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On-Site Exposures of Certain Groups of People Who Worked on the Hanford Site -- Exposure of military veterans stationed at Hanford, Hanford construction workers, guards, well-drilling crews, and power substation crews.

A Listing of Radionuclides Released from Hanford -- 237 radionuclides estimated to have been released to the air and the Columbia River from Hanford, 1944-1972.

On-Site Exposures of Certain Groups of People Who Worked on the Hanford Site

Uniqueness of On-Site Exposures.

Who Was Exposed.

Current Scientific Work Concerning On-Site Exposures.

To Learn Where Your Army Unit Was Stationed.


Sources for More Information.

The purpose of this publication is to provide a basic understanding of the on-site radiation exposures at Hanford and how they differed from exposures beyond the Hanford site. This information has been prepared to respond to questions the Hanford Health Information Network (HHIN) has received from military veterans who were stationed at Hanford, as well as former Hanford construction workers and their families.

This publication describes the unique exposure situation of military personnel stationed at Camp Hanford and of Hanford construction workers. Please note, however, that the on-site exposures discussed below do not include occupational exposures to workers inside Hanford facilities. Also included here is an overview of the ongoing work by the Hanford Environmental Dose Reconstruction (HEDR) Project relating to on-site exposures.

Uniqueness of On-Site Exposures

The exposures to people on the Hanford site were different from the exposures received by people outside Hanford’s boundaries. People who lived and worked off-site received most of their exposure through food that was contaminated by radioactivity released from Hanford. (See HHIN’s The Release of Radioactive Materials from Hanford: 1944-1972 for information about the radionuclides released and how people off-site were exposed.) People who lived or worked on-site were exposed also through direct, external radiation exposure and through inhaling radioactive materials.

Hazardous Chemicals

Hazardous Chemicals
This publication does not address hazardous chemicals released from Hanford. Hazardous chemicals, such as nitrous oxide and carbon tetrachloride, were released into the air from various stages of producing and refining plutonium for use in nuclear weapons. However, HHIN’s Congressional mandate limits us to addressing the radioactive materials released from Hanford from 1944 to 1972.

Second, because on-site personnel were closer to Hanford’s production plants that released radioactive material into the environment, they were exposed to larger particles that carried a higher amount of radioactivity. These larger, heavier particles fell to the ground more quickly than lighter particles. Lighter particles, by contrast, could have been carried by the wind for longer distances.

Third, people on-site were exposed to radionuclides that had shorter half-lives. The half- life is the amount of time it takes for a radioactive substance to decay and lose one-half of its radioactivity. Radioactive materials with very short half-lives would have lost all or most of their radioactivity by the time they reached as far as the Hanford boundaries.

Who Was Exposed

On-site exposures were unique not just because of the radioactive materials involved but because of the particular situations of different groups of on-site workers. These groups of workers were: military personnel, people stationed in guard towers, construction workers, workers who drilled wells, and the power company employees who worked at the Midway electrical power substation.

100 Areas – Plutonium Production Reactors
200 Areas – Plutonium Separation Plants
300 Area – Fuel Fabrication and Laboratories

* Military Positions (with the corresponding number). Not every position existed for all years. Sites were added or moved from time to time.

Military Personnel

From the start of Hanford’s operations and continuing until the early 1960s, military personnel were involved with providing security for the site. Assisted during World War II by the Army’s G-2 intelligence group, Military Police (MPs) from the Army provided security at Hanford from 1944 until April 1947. In April 1947 the new Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) transferred responsibility to the security force of General Electric, which was then the contractor operating Hanford.

During the spring and fall of 1948, troops from Fort Lewis were sent to Hanford on “prolonged maneuvers.”1 In March 1950, the Army began to station troops there permanently to operate 16 anti-aircraft gun emplacements. In 1951 the Army officially designated it “Camp Hanford” (see map). Later on, the anti-aircraft guns were replaced by Nike missiles. Camp Hanford was deactivated in 1960. From 1952 until the military’s presence at Hanford ended in 1962, over 14,000 military personnel had served at Hanford.

