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5
Quantification of Personnel Film Badge
Uncertainties
A. DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATION OF MEASURES OF
TOTAL UNCERTAINTY
In Chapter 4, several sources of uncertainty in film badge dosimetry were
identified. This chapter quantifies those uncertainties, and assesses their effect,
acting jointly, on estimates of exposure and of deepdose equivalent obtained
from personnel film badges (see Section 5.E). The assessment is made specific
to each test series, to the magnitude of the estimated exposure, and to other rele
vant conditions surrounding the film badge reading.
The uncertainty assessment is accomplished by developing an approach for
calculating upper and lower limits for the exposure and deepdose equivalent
based on any film badge reading obtained during atmospheric nuclear tests. The
method of calculation is intended to assure that there is a high probability that
the limits include the actual exposure and deepdose equivalent received by the
individual. The intervals may be calculated for any specified probability level,
with 95% being a common choice.
Because the available data are inadequate to quantify all sources of uncer
tainty in a rigorous statistical manner, expert opinion must often be relied on for
this assessment. For this reason, the limits are not "confidence intervals" in the
classical statistical sense, and are sometimes referred to as "subjective confi
dence intervals." The appropriate interpretation of 95% intervals presented in
this report is that, based on a careful assessment by experts of many individual
61
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62
FILM BADGE DOSIMETRY IN ATMOSPHERIC NUCLEAR TESTS
sources of uncertainty, there is a 95% probability that the interval includes the
true value. It is also appropriate to interpret the intervals as indicating that there
is only a 2.5% chance that the true value exceeds the upper limit, and only a
2.5% chance that the true value is less than the lower limit.
Evaluating Individual Sources of Uncertainty
To evaluate overall uncertainty, it is first necessary to specify probability dis
tributions for each uncertainty source; this is accomplished by specifying the
probability that the estimated value falls within any specified range. The distri
butions for individual uncertainty sources are then used to evaluate the probabil
ity distribution for all uncertainty sources acting jointly. This process may re
quire complex calculations and possibly computer simulations. A discussion of
approaches to uncertainty analyses is provided in a report of the National Coun
cil on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP 1984~.
The assessment in this report is based on the use of lognormal distributions
for describing uncertainties from individual sources. The lognormal distribution
is one in which the logarithms of the estimated values follow symmetric normal
distributions, and is symmetric on a multiplicative scale; that is, the probability
that an estimated value exceeds F times the median value, is the same as the
probability that a value is less than 1/F times the median value. A major advan
tage of the use of lognormal distributions is that uncertainties from different
sources can be easily combined without the need for extensive computations.
The use of the lognormal distribution for uncertainty analyses is described by
the NCRP (1984) and is illustrated by the National Institutes of Health Ad Hoc
Working Group to Develop Radioepidemiological Tables (1985~. The general
properties of the lognormal distributions are described in detail by Johnson and
Kotz (1970) and by Aitchison and Brown (1969~.
If the logarithm of an estimate follows a normal distribution with mean, m,
and standard deviation, s, then the estimated value follows a lognormal distribu
tion characterized by its median M = em, and by its geometric standard deviation
(GSD), S = eS. It is useful to express M as a factor B times the true value, and
refer to B as the bias. If B > 1, the true value on average has been overesti
mated; while if B ~ 1, the true value on average has been underestimated.
(It should be noted that the mean of the lognormal distribution is a factor e s2/2
higher than the median; however, this source of bias is negligible relative to the
overall uncertainty, and can be safely ignored for most purposes). The GSD has
the property that twothirds of the estimated values fall between (1/S)M and SM.
If adequate data are available, B and S can be estimated using standard
statistical procedures. In the absence of such data, B and S must be estimated,
.
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5 FILM BADGE UNCERTAINTIES
63
based on judgments of scientists with relevant expertise. One approach is first
to provide a subjective assessment of B and then to provide a factor K such that
the interval obtained by multiplying the true value by (1/K)B and KB is thought
to cover 95% of the estimated values. The GSD and s can then be determined
by the relationships K = St96, and s = log(S). The values of K satisfying this
relationship are referred to as 95% uncertainty factors. Once the parameters of
the lognormal uncertainty distribution have been specified, the P% subjective
confidence intervals can be determined as
(E/B) e Zp s
51
where E is the exposure as determined from the film badge reading, and Zp is an
appropriate factor determined from tables of the normal distribution. The values
of Zp are 1.960, 1.645 and 1.00, respectively, for 95%, 90%, and 66.7% subjec
tive confidence intervals.
Figure 51 shows a plot of two lognormal distributions with M = 1. The
probability that an estimated value falls between two specified values is repre
sented by the fraction of the total area under these curves falling in the specified
region. The plot with K = 1.5 (S = 1.23) represents a modest amount of uncer
tainty with 95% probability that the estimated value falls between 0.67 and 1.5.
