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Content archived on 2024-04-15



The project MARIA (Methods for Assessing the Radiological Impact of Accidents) was initiated in 1983 as part of the CEC Radiation Protection Research Programme. The aim of the project was, firstly, to review and then to develop further methods and models for accident consequence assessment (ACA) within the EC. A European ACA code, COSYMA (COde SYstem from MAria), is now available as a result of the many investigations performed within the MARIA project.

There remain a number of areas within the field of ACA modelling where further development and refinements are required, in addition the COSYMA code and its databases also require maintenance and some further development. These are the aims of the current extension of the MARIA project under the 1990 to 1991 Radiation Protection Programme.
A computer code, MECA, has been developed for the probabilistic assessment of the offsite economic risk derived from nuclear accidents, taking into consideration the direct costs caused by the different countermeasures adopted, following an accident, to prevent both the early and chronic exposure of the population to the radionuclides released, as well as the direct costs derived from health damage to the affected population.

The submodels included in MECA and the different economic items considered are the following:
population evacuation and/or temporary relocation costs, including transportation, housing and feeding, organisation and monitoring, salary and/or added value losses;
food ban costs of directly contaminated agricultrual and livestock products, evaluated at the prices perceived by farmers;
decontamination costs, considering up to 8 possible decontamination levels and different types of urban and rural surfaces (production losses during decontamination are included as temporary relocation costs);
temporary interdiction costs, evaluated as the loss of production for rural areas, and as the loss of wealth for urban property due to depreciation, during the interdiction period;
Permanent interdiction costs, sum of the land values for farmland and of the per person values of property for urban areas;
population relocation costs, including production (added value) losses during a transition period;
health effect costs, including reparations and medical care.

A coupling of MECA to version 1.5 of the MELCOR accident consequence code system (MACCS) has been made and tested for various cases without significant problems. A theoretical comparison of MECA with COCO-1 has been performed resulting in modification of some models and version 2, MECA2.

The computer code, URBAPAT, has been developed to calculate the time evolution of the activity deposited on several urban surfaces and the resulting external doses. Internal doses by inhalation of resuspend ed material are also being modelled.

A conceptual design of AGROPAT, a model for evaluating the internal and external exposure resulting from radioactive material deposited in rural environments, has been completed.
Topics to be studied under the 1990 to 1991 MARIA project

This summary describes the work being undertaken as a part of the MARIA project by the Nuclear Research Centre Karlsruhe (KfK), FRG, and the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), UK.

COSYMA development and maintenance

The COSYMA system is an important tool for research and application, and as such requires continuous updating, testing and improvement. The COSYMA code will be maintained by KfK and NRPB throughout the period covered by the contract, and there will be further development of its databases by both organizations.

The increasing availability of small computers, and the need by inexperienced ACA code users of the COSYMA code as a tool, necessitate the development of a reduced and simpler version of the code. This version will be more limited in its flexibility, but will be consistent in its basic assumptions and data with the full COSYMA code, and will produce compatible results. This work will be undertaken largely at NRPB, in cooperation with KfK.

Under the MARIA contract, NRPB and KfK will participate jointly, with the COSYMA code, in the international ACA code intercomparison exercise being organized by the CEC and NEA. It is anticipated that the participation of the code in this exercise will indicate any weak aspects in coding and in data which will be improved in future releases of COSYMA.

Uncertainty analysis techniques

Continuing research will be undertaken into the application of available uncertainty analysis techniques to ACA code systems. An important task is research into techniques for the reliable and defensible quantification of the variation in model parameters, including the use of expert judgement. Both NRPB and KfK will be involved in these studies, together with other CEC contractors.

Model and code development

A number of areas have been identified where further modelling development is needed; these will be considered during the period of this contract. These include: .SP 0 at NRPB there will be investigations with COSYMA to examine the effects of using models of different complexity in the area of atmospheric dispersion;
at KfK, wet deposition processes will be included in the foodchain module of COSYMA;
at NRPB, there will be further development of the urban contamination model EXPURT; onsideration will be given to incorporating EXPURT results in a COSYMA database;
at KfK, the economics module will be extended to incorporate specific data on the economic productivity of the region near to the release point;
at KfK, there will be further development of the health effects models used in COSYMA; in particular the method of calculating loss of life expectancy will be improved, and the dependence on dose and dose rate of both the dose/risk relationships for nonstochastic health effects and of the cancer risk factors will be included.


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EU contribution
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28006 MADRID

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