What makes the exposure of Hanford’s soldiers different from the exposure of other workers is that soldiers’ exposure was not limited to their work hours. For years, soldiers not only worked on-site but also ate and slept there. In her book, On the Home Front, Michele Gerber writes, “They slept out overnight on the atomic reservation, often in open- air tents or hastily built huts and barracks.” 2 Additionally, since Hanford’s soldiers patrolled the desert in open-air jeeps, they could have inhaled radioactive particles that were present in the dust.

There is little reference in historical Hanford documents to the on-site exposures of military personnel. The references that do exist suggest that military personnel were exposed to higher routine levels than any other Hanford workers. One such reference is from Herbert Parker, Hanford’s chief radiation protection official. In 1951, he wrote, “It is found that the encampment near the 200-E Area (position 40 on the map) is in the ‘hottest’ area.”3 Later in the same document, Parker described this encampment as the only one “in a suspect zone.” However, Parker pointed out that even at this encampment, the external exposure rate was well below the (1951) permissible limit for personnel at Hanford.4

Personnel in Guard Towers

People who were stationed in the guard towers, especially in the location called the “200 Area” (see map), could have been exposed in unique ways. For example, the exhaust plumes from the separations plants would sometimes be blown directly into one of the guard towers. Any security personnel on duty at the time would have been exposed externally as well as through inhalation. In the late 1940s, when there were problems with hot (radioactive) particles, a Hanford engineer who designed emissions filters remembered his concern about the security personnel: “I suggested that [Hanford officials] reveal to everybody what the situation was, and have them wear respirators; my group wore them.... But they didn’t tell anybody....”5 (See “Current Scientific Work Concerning On- Site Exposures,” below, for more information on hot particles.)

Construction Workers

Construction workers would have been exposed to Hanford’s radioactive releases on any outdoor construction project after September 1944 in the 100 areas and after December 1944 in the 200 Areas (see map). Some of the major construction projects were the production reactors (100 Areas) and the following 200 Area facilities: the tank farms (containers for storage of high-level waste), the Plutonium Finishing Plant (PFP, completed in 1949, located in the 200 West Area), the Reduction Oxidation Plant (REDOX, completed in 1952, located in the 200 West Area) and the Plutonium-Uranium Extraction Plant (PUREX, completed in 1956, located in the 200 East Area).

Although other Hanford workers were given filter masks during certain times when Hanford had particle problems (1947-1951 and 1952-1954), construction workers were not given protective masks.

Well-Drilling Crew

Other Hanford workers drilled wells in order to take samples to test for contamination of groundwater by wastewater from separations plants. Some workers recall being sprayed wit the contaminated water. Several people have called HHIN saying they had fallen ill after such exposures, including two who had lymphoma.

Power Substation Crew

While not part of the Hanford work force, employees of the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) worked at the Midway electrical power substation located near Army Position 71 (see map) in the northwest corner of the Hanford site. A crew lived at the substation year-round. Because of their location, their exposures would have been similar to those of other on-site workers.

Current Scientific Work Concerning On-Site Exposures.

The HEDR Project was established to estimate what radiation dose people living near Hanford some time between 1944 and 1992 might have received from releases of radioactive materials. (For more information about HEDR’s work, see HHIN’s The Release of Radioactive Materials from Hanford: 1944-1972.) One of the HEDR tasks remaining to be completed is estimating doses for on-site personnel. There are three main activities to be done for this HEDR task.

1. Identify and acquire original Hanford documents about: (a) the releases of radioactive particles, and (b) radionuclides with short half-lives, such as iodine-132 and certain radioactive gases.

Regarding radioactive particles, there were two periods during Hanford’s operations when there were major particle releases. From late 1944 to at least 1951, Hanford released particles containing plutonium, strontium and cerium. From 1952 to 1954, particles of ruthenium were released into the air. (For more information, see HHIN’s Potential Health Problems from Exposure to Selected Radionuclides: Plutonium, Strontium, Cerium and Ruthenium.)

Short-lived radionuclides release energy (“decay”) rapidly. For example, the half-life of iodine-132 is about two hours. Because of this rapid decay, the material would have lost all, or nearly all, of its radioactivity before exposing someone who drank contaminated milk.

2. Determine the radionuclides that would have likely posed the greatest danger to on- site personnel.

A “source term” of these radionuclides will be developed – that is, an estimate will be prepared of how much radioactive material was released from the Hanford operations into the air.