The plot for K = 4 (S = 2.03) represents a much greater amount of uncertainty;
the range 0.25 to 4 is now required to cover 95% of the probability.
Combining Several Sources of Uncertainty in One Badge Reading
The approach used to combine uncertainties is based on the assumption that
the uncertainties from specific sources follow independent lognormal distribu
tions. This assumption of independence requires that the direction and magni
tude of the error from one source have no influence on the direction and magni
tude of error from any other source. This assumption appears reasonable for
combining uncertainties from most of the sources considered in this report. For
example, it is unlikely that uncertainties resulting from the way a film badge is
used in the field would be related to uncertainties resulting from laboratory
processing. Where uncertainties from different sources were judged to be inter
dependent, they have been assessed in combination rather than individually.
It is assumed that the film badge reading, E, can be written as the product of
the true exposure (or dee~dose equivalent) and several factors Ei, i = 1, 2, ... N.
It is further assumed that Be Ei follow independent lognormal distributions, that
B. and S. represent the bias and the standard deviation on a logarithmic scale,
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64
z
2
J 1
a,
cr.
o
Ir
o
i_
In
z
LL
J
a' 1
CD
O
o
FILM BADGE DOSIMETRY IN ATMOSPHERIC NUCLEAR TESTS
I \
\ K = 1.5
\
\
\
I
VALUE (UNITS ARBITRARY
3
~_
~_ K=4




MEDIAN= 1
FIGURE 51 Lognorsnal Distributions.
2
VALUE (UNITS ARBITRARY
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5 FILM BADGE UNCERTAINTIES
65
respectively, for distribution i. It then follows that E will also follow a lognor
mal distribution with bias given by B = Hi Bi, with a logarithmic standard devia
tion, s, defined by
2_ 2+ 2+ + 2
S Sat S2 ... SN
and with a P% confidence interval given by
(E/B) en Zp s
52
.
53
This is the same expression as Equation 51, but now s and B include uncertain
ties from several sources. It is useful to define the GSD and 95% uncertainty
factor from source i as Si and Ki respectively, where Si = e i, Ki = Sit 96, and to
define the overall GSD and 95% uncertainty factor by S = es and K = Sib,
respectively. Example: A film badge reading, obtained in test A, provides an
exposure estimate of O.X R. In Section 5.B, three major categories of uncer
tainty in exposure will be identified: laboratory, radiological, and environmen
tal. The following values for Bi, Ki, and si are typical and illustrate the combin
ing of uncertainty sources.
Uncertainty source Bi Ki si
Laboratory 1.0 1.2 0.093
Radiological 1.0 1.3 0.133
Environmental 1.2 1.1 0.049
In this case, B = 1.0 x 1.0 x 1.2 = 1.2
S2 = 0.0932 + 0.1332 + o.o492 = 0.0287
s =0.170,K= 1.39
The 95% interval is given by (0.~/1.2)e +i 96 ~ 0.~70 or as (0.48, 0.93~. Without the
bias factor of 1.2, the interval would have been (0.57, 1.12), based on an overall
95% uncertainty factor of 1.39. This factor is not as large as the product of the
individual Ki, which is 1.72. Because they are uncorrelated, uncertainties from
different sources tend to cancel each other out. However, the overall uncertainty
factor can never be smaller than the maximum Ki.
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66
FILM BADGE DOSIMETRY me ATMOSPHERIC NUCLEAR TESTS
In the sections that follow, the estimates of the parameters Bi and si, as well
as Si and Ki, are determined for each of several uncertainty sources. These esti
mates are specific to each test series, and in some cases to the magnitude of the
estimated exposure. In addition, the calculations necessary to combine uncertain
ties have been performed for the reader. In Chapter 6 tables are provided giving
95% subjective confidence limits for each test series as a function of exposure.
Special Problems in the Application of Uncertainty Analyses to
Film Badge Dosimetry
Because uncertainties in film badge readings are often expressed in a form
that is symmetric on an additive scale (e.g., + 50%), the use of the lognormal
distribution in this report merits comment. In general, the lognormal distribu
tion, with symmetry on a multiplicative scale, is more appropriate for measures
that cannot be less than zero, but with no clear upper bounds. For small uncer
tainties (K < 1.5, or 50% error), the lognormal distribution is very close to a
symmetric normal distribution (see Figure 51) and thus the two distributions
yield similar confidence limits. For large uncertainties, the symmetric normal
distribution may permit negative estimates with high probability; this would be
inappropriate for many film badge uncertainty sources.
