Dose estimation for atomic bomb survivor studies: its evolution and present status

Radiat Res. 2006 Jul;166(1 Pt 2):219-54. doi: 10.1667/RR3546.1.


In the decade after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, several large cohorts of survivors were organized for studies of radiation health effects. The U.S. Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) and its U.S./Japan successor, the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF), have performed continuous studies since then, with extensive efforts to collect data on survivor locations and shielding and to create systems to estimate individual doses from the bombs' neutrons and gamma rays. Several successive systems have been developed by extramural working groups and collaboratively implemented by ABCC and RERF investigators. We describe the cohorts and the history and evolution of dose estimation from early efforts through the newest system, DS02, emphasizing the technical development and use of DS02. We describe procedures and data developed at RERF to implement successive systems, including revised rosters of survivors, development of methods to calculate doses for some classes of persons not fitting criteria of the basic systems, and methods to correct for bias arising from errors in calculated doses. We summarize calculated doses and illustrate their change and elaboration through the various systems for a hypothetical example case in each city. We conclude with a description of current efforts and plans for further improvements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Burden
  • Humans
  • Japan / epidemiology
  • Nuclear Warfare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Proportional Hazards Models*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Monitoring / methods*
  • Radiation Monitoring / statistics & numerical data*
  • Radioisotopes / analysis*
  • Relative Biological Effectiveness
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Assessment / trends
  • Survivors / statistics & numerical data*


  • Radioisotopes