The remaining HEDR work may need to reconsider releases from such facilities as the PFP, also known as Z-Plant (located in the 200 West Area). HEDR spent little time evaluating this facility during its study of off-site exposures.6 Because PFP dealt with plutonium metal, it could have been a source of particles. Of particular interest is the 232-Z Building at PFP in which plutonium-contaminated wastes were incinerated from 1961 to 1972. There were also several plutonium fires within PFP. Some of these resulted in releases to the atmosphere.7

3. Perform “screening calculations” to help determine which radionuclides contributed the most to dose. Screening calculations are rough dose estimates to help assess if the doses are high enough to warrant additional work. By reviewing these rough estimates, state and federal officials will have the information necessary to decide if the exposure levels are high enough to justify more detailed (perhaps even individualized) dose estimates. (For more information on dose and the potential health effects of radiation exposure, see HHIN’s An Overview of Hanford and Radiation Health Effects.)

To learn where your Army unit was stationed you can write to:

Department of Army
Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Office
ATTN: T.A.P.C.-P.D.R.-P.F.
125 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 201
Arlington, VA 22202-4102


1. Michele Stenehjem Gerber, On the Home Front: The Cold War Legacy of the Hanford Nuclear Site (Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 1992) p. 104.

2. Gerber, p. 104.

3. H.M. Parker, “Components of Radiation Exposure of Military Personnel within the Hanford Reservation,” HW-20888, April 20, 1951, p. 2.

4. Parker, HW-20888, p. 5. The rate was about one-thirtieth of the limit.

5. Gerber, p. 106.

6. C.M. Heeb and S.P. Gydesen, “Sources of Secondary Radionuclide Releases from Hanford Operations,” PNWD-2254 HEDR, May 1994, p. 5.1.

7. Jim Thomas, “PFP: The End of the Line for Hanford’s Plutonium,” in HEAL’s Perspective (Winter 1990) and Jim Thomas, “Radiation Science Update” in HHIN’s Connections (Fall 1996).

Sources for More Information

The Dragon’s Tail: Radiation Safety in the Manhatten Project, 1942-46, Barton C. Hacker (University of California Press, Berkeley, Calif.1987) A description of how scientists and doctors first sought to cope with the known and unknown hazards of nuclear energy, based on original documents and extensive interviews.

Elements of Controversy: The Atomic Energy Commission and Radiation Safety in Nuclear Weapons Testing 1947-1974, Barton C. Hacker (University of California Press, Berkeley, Calif. 1994) An account of America’s nuclear weapons testing program and its effects, based on the Atomic Energy Commission’s documentary record and the scientific literature of radiation health effects.

On the Home Front: The Cold War Legacy of the Hanford Nuclear Site, Michele Stenehjem Gerber (University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Neb. 1992). A history of the Hanford Site which includes many footnotes referencing specific Hanford historical documents.

U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE) OpenNet Database. Provides access to recently declassified information, including information declassified in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.

Published Summer 1997

A Listing of Radionuclides Released from Hanford

Radionuclides Estimated To Have Been Released to the Air.

Legend for Tables 1 and 2.

Table 1: Radionuclides Released to the Air (1944-1972).

Table 2: Radionuclides Released to the Columbia River.

Incompleteness and Uncertainty of Release Estimates.

Approach for Reconstructing Release Amounts.


Suggested HHIN Publications.


In this report you will find a listing of the names of 237 radionuclides that Hanford released into the air and into the Columbia River. This report will also briefly describe what would need to be done to estimate the amount released for each of the radionuclides.

During the years that Hanford produced plutonium for use in nuclear weapons, hundreds of different radionuclides were released into the environment. The Hanford Environmental Dose Reconstruction Project (HEDR) calculated release estimates for about two dozen radionuclides. Of these, HEDR calculated dose estimates for only 11 radionuclides. The HEDR Project’s preliminary work indicated that those 11 accounted for more than 99 percent of the total dose a person was likely to have received from Hanford. However, some citizens wanted a more comprehensive release estimate.

Over the past several years, many downwinders have asked the Network for more information. They want to know about the other radioactive elements (or radionuclides) released from Hanford in addition to the 11 that HEDR used in the calculation of dose estimates. Some downwinders want this information to enable them to do further research on their own while others feel they should have the most complete information possible.