Nevertheless, certain sources may be more appropriately described on a sym
metric scale. In these cases, emphasis has been put on determining the correct
upper bound; the effect of using a lognormal instead of a normal distribution in
such cases will be a lower limit that is too high. For example, if the correct 95%
limits for an estimate are M + 1.96 c,, K is taken to be 1 + 1.96 c/M. The upper
limit of KM would be correct, but the lower limit (1/K)M is larger than the
correct lower limit of M 1.96 c,. (This result can be shown algebraically, or a
few seal values for M and ~ should assure the reader of its validity.)
Since laboratory uncertainties at low exposures are likely to be better de
scribed by the symmetric normal distribution than by the lognormal distribution,
a special procedure has been used to treat such uncertainties. Note that at low
exposures, negative estimates are possible because adjustment for background
fog of a film is needed (although such estimates are generally recorded as zero).
This special procedure is described in Section 5.B, and provides lower confi
dence limits of zero for very small estimated exposures.
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5 FILM BADGE UNCERTAINTIES
Uncertainty in Estimates of Total Dose Based on the Sum of Several Film
Badge Readings
67
Although the scope of this report has been defined to include only the assess
ment of uncertainty in single film badge readings, uncertainties in the estimates
of the total exposure for individual test participants, which are based on the sum
of several fUm badge readings, are naturally of interest. Because the sum of
several lognormally distributed variables does not follow a lognormal distribu
tion, and because uncertainties from some sources may not be independent for
different readings from the same subject, the assessment of uncertainty of the
estimated total exposure is complex.
The following recommendations are made for assessing uncertainty in the to
tal exposure derived from the sum of several film badge readings. First, it is
noted that the interval obtained from the sums of the upper (lower) P% limits for
the individual film badge readings may in many cases provide useful limits, es
pecially if the number of readings is small and/or the estimated exposures are
small. The confidence level associated with such an interval will be 2 P%, and,
because intervals obtained in this manner do not account for possible cancelling
of uncertainties as exposures are summed, they will generally be wider than nec
essary. However, if the limits obtained from this approach provide sufficient in
formation for the application of interest, it may not be necessary to proceed fur
ther.
When the problem of lognormal summation is encountered, it is often solved
by using a Monte Carlo simulation method Wee and Salem 1977~. In the case of
film badge readings, it is possible to take advantage of a reasonable approxi
mation that greatly simplifies the calculation. Note in Figure 51 that when the
uncertainty is relatively small (i.e., the 95% uncertainty factor is 1.5), the log
normal distribution approaches a normal distribution. In this case the mean and
median are nearly equal. Thus to a reasonable approximation the mean of the
sum is just the sum of the medians. For example, even when the 95% uncer
mnty factor is 2, the largest value encountered in this study, the mean is only
6% larger than the median.
If uncertainties in readings from different badges for the same individual are
independent, this approach also suggests that to a reasonable approximation, the
variance, V, of the sum of M readings is given by
V = ~ 1/~1.96~2 ~ ~,j (Kj  1~2 (Ej/Bj)2
54
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68
FILM BADGE DOSIMETRY IN ATMOSPlIERIC NUCLEAR TESTS
where Kj, E., and Bj are respectively the 95% uncertainty factor, the film badge
reading, and the bias for the jth reading. Approximate 95% confidence intervals
for the total are then obtained as
Ej/Bj + 1.96 ~ = EjtBj + N/2,j (Kj1)2(E~/Bj)2
Thus, for example, if an individual's record consisted of the following readings,
the total exposure and its 95% confidence interval could be calculated as fol
lows.
Reading Ej Bj Kj Ej/Bj (Kj1)2(Ej/Bj)2 95~o confidence
(i) l~rruts for single
readings
1 0.1 1.0 2.0 0.10 0.0100 (0.05, 0.20)
2 0.4 1.2 1.2 0.33 0.0044 (0.28, 0.40)
3 0.6 1.0 1.2 0.60 0.0144 (0.50, 0.72)
Total 1.03 0.0288 (0.83, 1.32)
The resulting confidence limits for the total, based on the assumption of inde
pendence of uncertainties in the three readings, are 1.03 + ~ or (0.86,
1.20~. These limits are narrower than the more conservative limits (0.83, 1.32)
obtained by summing the lower and upper limits from the three readings.
B. CATEGORIES OF UNCERTAINTY
The sources of uncertainty in radiation exposure determined from film badge
dosimetry have been grouped into three categories: laboratory, radiological, and
environmental. Uncertainties associated with each of these will be combined as
described in Section 5.A. The three categories are interpreted as follows:
Laboratory Uncertainties
This category includes all the uncertainties introduced in film calibration,
chemical processing of films, reading their optical densities, comparing these
densities with the densities of unexposed and calibration films, and in interpret
ing the measured densities in terms of exposure.
