Radiation and Environmental Biophysics

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 105–114 | Cite as

Radioactive aerosols released from the Chernobyl Shelter into the immediate environment

  • E. K. Garger
  • V. A. Kashpur
  • W. B. Li
  • J. TschierschEmail author
Original Paper


The release of radioactive particles through large gaps in the containment of the destroyed Chernobyl reactor was assessed during two measurement periods. In 1996–1999, a total radionuclide flow rate of 274 Bq s−1 or 8.64 × 109 Bq year−1 was determined. These releases were predominantly due to 137Cs (78.5%), 90Sr (21.1%), and 239+240Pu (0.4%). The mean activity concentration in the aerosol measured directly at the gaps was about 240 mBq m−3 with an activity median aerodynamic diameter (AMAD) of 2.4 μm for 137Cs, 120 mBq m−3 with an AMAD in the range 3.1–13 μm for 90Sr, 1.8 mBq m−3 with an AMAD in the range 3.5–11 μm for 239+240Pu, and 2.0 mBq m−3 with an AMAD of 1.5 μm for 241Am. The resulting total inhalation dose rate calculated close to the gaps was about 100 nSv h−1. In the near environment, the mean 137Cs activity in the aerosol was 2.2 mBq m−3 with an AMAD of 2.2 μm, which gave rise to an inhalation dose rate of about two orders of magnitude lower than the corresponding dose rate at the gaps. Occasionally, however, dose levels were measured in the near environment that were similar to those at the gaps. In 2000–2003, lower activity concentrations were observed. The decrease was more pronounced at the gaps than in the near environment. The results indicate that effective dose due to inhalation must be considered for the dose assessment of construction workers who will be deployed at the Chernobyl site to reconstruct the old or to build the new Shelter, in the future.


Dose Rate Activity Concentration Geometric Standard Deviation Inhalation Dose Dose Assessment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors gratefully acknowledge stimulating discussions with Dr. Paul Roth and his assistance in the dose assessment.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. K. Garger
    • 1
  • V. A. Kashpur
    • 1
  • W. B. Li
    • 2
  • J. Tschiersch
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.NASU—National Academy of Science of Ukraine, Institute for Safety Problems of Nuclear Power PlantsChernobylUkraine
  2. 2.Institute of Radiation ProtectionGSF-National Research Center for Environment and HealthNeuherbergGermany

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