The Hanford Health Information Network’s initial investigation indicated that it was not possible for the Network to determine (independent from HEDR) what other radionuclides were released or to estimate the total amounts released. It was then decided, in consultation with the HHIN Resource Center Citizen Advisory Board, that many downwinders would find it useful to know at least the names of the radionuclides. The Network located listings of the radionuclides’ names among some of HEDR’s preliminary work.

The HEDR reference that provided the names of the 237 radionuclides is titled “Selection of Dominant Radionuclides for Phase I of the Hanford Environmental Dose Reconstruction Project” (PNL-7231 HEDR). The following tables are derived from Appendix D (for atmospheric releases) and Appendix E (for river releases) of the Dominant Radionuclides report. HEDR provided release estimates for about two dozen radionuclides and these estimates are included in the following tables.

Radionuclides Estimated To Have Been Released to the Air 1

The following (Table 1) is a listing of 166 radionuclides estimated to have been released to the air from nuclear weapons production activities at Hanford, from 1944 through 1972. The order of the list is the same as in the HEDR reference report and represents a ranking related to the degree of contribution to radiation dose. This particular ranking scheme used only a gross estimate of relative radionuclide inventories and no Hanford-specific environmental data, so the ranking implied in the ordering is somewhat different than the ranking that led to the selection of the radionuclides used in the HEDR dose estimates.2 The release estimates in the table below come from more recent HEDR reports (see References list).

Legend for Tables 1 and 2

Radionuclide — name of the radioactive isotope released from Hanford. (Isotopes are different forms of a chemical element which have the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons.)

m — For some of the radionuclides, the isotope numbers are followed by an “m.” This “m” stands for metastable which denotes a metastable state for that radionuclide. Metastable means that the atom is only slightly stable, and will continue its decay process after a delay.

Example: The table shows that tellurium-129m is metastable, has a half-life of just over 33½ days and the amount of it released by Hanford was not estimated by HEDR.

Physical Half-Life — The length of time in which one half of the material decays. The values have been rounded to the first place after the decimal point. In the Half-Life column, there are letters following the numbers. The letters refer to the unit of time: “s” for second, “m” for minute, “h” for hour, “d” for day and “y” for year.

HEDR Release Estimate — For certain radionuclides, HEDR estimated how much was released into the atmosphere or into the Columbia River. The release estimate is also known as the source term. The estimates are in a measuring unit called a curie. Curie is the unit used in measuring radioactivity. It is equal to the quantity of any radioactive material in which the number of atoms that decay each second is 37 billion. The release estimates have been rounded from the values listed in the referenced reports.

Table 1 Radionuclides Released to the Air (1944-1972)