Even under the best controlled laboratory conditions, laboratory uncertainties
are a strong function of exposure level, particularly at low exposure levels. This
behavior is evident from the general mathematical form of the variation of film
optical density, D, with exposure:
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5 FILM BADGE UNCERTAINTIES
69
D=D (le~7E),
56
where D is the saturation density of the film at high exposures, E, and yis the
sensitivity of the film. For the Du Pont Type 502 film illustrated in Figure 43,
Do = 2.8, and it= 0.25 with exposure expressed in R; other films of comparable
sensitivity to that of the Type 502 film should yield similar values.
If it is assumed that the standard deviation of the measured optical density
does not depend on exposure, and is given by a constant c' *, the standard devia
tion of the measured exposure, Is (E), can be shown to be approximately equal to
{~*/(D T)le7E
57
If it is further assumed that measured exposures are approximately normally dis
tubuted, the upper confidence limit (for twosided 95% limits) are given by E +
1.96 c, (E). The 95% uncertainty factor (the factor needed to multiply the mea
sured exposure, E, to obtain this upper limit) is then given by
K(E) = 1 + 1.96 ~ (E)/E.
58
Because replicate density readings at the same exposure generally yield val
ues within + 0.03 density units, it is reasonable to take ~ * = 0.015. With the
values of Do and ~ given above, we have
K(E) = 1 + 0.042 e0 Is E/E.
59
In Figure 52 this K(E) is plotted (solid line) as a function of exposure. The
95% uncertainty factors K(E) for exposures between 0.5 R and 14 R are less
than 1.1, with a minimum value of 1.03 at 4 R. However, below 0.2 R and
above 14 R the uncertainty rises rapidly. In general, the exposure levels that
delineate the useful range of the film, (small K(E)) depend on the sensitivity of
the film.
If a badge contains more than one film component, the overall exposure
uncertainty using both film components may have a peak in the region of over
lap (see section 4.D) of the different components. The low sensitivity Du Pont
Type 606 film, part of whose exposure curve is shown in Figure 43, has a D =
3.0 and a y= .006. The uncertainty, K(E), vs exposure, E(R), for this film (from
Equation 58 with ~ * = 0.015) is shown by the dashed line in Figure 52. For
the two film components shown in Figure 52, the overlap between the two films
is sufficiently good that there is only a small rise in K (to K = 1.2) at the high
exposure end of He 502 film and the lowexposure end of the 606 film. If the
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70
FILM BADGE DOSIMETRY IN ATMOSPHERIC NUCLEAR TESTS
5081290 film combination shown in Figure 42 had been used, there would
have been a much larger peak in K in the region of overlap.
The intrinsic uncertainties in determining exposure discussed above are in
creased by uncertainties in the radiation field and in the time used in calibration,
by variations in film processing conditions if calibration and unexposed films
are not processed with each batch of field exposed film badges, and by possible
inaccuracies in reading a calibration curve. For these reasons, the minimum
laboratory uncertainty is never estimated to be as low as 1.03. Under controlled
laboratory conditions it is conservatively estimated to be at least 1.2. Under less
favorable conditions in some test series the minimum K is even larger. In
almost all cases, the intrinsic uncertainty dominates at low exposures. The value
of K for laboratory uncertainty is deduced as the appropriate combination (see
Section 5.A) of the intrinsic uncertainty and estimated uncertainties in process
ing, calibration and interpretation. Unless stated otherwise, uncertainties for
exposures in the overlap region of two different films were based on a K of 1.5
for laboratory uncertainty.
2.0 '
1.8

~ 1.6
Z
c' 1.4
By
~ .
1.2
1.0
\ DuPont 502
\
\\ DuPont606
I I I I ~1 1 
I ~
10 100
.01 .1
EXPOSURE, E(R)
FIGURE S2 Plot of Uncertainty, K(E) vs Exposure, E(R) for DuPont 502 and 606 Film Components.
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5 FILM BADGE UNCERTAINTIES
71
In Chapter 6, values for laboratory uncertainty are presented for each test
series and are intended to be applied for exposures over 0.2 R with special
consideration of larger exposures as indicated. As noted above, these laboratory
uncertainties are never less than K= 1.2. The 95% uncertainty factor for the
additional uncertainty for exposures below 0.2 R is obtained as
K*(E) = e4(ln2K(E)  1n21.2'
510
where K(E) = 1 + 0.042 eQ25E/E for Du Pont 502 film. Values of K*(E) are given
in Table 51.
TABLE 51 Additional Uncertainty Factors for Film Badge Readings
Below 0.2 R
Em) Kim) Kim)
0.02 3.11 3.07
0.04 2.06 2.01
0.06 1.71 1.66
0.08 1.54 1.47
0.10 1.43 1.36
0.12 1.36 1.28
0.14 1.31 1.22
0.16 1.27 1.17
0.18 1.24 1.13
These factors are to be combined with uncertainties from other sources as usual,
including the "standard" laboratory uncertainty factor, which is 1.2 or 1.3 for
most test series.
