Food Chain Models

A key component of assessing potential exposures arising from environmental radioactivity is an understanding of radionuclide behaviour within the food chain. Quintessa has considerable experience of assessing potential exposures arising from the food chain both within long-term (e.g. waste disposal) and short-term (e.g. routine and/or accidental emissions).

Quintessa's capabilities and experience includes:

  • development and support of the PRISM models for radionuclide behaviour within agricultural systems following routine and/or accidental atmospheric release and dispersion for the UK Food Standards Agency;
  • representing the evolution of the surface environment on long timescales in the context of waste disposal and assessing potential exposures arising from associated potential food chain pathways;
  • representing surface water, estuarine, coastal and marine systems and associated food chain pathways within assessments for short and long-term contaminant releases; and
  • explicitly recognising and managing the different types of uncertainty that are inherent in modelling environmental radioactivity.

Quintessa’s work in support of PRISM has involved the development of kinetic models for radionuclide uptake and migration around plants and animals, along with comparison of modelling results against experimental observations.  The models have been implemented in a custom software tool that allows the user to specify simple to complex atmospheric source term to flexible user-defined agricultural scenarios.