency response. The correlation between direct or indirect radioactivity
measurements (in units of activity) and measurement methods that give mass or
concentration of plutonium in a sample should be established for standard
sample sizes, collection efficiencies, and the expected isotopic mixture(s) of
material that might be released. Information on expected isotopic mixture
should be available for converting the results of measurements made with
photon-sensitive instruments, such as the Fiddler and Violinist, into plutonium
activity per unit area.
If the potential exists for release of plutonium in conjunction with materials of
high chemical toxicity, it is generally not practical to plan on use of survey
teams to quantify concentrations in a plume. The high risk to survey personnel,
the protective equipment necessary to minimize that risk, the time needed to
prepare and deploy a team for such a survey and the limited value of the
information that could be gained all weigh against this approach to assessing
the consequence of a highly toxic release.
Continuous environmental air samples are taken around the perimeter of some
plutonium facilities for environmental reporting purposes.
Consequence assessment procedures should provide for the rapid retrieval and
analysis of sample media from any fixed samplers that may be operating in an
area affected by a plutonium release. The procedures should specify the type of
measurements to be done on those sample media, including any instrument
settings, conversion factors, or adjustments needed to produce useful results in
the shortest time possible.
Protective Actions. The Protective Action Guides (PAGs) published by the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, 1991) have been adopted by
DOE as its basic protective action criteria for planning and response. The
evacuation PAG for the early phase of a radiological incident is 1 rem
(TEDE) under normal conditions and up to 5 rem under conditions where
evacuation might pose excessive hazards to the population (adverse weather,