Special treatment is required below the minimum detectable level ~L).
The MDL is the minimum exposure that can be statistically distinguished from
zero in the laboratory. It is usually established at the point where the laboratory
uncertainty is + 100% at the 95% confidence level (see Section 5.C). It should
be noted that the expression "minimum detectable level" is often used in a less
precise sense; thus the MDL values indicated in various documents describing
test series may not satisfy the above definition exactly.
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72
FILM BADGE DOSIMETRY IV ATMOSPHERIC NUCLEAR TESTS
For Du Pont 502 film, the MDL must satisfy
MDL = 0.042 en 25~DL
511
implying that the MDL is approximately 0.04 R. In obtaining 95% confidence
limits for recorded exposures below the MDL, the lower limit should be taken to
be zero. To avoid problems of applying multiplicative factors to exposure esti
mates of zero it is recommended that exposures recorded as less than the MEL
be considered as half the MDL, for purposes of defining the additional labora
tory uncertainty factor K*(E) and for calculating the upper subjective confidence
limit, including all uncertainty sources. Note that this treatment of laboratory
uncertainties at low doses is a departure from the use of the lognormal distribu
tion in that it allows for the inclusion of zero in the confidence limits. Labora
tory uncertainties may be better described by the symmetric normal distribution
than by the lognormal distribution.
To illustrate the above procedure, suppose that the worker in the example
given in Section 5.A had a film badge exposure of 0.1 R instead of 0.8 R. For
this exposure K(E) = 1 + 0.042e`°~5x~/O.1 = 1.43, and K*(E) =
e,/(1n21 43  in21 2) = 1.36, with corresponding s*(E) = (in 1.36~/1.96 = 0.157.
If this additional uncertainty is added to that in the example, the overall s2 is
0.1702 + 0.1572 = 0.0535, and s = 0.231, K = 1.57. The 95% subjective confi
dence limits for exposure are (0.05, 0.13~.
Radiological Uncertainties
Three sources of uncertainty have been identified in the radiological cate
gory: photon energy spectrum, body wearing position and radiation backscatter.
The influence of the low energy part of a photon energy spectrum on film
badge exposure has been discussed in Section 4.A, particularly with regard to
the thickness and material of the filter used to attenuate the lowestenergy pho
tons. A 0.028 inch thick lead filter was found to minimize the uncertainty in the
exposure caused by uncertainties in the energy spectrum (see Section 4.A), but
even at this thickness there is a residual bias B that is estimated to be 1.1 and an
uncertainty in the consequences of the spectrum on the measured exposure which
is estimated to give a K of no less than 1 2. For thinner and loweratomicnum
ber filters such as used in early test series, both the B and K values are estimated
to be larger.
A film badge is normally expected tube worn on the chest. At such a posi
tion it is not experiencing the same radiation field as if it were freely exposed in
air because the body attenuates radiation from the back. The magnitude of the
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5 FILM BADGE UNCERTAINTIES
73
bias in the measured exposure clearly depends on the energy spectrum of the
photon radiation, the spatial distribution of the radiation field and on the size of
the wearer. It is estimated to have a typical value of B = 0.8 and an uncertainty
associated with this effect for which a typical value of K = 1.1 is estimated.
This uncertainty includes allowance for improper wearing, e.g., attached to the
belt or carried in a pants pocket.
The presence of the body on which a badge is worn increases the radiation
field (as well as decreasing it due to attenuation, as discussed above) because the
body backscatters photons. This is estimated to contribute a typical B of 1.1 and
to have an uncertainty of at least K = 1.1 as well. Notice that the net effect of
the wearing and backscatter contributions to the radiological effect with the
above values of B tend to compensate in bias (1.1 x 0.8) but their K uncertain
ties are cumulative (not compensating).
The radiological situation for pilots and other crew members exposed to
radiation in aircraft is different from that for personnel exposed on the ground or
on ships. The structure ofan airplane provides substantial shielding to persons
within and preferentially removes lowenergy photons from the spectrum and
thus reduces the bias due to the lowenergy spectrum (toward 1.0~. The shield
ing is greater from behind and below as a result of the seat. This increases the
value of B attributed to body shielding, "wearing", toward 1.0. The reduction in
the lowenergy part of the photon spectrum also reduces the B due to backscatter
(toward 1.0~. The net effect of the three radiological contributions on the overall
radiological B is not very different from those for ground personnel.