Table 1
Radionuclides Released to the Air (1944-1972)
Radionuclide Physical Half-Life
in seconds (s), minutes (m),
hours (h), days (d) or years (y)
HEDR Release Estimate
(in curies)
(where provided by HEDR)
iodine-131 8.0 d 739,000
ruthenium-103 39.3 d 1,200
ruthenium-106 368.2 d 390
cobalt-60 5.3 y 1
zirconium-95 64.0 d 1,200
iodine-132 2.3 h 3,820
cerium-144 284.3 d 3,770
cesium-137 30.0 y 42
strontium-90 29.1 y 64
yttrium-91 58.5 d -
strontium-89 50.5 d 700
barium-140 12.7 d -
niobium-95 35.2 d -
tellurium-129m 33.6 d -
cerium-141 32.5 d -
plutonium-239 24,065 y 2
xenon-133 5.3 d 418,000
praseodymium-143 13.6 d -
lanthanum-140 40.3 h -
cesium-134 2.1 y -
neodymium-147 11 d -
plutonium-240 6,540 y -
iodine-129 15,700,000 y 46
plutonium-241 14.4 y -
antimony-125 2.8 y -
tellurium-132 78.2 h -
cesium-136 13.1 d -
promethium-148m 41.3 d -
plutonium-238 87.7 y -
promethium-147 2.6 y -
europium-154 8.8 y -
xenon-131 11.9 d -
silver-111 7.5 d -
tin-125 9.6 d -
cadmium-115m 44.6 d -
iron-59 44.5 d -
yttrium-90 64.0 h -
tellurium-125m 58 d -
europium-155 5 y -
niobium-95m 88.6 h -
neptunium-239 2.4 d -
promethium-148 5.4 d -
silver-110m 249.9 d -
krypton-85 10.7 y 18,500,000
uranium-238 4,470,000,000 y -
americium-241 432.3 y -
molybdenum-99 66.0 h -
neptunium-237 2,140,000 y -
rubidium-86 18.7 d -
antimony-124 60.2 d -
cobalt-58 70.8 d -
curium-242 162.8 d -
manganese-54 312.5 d -
praseodymium-144 17.3 m -
xenon-133m 2.2 d -
tin-126 10,000 y -
iron-55 2.7 y -
tin-119m 293 d -
uranium-235 703,800,000 y -
technetium-99 213,000 y -
europium-152 13.3 y -
samarium-151 90 y -
rhodium-106 29.9 s -
uranium-236 23,400,00 y -
rhodium-103m 56.1 m -
silver 108m 127 y -
barium-137m 2.6 m -
tellurium-129 69.6 m -
promethium-149 53.1 h -
technetium-99m 6.0 h -
thorium-234 24.1 d -
plutonium-236 2.9 y -
iodine-133 20.8 h -
curium-244 18.1 y -
plutonium-242 376,000 -
cadmium-115 53.5 h -
americium-243 7,380 y -
zinc-65 243.9 d -
cesium-132 6.5 d -
uranium-234 244,500 y -
zirconium-93 1,530,000 y -
samarium-153 46.7 h -
cesium-135 2,300,000 y -
nickel-63 96 y -
chromium-51 27.7 d -
tin-117m 13.6 d -
gadolinium-153 242 d -
tritium (H-3) 12.4 y 200,0003
carbon-14 5,730 y 554
cerium-143 33 h -
curium-243 28.5 y -
tin-121m 55 y -
cadmium-109 464 d -
antimony-122 2.7 d -
indium-115m 4.5 h -
xenon-129m 8.0 d -
niobium-94 20,300 y -
plutonium-237 45.3 d -
holmium-166m 1,230 y -
protactinium-231 32,760 y -
nickel-59 75,000 y -
xenon-127 36.4 d -
thorium-231 25.5 h -
niobium-93m 13.6 y -
gallium-72 14.1 h -
arsenic-77 38.8 h -
thorium-228 1.9 y -
bromine-82 35.3 h -
silver-110 24.6 s -
actinium-227 21.8 y -
curium-245 8,500 y -
samarium-147 106,000,000,000 y -
radon-224 3.7 d -
tin-121 27.1 h -
thulium-170 128.6 d -
thorium-230 77,000 y -
radon-220 55.6 s -
beryllium-10 1,600,000 y -
curium-246 4,730 y -
lead-212 10.6 d -
curium-241 32.8 d -
silver-108 2.4 m -
thorium-229 7,340 y -
zirconium-97 16.9 h -
copper-67 61.9 h -
krypton-81 210,000 y -
bismuth-212 60.6 m -
nickel-66 64.6 h -
arsenic-76 26.3 h -
niobium-97 72.1 m -
thorium-232 14,050,000,000 y -
radon-222 3.8 d -
thallium-208 3.1 m -
niobium-97m 60 s -
praseodymium-142 19.13 h -
radon-225 14.8 d -
indium-115 500,000,000,000,000 y -
barium-135 m 28.7 h -
thulium-171 1.9 y -
iodine-130 12.4 h -
lead-210 22.3 y -
radium-226 1,600 y -
gadolinium-152 108,000,000,000,000 y -
polonium-210 138.4 d -
radium-228 5.8 y -
krypton-79 35 h -
palladium-109 13.4 h -
uranium-240 14.1 h -
bismuth-210 5 d -
scandium-48 43.7 h -
curium-248 339,000 y -
actinium-228 6.1 h -
berkelium-249 320 d -
sodium-24 15 h -
lead-214 26.8 m -
bismuth-214 19.9 m -
xenon-135 9.1 h -
copper-64 12.7 h -
californium-249 350.6 y -
calcium-47 4.5 d -
strontium-91 9.5 h -
yttrium-91m 49.7 m -
magnesium-28 20.9 h -
aluminum-28 2.2 m -
europium-152m 9.3 h -
argon-41 1.83 h 9,000,0005

