The methods and limitations of dosimetry after internal contamination
Journal title : Radioprotection
Volume : 42
Issue : 4
Pagination : 501-517
Publication date : 01/12/2007
The assessment of absorbed, equivalent and effective doses after internal exposure is based on activity measurement by in vivo counting or bioassay. A dose value is derived from this measurement by means of biokinetic and dosimetric models which describe the behaviour of radionuclides in the body of a reference man and the subsequent deposition of energy. To enforce regulatory dose limits, monitoring programs are designed. The doses can be estimated from the measurement data according to a standard procedure as proposed by the IDEAS group. However, a significant uncertainty is associated with the dose estimate, due to the uncertainties of measurement, to the incomplete knowledge of the conditions of exposure and to the imperfect realism of the models. In addition to this uncertainty, the extrapolation to low dose of biological effects observed at higher dose, the chemical toxicity of radionuclides and the heterogeneous energy deposition make the estimation of the risk following an internal exposure very difficult. As a conclusion, it should be reminded that the effective dose is a tool for the management of radiological protection but not a quantitative indicator of the individual risk.