Because aircraft personnel have relatively little mobility within an airplane,
there is less uncertainty associated with the radiological effects than for typical
ground personnel. Therefore, film badge readings for aircraft personnel are
more reproducible measures of exposure than for ground personnel, and perhaps
more accurate as well. Nevertheless, in order to provide a conservative estimate
of uncertainty, the same values of K are adopted as for Wound personnel in most
test series. Exceptions are IVY and ~MBLERSNAPPER where special condi
tions warranted special treatment.
Environmental
The final category of uncertainty combines all those uncertainties related to
the field environment in which film badges are exposed. Section 4.G discusses
the consequences of exposure to moisture, light, high temperatures, and radioac
tive contamination. As noted in that section, with expert examination of pro
cessed films, these effects can often be recognized and even taken into account.
However, in some of the test series in this report where environmental effects
were known to be present, it is not reasonable to conclude that such expert ex
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74
FILM BADGE DOSIMETRY TV ATMOSPHERIC NUCLEAR TESTS
aminations were made and reinterpretation is not feasible nor even possible be
cause many of the original films are no longer available. The environmental
bias and uncertainty are estimated from a knowledge of the environmental condi
tions of each test series. In general, these were quite different for test series con
ducted in the Pacific, where conditions of high humidity prevailed, than for test
series conducted at the NTS. These differences are reflected in the estimates of
uncertainty in individual test series.
For GREENHOUSE and TUMBLERSNAPPER, fallout contamination in
creased the uncertainty in estimates of lowdose exposures. These effects are in
cluded under the environmental contributions to uncertainty and are discussed
for those test series.
Environmental conditions for personnel exposed to radiation while in aircraft
was different from that for ground personnel in several respects. Badges usually
were issued and collected on a daily basis, so no longterm environmental ef
fects took place. There was no effect attributable to high humidity or tempera
ture and there was no fallout on the badge of a wearer. As a result, environ
mental uncertainty in determining the exposure of pilots and other crew mem
bers is lower than for ground personnel. Consequently, uncertainties estimated
for the latter provide a conservative estimate for the former. Exceptions occur in
the cases of the IVY and TUMBLERSNAPPER tests. Aircraft ground crews
who often encountered radiation as they cleaned aircraft flown in proximity to
nuclear tests, or as they removed air filters used to collect radioactive debris
from detonation clouds, are estimated to have bias and uncertainty values associ
ated with their dosimetry readings that are similar to those of other ground
personnel.
C. MINIMU1VI DETECTABLE LEVEL OF RADIATION EXPOSURE
MEASURABLE WITH A FILM BADGE
As described in Section 5.B, the laboratory uncertainty factor increases as
film badge exposure readings approach zero, and this results in a level below
which readings are not statistically distinguishable from zero. This minimum
detectable level (MEL) is usually established at the point where the laboratory
uncertainty of the reading at the 95% confidence level is + 100% in normal dis
tribution terms. A series of exposures at the MDL should yield film badge read
ings, 95% of which would fall between 0 and twice the MDL, and which follow
a symmetric normal distribution. Because the uncertainty of readings below the
MDL is greater than the reading such readings are indistinguishable from zero or
the MDL itself.
Exposures midway between zero and the MDL are as likely to be interpreted
as zero as they are to be read at the MDL. Similarly, as exposures increase to
the MDL, they are more likely to fall into the readable range just as those am
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5 FILM BADGE UNCERTAINTIES
75
preaching zero are more likely to be interpreted as zero. The general practice in
film badge dosimetry is therefore to make the best possible interpretation of the
exposures in this region, reporting zero for those that favor that end of the range
and a positive reading for those approaching the MEL, bearing in mind that
there is no statistical difference between the two.
In Section 5.B, the Committee suggested using onehalf the MDL for deter
mining the upper limits in a consistent manner for exposures reported below the
MDL. It should be noted that this does not imply a recommendation to modify
the existing records of exposures recorded below the MOL.
D. COMMONALITY AMONG THE TEST SERIES
The particular personnel firm badge selected for one multipledetonation test
series or singledetonation testing operation was not always the same as the
next. Film badge use, however, included identical firm badges or film packets
for some series, the same containers for firm packets during several series, and
the same metallic filter during most series. After the third test operation, SAND
STONE, only single film packets containing two or three film types, or compo
nents, were used in personnel film badges.
Environmental conditions during the use of film badges in atmospheric test
ing were similar within each of two categories, continental and oceanic testing
locations. Except for the first nuclear detonation, TRINITY, in an arid New
Mexico location, the remaining continental atmospheric test series were con
ducted in Nevada at either Frenchman Flat or nearby Yucca Flat in a semidesert
environment. Oceanic test operations were all at Pacific locations, except for
ARGUS detonations which occurred outside the atmosphere above the Atlantic.
Environmental effects on personnel film badges, therefore, were comparable
during operations on the continent and similar during oceanic operations, where
different protective measures against environment film damage were employed.