Table 2 Radionuclides Released to the Columbia River (1944-1971)

Radionuclides Estimated To Have Been Released to Columbia River6

Table 2 lists 71 radionuclides released to the Columbia River from the operation of Hanford’s plutonium production reactors, from 1944 through 1971. The order of this list is the same as in the Battelle-PNL reference document. It lists the radionuclides by their mass number. The mass number is the number of neutrons and protons in the nucleus of an atom. The release estimates come from more recent HEDR reports (see References list).
Table 2
Radionuclides Released to the Columbia River (1944-1971)
Radionuclide Physical Half-Life
in seconds (s), minutes (m),
hours (h), days (d) or years (y)
HEDR Release Estimate7
(in curies)
(where provided by HEDR)
tritium (H-3) 12.3 y -
sodium-24 15 h 13,000,000
silicon-31 2.6 h -
phosphorus-32 14.3 d 230,000
calcium-45 165 d -
scandium-46 83.8 d 120,000
chromium-51 27.7 d 7,200,000
manganese-54 312.5 d -
manganese-56 2.6 h 80,000,000
iron-59 44.5 d -
cobalt-60 5.3 y -
copper-64 12.7 h -
nickel-65 2.5 h -
zinc-65 243.9 d 500,000
zinc-69m 13.8 h -
gallium-72 3.3 d 3,700,000
arsenic-76 26.3 h 2,500,000
strontium-87m 2.8 h -
strontium-89 50.5 d -
strontium-90 29.1 y -
yttrium-90 64 h 450,000
strontium-91 9.5 h -
yttrium-91 58.5 d -
strontium-92 2.7 h -
yttrium-92 3.5 h -
yttrium-93 10.1 h -
zirconium-95 64 d -
niobium-95 35.2 d -
molybdenum-99 66 h -
technetium-99 213,000 y -
ruthenium-103 39.3 d -
ruthenium-106 368.2 d -
antimony-122 2.7 d -
antimony-124 60.2 d -
iodine-131 8.0 d 48,000
iodine-132 2.3 h -
iodine-133 20.8 h -
iodine-134 52.6 m -
iodine-135 6.6 h -
cesium-136 13.1 d -
cesium-137 30 y -
cesium-138 32.2 m -
barium-139 82.7 m -
barium-140 12.7 d -
lanthanum-140 40.3 h -
cerium-141 32.5 d -
cerium-143 33 h -
cerium-144 284.3 d -
praseodymium-142 19.1 h -
praseodymium-143 13.6 d -
praseodymium-147 13.4 m -
promethium-147 2.6 y -
promethium-149 53.1 h -
promethium-151 28.4 h -
samarium-153 46.7 h -
europium-152m 96 m -
europium-152 13.3 y -
europium-156 15.2 d -
gadolinium-153 241.6 d -
gadolinium-159 18.6 h -
terbium-160 72.3 d -
terbium-161 6.9 d -
dysprosium-165 2.3 h -
holmium-166 1,230 y -
erbium-169 9.4 d -
erbium-171 7.5 h -
thorium-232 14,050,000,000 y -
uraniun-238 4,468,000,000 y -
plutonium-239 24,065 y -
plutonium-240 6,537 y -
neptunium-239 2.4 d 6,300,000

Incompleteness and Uncertainty of Release Estimates

HEDR did not consider all of the points at which the 237 radionuclides (the 166 released to the air and the 71 released to the river) were released into the environment. Based on the preliminary work, HEDR scientists were satisfied that they had identified the most important release points. Because of the incompleteness of HEDR’s work and the gaps in the historical documentation, there is some uncertainty in the HEDR release estimates. Other sources of uncertainty include unknown accuracy of historical measurements and assumptions that form the basis for computer calculations.

The HEDR Project is not completed yet and several tasks are planned that will lead to changes in HEDR’s release estimates, such as those involving the plutonium and ruthenium particles. In addition to the HEDR work, other scientists are estimating Hanford’s releases of radioactive materials. As new information becomes available, this HHIN report will be updated.

