Analysis of EPR and FISH studies of radiation doses in persons who lived in the upper reaches of the Techa River

M. O. Degteva*, N. B. Shagina, E. A. Shishkina, A. V. Vozilova, A. Y. Volchkova, M. I. Vorobiova, A. Wieser, P. Fattibene, S. Della Monaca, Elizabeth Ainsbury, Jayne Moquet, L. R. Anspaugh, B. A. Napier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Waterborne radioactive releases into the Techa River from the Mayak Production Association in Russia during 1949–1956 resulted in significant doses to about 30,000 persons who lived in downstream settlements. The residents were exposed to internal and external radiation. Two methods for reconstruction of the external dose are considered in this paper, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) measurements of teeth, and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) measurements of chromosome translocations in circulating lymphocytes. The main issue in the application of the EPR and FISH methods for reconstruction of the external dose for the Techa Riverside residents was strontium radioisotopes incorporated in teeth and bones that act as a source of confounding local exposures. In order to estimate and subtract doses from incorporated 89,90Sr, the EPR and FISH assays were supported by measurements of 90Sr-body burdens and estimates of 90Sr concentrations in dental tissues by the luminescence method. The resulting dose estimates derived from EPR to FISH measurements for residents of the upper Techa River were found to be consistent: The mean values vary from 510 to 550 mGy for the villages located close to the site of radioactive release to 130–160 mGy for the more distant villages. The upper bound of individual estimates for both methods is equal to 2.2–2.3 Gy. The EPR- and FISH-based dose estimates were compared with the doses calculated for the donors using the most recent Techa River Dosimetry System (TRDS). The TRDS external dose assessments are based on the data on contamination of the Techa River floodplain, simulation of air kerma above the contaminated soil, age-dependent lifestyles and individual residence histories. For correct comparison, TRDS-based doses were calculated from two sources: external exposure from the contaminated environment and internal exposure from 137Cs incorporated in donors’ soft tissues. It is shown here that the TRDS-based absorbed doses in tooth enamel and muscle are in agreement with EPR- and FISH-based estimates within uncertainty bounds. Basically, this agreement between the estimates has confirmed the validity of external doses calculated with the TRDS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-444
Number of pages12
JournalRadiation and Environmental Biophysics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Dose reconstruction
  • Electron paramagnetic resonance
  • Environmental contamination
  • Fluorescence in situ hybridization
  • Techa River


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