Film badge calibration and processing techniques during the test operations
were similar and became more uniform as testing continued. Radium 226 cali
bration sources were common in early test operations. These generally were re
placed by cobalt 60 sources later, but techniques for film badge calibration in air
were similar. Radium exposure rates were calculated during early series, and
both radium and cobalt exposure rates in later operations were related to NBS
calibrations either by direct NBScalibrations or by use of NBScalibrated "R
meters".
Processing became fairly uniform after the first few series. An important
change was maintaining developing solutions within + 0.5°F rather than within
+ 1°F, as during CROSSROADS. Another important evolution was developing
standard calibration films with known exposures for each developed batch of
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76
FILM BADGE DOSIMETRY IN ATMOSPHERIC NUCLEAR TESTS
personnel films, in addition to unexposed control films, to monitor and adjust for
variations in the developing solutions and processing.
Perhaps the most important common factor in personnel film badge use is the
characteristic shape of the H & D curve for any personnel dosimeter film type
(see Figure 23~. This leads to a uniform variation of laboratory uncertainty ver
sus exposure for each film type (see Section 5.B).
As previously mentioned, the ARGUS I, II, and III events were detonations
outside the atmosphere, high above the earth. Detonation yields were between
one and two kilotons for each test, and no fallout was detected at the earth's sur
face. Film badges were worn during Operation ARGUS, but no personnel doses
were recorded from ARGUS fallout. Thus, any discussion of exposure assign
ment accuracy during ARGUS is moot.
Personneldosimetry accuracy during the Plowshare program tests (GNOME,
SEDAN) is not discussed separately because these detonations were not part of
the atmospheric test senes, but were underground tests between atmospheric test
senes. The film badge used and the associated processing program during both
Plowshare tests were the same as were used in DOMINIC II, and the same
uncertainty considerations apply.
E. CONVERSION FROM EXPOSURE TO DEEPDOSE EQUIVALENT
Dunng the period of atmospheric nuclear testing? film badge results were
customarily expressed in roentgen, R. the unit of the radiological quantity, expo
sure. This approach proved useful as a quantitative means to control and limit
the radiation exposure received by test participants. However, exposure is a
measure of the electrical charge created by ionization of air by x or gamma
radiation, and as such only indirectly reflects the amount of radiation energy
absorbed within the body, or the risk of an adverse biological effect. The
Committee therefore related film badge readings to deepdose equivalents that
are more relevant to health effects. By converting film badge exposure to deep
dose equivalent, the film badge readings from atmospheric nuclear tests are
easily compared to current results for other activities, including underground
weapons testing, nuclear power plant operation, diagnostic radiology, and nu
clear medicine.
Procedures have been developed for conversion among the various radiologi
cal quantities defined for external radiation. Use is made of extensive computer
calculations because some of the quantities cannot be directly measured. Where
measurements have been made, there is good agreement with calculations. Pub
lication 51 of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP
1987) is the most recent compilation of relevant data.
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5 FILM BADGE UNCERTAINTIES
77
Several factors must be considered when making conversions among the
various quantities. Among these are:
type and energy of radiation
exposure geometry
· dose equivalent of interest
The type and energy of radiation were established by radiation conditions at
nuclear tests and have been described in Chapter 3.
Undoubtedly many exposure geometries were encountered, but an area (ex
tended plane) source of photons from the radioactive products of a nuclear
detonation seems to be most representative. (Betaparticle exposures were not
adequately monitored and are excluded in the dose assessments). ICRP Publica
tion 51 presents conversion factors for different geometries. Geometries that are
most frequently evaluated are:
· Anteriorposterior (front to back irradiation)
· Posterioranterior (back to front irradiation)
· Lateral (irradiation from the side)
· Rotational (uniform irradiation from front, back and sides as would occur
if one stood in a cylinder made of radioactive material or if a vertical line
source was rotated about oneself)
Isotropic (uniform irradiation from the front, back, sides, top and bottom
as would occur if one was suspended in a uniformly radioactive cloud)
.
None of the above is truly representative of the area source most commonly en
countered in atmospheric weapons testing.
The rotational geometry was selected as the best approximation to the area
source geometry, although the first three geometries are inappropriate because
the radiation is too directional, i.e. personnel entering a contaminated area would
not be irradiated from one side only. Compared to the isotropic geometry, the
other reasonable alternative, the dose to various body organs per unit exposure is
greater for the rotational geometry. Furthermore, the isotropic condition was re
jected because uniform exposure from the top and bottom at the same time was
not likely, even for pilots submerged in a radioactive cloud. The rotational
condition appears to offer the best compromise between conservatism and appli
cability.
The Individual Dose Equivalent, Penetrating, Hp. (as defined in ICRU 1985)
was selected as the endpoint dose equivalent quantity for this study. This is the
operational quantity for personnel monitoring. Hp(10) is the dose equivalent
from penetrating radiation to soft tissue located at a depth of 10 mm in the body.
