We estimate the contamination risks from the atmospheric dispersion of radionuclides released by severe nuclear power plant accidents using the EMAC atmospheric chemistry–general circulation model at high resolution (50 km). We present an overview of global risks, and also a case study of nuclear power plants that are currently under construction, planned and proposed in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, a region prone to earth quakes.

We implemented continuous emissions from each location, making the simplifying assumption that all potential accidents release the same amount of radioactivity. We simulated atmospheric transport and decay, focusing on Caesium-137 and Iodine-131 as proxies for particulate and gaseous radionuclides, respectively. We present risk maps for potential surface layer concentrations, deposition and doses to humans from the inhalation exposure of Iodine-131. The estimated risks exhibit seasonal variability, with highest surface level concentrations of gaseous radionuclides in the Northern Hemisphere during winter.

Energies 2014, 7(12), 8338-8354 doi: 10.3390/en7128338