Uncertainty propagation in atmospheric dispersion models for radiological emergencies in the pre- and early release phase: Summary of case studies

I. Korsakissok*, R. Périllat, S. Andronopoulos, Peter Bedwell, E. Berge, T. Charnock, G. Geertsema, F. Gering, T. Hamburger, H. Klein, S. Leadbetter, O. C. Lind, T. Pázmándi, Cs Rudas, B. Salbu, A. Sogachev, N. Syed, J. M. Tomas, M. Ulimoen, H. De VriesJ. Wellings

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In the framework of the European project CONFIDENCE, Work Package 1 (WP1) focused on the uncertainties in the pre- and early phase of a radiological emergency, when environmental observations are not available and the assessment of the environmental and health impact of the accident largely relies on atmospheric dispersion modelling. The latter is subject to large uncertainties coming from, in particular, meteorological and release data. In WP1, several case studies were identified, including hypothetical accident scenarios in Europe and the Fukushima accident, for which participants propagated input uncertainties through their atmospheric dispersion and subsequent dose models. This resulted in several ensembles of results (consisting of tens to hundreds of simulations) that were compared to each other and to radiological observations (in the Fukushima case). These ensembles were analysed in order to answer questions such as: among meteorology, source term and model-related uncertainties, which are the predominant ones? Are uncertainty assessments very different between the participants and can this inter-ensemble variability be explained? What are the optimal ways of characterizing and presenting the uncertainties? Is the ensemble modelling sufficient to encompass the observations, or are there sources of uncertainty not (sufficiently) taken into account? This paper describes the case studies of WP1 and presents some illustrations of the results, with a summary of the main findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S57-S68
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgement. CONFIDENCE is part of the CONCERT project. This project has received funding from the Euratom research and training programme 2014–2018 under grant agreement No. 662287.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences 2020.


  • Atmospheric dispersion models
  • Ensemble simulations
  • Uncertainties


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