Reconstruction of the ingestion doses received by the population evacuated from the settlements in the 30-km zone around the Chernobyl reactor

Health Phys. 2002 Feb;82(2):173-81. doi: 10.1097/00004032-200202000-00004.


As a consequence of the Chernobyl accident, about 50,000 people were evacuated from the settlements in the 30-km zone around the reactor in the period 3-11 d after the accident. As no countermeasures were implemented in the early phase, people continued to consume milk and some leafy vegetables. In this paper, average effective ingestion doses are modeled for evacuees. Input data for the assessment are the 137Cs activity per unit area, the ratios of the radionuclides relative to 137Cs, the mean day of evacuation, and intake rates for milk and green vegetables. The transfer of radionuclides from deposition to humans is estimated by modeling radionuclide interception by vegetation, weathering, and the time-dependent transfer of radionuclides to milk taking into account site-specific agricultural practices. Depending on the evacuation day and site, the estimated ingestion doses for the settlements are in the range of 20 to 1,300 mSv and 3 to 180 mSv for infants and adults, respectively. 131I is by far the most important isotope, the ingestion dose due to 133I is more than one order of magnitude lower. The most exposed organ is the thyroid, inducing more than 80% and 50% of the ingestion dose for infants and adults. The ingestion doses are compared to the doses due to inhalation and external exposure. The internal dose exceeds the external by a factor of about 2-10 for adults and 2-40 for 1-y-old infants depending on site and evacuation day. The thyroid doses assessed for the evacuees are consistent with results achieved in studies performed in areas outside the 30-km zone.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Food Contamination, Radioactive*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Inhalation Exposure
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Nuclear Reactors*
  • Radioactive Fallout*
  • Radioactive Hazard Release*
  • Radiometry*
  • Rural Population
  • Ukraine


  • Radioactive Fallout