AW: [ RadSafe ] FW: [UnplugSalem] Fw: Chernobyl 20 year later

Rainer.Facius at Rainer.Facius at
Thu Apr 20 05:06:32 CDT 2006

"If I had the time I would like to estimate the collective dose from Air Travel ..."

Julian (and Franz):

Bouville and Lowder (1988) (probably among others) did that exercise for the traveller population of the early 1980s. They drew on the data from ICAO (1985) which gave the number of passenger-kilometres flown in 1984 as 1.5*10^12. With an assumed average cruising speed of 600 km/h that translates into 2.5*10^9 passenger-hours. They then assume an average flight altitude of 8 km for which they adopt an average dose rate of 1.35 micro-Sv/h. This yields some 3400 person-Sv per year for that epoch.

Whereas the average cruising speed today is likely to be higher - resulting in less passenger hours per passenger-kilometres - the altitude and hence the dose rate is likely to be higher today. At FL 350 (35000 feet) the dose rate varies between about 2 and 4 micro-Sv/h from equatorial to polar plateau regions (>60 degree). According to my 'feelings' regarding the distribution of passenger-kilometres with latitude, an average dose rate of (rather more than) 3 micro-Sv/h appears more realistic.

In the European Community the annual increase in passenger-kilometres between 1995 and 2003 was 4.9%. Taking this number as a world-wide representative value (probably underestimating worldwide growth), today after 22 years we would have 4.3*10^12 passenger-kilometres per year. With 800 instead of 600 km/h this would translate into 5.3*10^9 passenger-hours which translates into 16000 person-Sv per year

I refrain from applying the - in this context definitely utterly asinine - LNT postulate to speculate about cancer deaths from this exposures.

Let us hear your results if this stimulates you to improve upon my rule of thumb guesstimate.

Kind regards, Rainer

Bouville A, Lowder W M.
Human population exposure to cosmic radiation.
Radiation Protection Dosimetry 24#1/4(1988)293-299

International Civil Aviation Organization.
Digest of Statistics - Traffic, Commercial Air Carriers, 1980-1984

Dr. Rainer Facius
German Aerospace Center
Institute of Aerospace Medicine
Linder Hoehe
51147 Koeln
Voice: +49 2203 601 3147 or 3150
FAX:   +49 2203 61970

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: radsafe-bounces at [mailto:radsafe-bounces at] Im Auftrag von JGinniver at
Gesendet: Mittwoch, 12. April 2006 01:16
An: sandyfl at
Cc: radsafe at
Betreff: Re: [ RadSafe ] FW: [UnplugSalem] Fw: Chernobyl 20 year later

many thank for the link.
I don't disagree with your views.  To be honest the extrapolation of individual doses below public dose limits into large collective doses is  something I disagree with.  If I had the time I would like to estimate the  collective dose from Air Travel and point out how many additional deaths are  going to result from people flying to their holiday destinations.  It is  equally as valid as the estimates of deaths from exposures from other  sources.
However, as the methodologies employed by the authors of this report are based on excepted principles I think it is important that we look at their reasoning for selecting, for example, higher releases of certain radionuclies,  or worst case dose estimates for the intakes that may have resulted from these releases.  Where we think they have been unduly pessimistic we should  put forward counter arguments that are clear, concise and easily  understood.  If we are simply dismissive we risk being seen as part of a  conspiracy to cover up the consequences of the accident.
Now I have the IAEA/WHO report I hope to be able to see why they chose to base their assessment on different values to the ones selected in the Fairlie/Sumner report.
Warmest regards,
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