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FILM BADGE DOSIMEI RY IN ATMOSPHERIC NUCLEAR TESTS
Also called the deepdose equivalent, Hp(10) can be evaluated with film badges
or other types of personnel dosimeters. Such devices are normally calibrated
using body phantoms to simulate backscatter conditions. A 30cmdiameter
sphere or a 30 cm x 30 cm x 15 cm slab of tissueequivalent material is com
monly used. The deepdose equivalent is also the quantity specified for per
formance testing of personnel dosimetry systems by the American National
Standards Institute (ANSI 1983) and the Department of Energy (DOE 1986~.
The Effective Dose Equivalent, He, and the dose equivalent to specific organs
(e.g., the red bone marrow) were considered by the Committee but not selected
for conversion. The effective dose equivalent is a conceptual quantity estab
lished by the ICRP. It cannot be measured, only calculated (ICRP 1977~. It is
defined as the sum of the weighted dose equivalents for the major radiosensitive
organs that exhibit stochastic (carcinogenic or genetic) effects. Weighting is
based on the relative risk of a stochastic death per unit dose equivalent to the
various tissues or organs. The effective dose equivalent is thus the quantity that
most closely associates exposure to radiation with the risk of an adverse biologi
cal effect. Its advantage is that it provides a mechanism for combining dose
equivalents from uniform and nonuniform body irradiation from either external
or internal sources, to arrive at a single risk estimate. The deepdose equivalent,
however, is more practical, has been in use for several years, and is implicit in
current regulations.
The relation between effective dose equivalent and deepdose equivalent for
anteriorposterior and rotational exposure geometries is presented in Table 52.
For the rotational geometry, the deepdose equivalent and the effective dose
equivalent are nearly identical for photon energies above 0.08 MeV. The deep
dose equivalent overestimates the effective dose equivalent by 10% to 15% for
anteriorposterior irradiation.
Table 53 relates the deepdose equivalent to the quantity exposure for rota
tional irradiation. The quantitative value of the deepdose equivalent (in rem) is
70  80% of the value of the exposure (in R) for the photon energies associated
with nuclear weapons tests. Consequently, the Committee selected a bias of
B. = 1.3 for converting film badge exposure data to deepdose equivalent. A
value of 1.2 was selected as the uncertainty factor (K) at the 95% confidence
level to account for possible dissimilarities of irradiation geometries actually
encountered and those assumed for the conversion, as well as variations in the
shapes and sizes of people.
Deepdose equivalent does not indicate dose equivalent to specific organs.
To assess the risk of a clinically detectable effect (e.g., cancer) to a specific
organ, it necessary to estimate the dose equivalent to that organ. Calculations
may be performed to estimate an organdose equivalent from deepdose equiva
lent. Tables 54 and 55 are examples for red bone marrow and lung, respec
tively, for rotational irradiation.
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5 FILM BADGE UNCERTAINTIES
Table 52 The Ratios of
Effective Dose Equivalent H to the
DeepDose Equivalent, Hp~l6)a
79
Table 53 The Ratio of the
DeepDose Equivalent Hp(10) to
Exposurea
Anterior Ratio for
Photon Posterior Rotational Photon Rotational
Energy (Mev) Lrradiation Irradiation Energy (MeV) Irradiation, (rem/R)
0.05
0.08
0.10
0.20
0.40
0.60
0.80
1.00
2.00
0.73
0.85
0.87
0.87
0.87
0.88
0.89
0.90
0.90
0.87
1.06
1.09
1.06
1.03
1.03
1.02
1.02
0.99
aCalculated from data presented in ICRP
Publication 51 (ICRP 87).
Table 54 The Ratio of the Red
Bone MarrowDose Equivalent to the
DeepDose Equivalent, HptlO)a
o.os
0.08
0.10
0.20
0.40
0.60
0.80
1.00
2.00
0.69
0.78
0.77
0.71
0.70
0.70
0.71
0.72
0.77
aCalculated from data presented in ICRP
Publication 51 (ICRP 1987).
Table 55 The Ratio of the
LungDose Equivalent to the
DeepDose Equivalent' Hp~lO)a
Ratio for Ratio for
Photon Rotational Photon Rotational
Energy (MeV) Irradiation Energy (MeV) Irradiation
0.05
0.08
0.10
0.20
0.50
1.00
0.69
0.92
0.99
1.04
1.00
1.00
aCalculated from data presented in ICRP
Publication 51 (ICRP 19873.
0.05
0.08
0.10
0.20
0.50
1.00
0.93
1.12
1.14
1.12
1.08
1.07
aCalculated from data presented in ICRP
Publication 51 (ICRP 1987).