The historical use of radium to luminise instrument panels and dials and their subsequent disposal has led to some defence sites having areas of radioactive contamination. Contamination is most often found in waste pits where such materials were disposed and often burned. Some of these areas of land have, or are due, to be sold for development, therefore dealing with the radioactive contamination is an important issue. Radium is a very significant radionuclide in contaminated land. It is not very mobile, therefore tends to remain associated with the soil. A key pathway for the radionuclide is external irradiation, but it is also the precursor to radon gas, which means that it can continue to pose a risk even if contamination is sub-surface. Quintessa is able to provide quantitative assessment support to decisions needed regarding the management of radium contaminated areas.
Quintessa's capabilities and experience includes:
- synthesising historical records and characterisation information to evaluate the extent of contamination;
- understanding near-surface, terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems along with potential for contaminant transport both in solution and as a gas;
- assessing potential exposures via external irradiation using external dose modelling codes;
- explicitly recognising and managing the different types of uncertainty that are inherent in modelling environmental radioactivity; and
- using the resulting understanding to support remediation decisions.