Approach for Reconstructing Releases Amounts

How would somebody estimate release amounts for each of the 237 radionuclides listed here? The basic approach for reconstructing how much material was released from any industrial operation is to search through the plant records and collect information that is related to the processing. At Hanford the basic information that is needed includes: the power level of the reactors, how long the fuel was in the reactor, where in the reactor the fuel was located, how long the fuel was cooled between leaving the reactor and being processed, the amount of fuel processed, and the existence and efficiency of exhaust filters.

The HEDR Project obtained this information for the 11 radionuclides included in the 1994 representative dose estimates. To obtain this information for the additional radionuclides, an extensive review of thousands of pages of HEDR reports and Hanford historical documents would be required.

To compile a truly comprehensive estimate of Hanford’s releases of radioactive materials, one would also need to consider the following additional sources: releases to the air from underground waste storage tanks, fires in processing areas and burial grounds, laboratories and experimental facilities, and releases due to accidents.

For a more complete description of reconstructing release amounts, please refer to Chapter 3, “Estimating and Confirming the Source Term,” in the National Research Council’s 1995 book, Radiation Dose Reconstruction for Epidemiologic Uses.


Note: The documents listed below with a “PNWD” number are reports prepared by Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory while under contract to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The documents listed below with a “PNL” or “BN” number are reports prepared by Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory while under contract to the U.S. Department of Energy.

1. Derived from Appendix D (pp. D.1-D.6) in B.A. Napier "Selection of Dominant Radionuclides for Phase 1 of the Hanford Environmental Dose Reconstruction Project," PNL-7231 HEDR, July 1991.

2. B.A. Napier, "Determination of Radionuclides and Pathways Contributing to Cumulative Dose, HEDR Dose Codeecovery Activities-Calculation 004," BN-SA-3673 HEDR, December 1992, p.4.

3. This estimate is incomplete as it does not include the tens of thousands of curies from Hanford's chemical separation facilities and the plutonium production reactors.

4. Amount from the reactor stacks only. Extrapolated from C.M. Heeb, "Radionuclide Releases to the Atmosphere from Hanford Operations, 1944-1972," PNWD-2222 HEDR, May 1994, pp. 5.3-5.4.

5. Amount from the reactor stacks only. Extrapolated from C.M. Heeb, "Radionuclide Releases to the Atmosphere from Hanford Operations, 1944-1972," PNWD-2222 HEDR, May 1994, pp. 5.3-5.4.

6. Derived from Appendix E (Table IV, pp. E.8-E.9) in PNL-7231. Appendix E is a reprint of a 1969 draft report.

7. These values have been rounded to two significant figures from what is reported in HEDR reports. This was in response to a review comment by Maurice Robkin, Ph.D., former Technical Steering Panel (TSP) member and chair of the Source term Committee. The reason for rounding is that the HEDR estimates are somewhat uncertain and the rounding is representative of the uncertainty.

Heeb, C.M. “Radionuclide Releases to the Atmosphere from Hanford Operations, 1944- 1972.” PNWD-2222 HEDR. May 1994.

Heeb, C.M., and D.J. Bates. “Radionuclide Releases to the Columbia River from Hanford Operations, 1944-1971.” PNWD-2223 HEDR. May 1994.

Heeb, C.M., and S.P. Gydesen. “Sources of Secondary Radionuclide Releases from Hanford Operations.” PNWD-2254 HEDR. May 1994.

Napier, B.A. “Determination of Radionuclides and Pathways Contributing to Cumulative Dose, HEDR Dose Code Recovery Activities—Calculation 004.” BN-SA-3673 HEDR. December 1992.

Napier, B.A. “Selection of Dominant Radionuclides for Phase I of the Hanford Environmental Dose Reconstruction Project.” PNL-7231 HEDR. July 1991.

National Research Council’s Committee on an Assessment of CDC Radiation Studies. Radiation Dose Reconstruction for Epidemiologic Uses. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1995.

Robkin, M.A., and B. Shleien. “Estimated Maximum Thyroid Doses from I-129 Releases from the Hanford Site for the Years 1944-1995.” Health Physics, Vol. 69 (6), December 1995, pp. 917-922.

Suggested HHIN Publications

Suggested HHIN Publications

Radioactivity in the Body, Spring 1994

Potential Health Problems from Exposure to Selected Radionuclides, Fall 1994

Radionuclides in the Columbia River, Summer 1995

Published October 1996

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