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Title: The behaviour of airborne particulates inside houses : its relevance to nuclear safety
Author: Qadir, Noman Fazal
ISNI:       0000 0001 3503 249X
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 1996
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In the context of the safety of nuclear installations, there is general concern over the release and dispersal of radioactive pollutants in particulate form into the atmosphere. Such a release may lead to radiation exposure to individuals under radioactive fall-out conditions in the form of direct gamma exposure, through inhalation or by the particulate material being deposited on internal and external surfaces of buildings. This project addresses the protection offered by buildings to the occupants, against such exposure pathways. A computer model (BHOUSE) has been developed to simulate the exchange and transport of pollution in aerosol form for a building. A particular aspect investigated, mainly through modelling, has been the protection afforded by buildings through the deposition indoors of aerosols which might infiltrate into the buildings in question. On the one hand this process is likely to reduce indoor air concentrations, thus reducing inhalation dose, on the other hand it may lead to the problem of long-term contamination inside buildings. A related consideration is the safety provided by the building, to the occupants inside, against the direct radiation emitted by the externally deposited activity. Various benchmarking exercises have been carried out to investigate the indoor air and contaminant dispersal. These exercises have included: pollution ingress rate to a building under a variety of conditions; effect of wet external deposition on mechanical transport rate; variation of indoor pollution level with and without vacuum cleaner operating and the calculation of inhalation dose rates. Measures to obtain higher protection factors against particulate inhalation have also been suggested. Predictions obtained with the model have been compared with an existing model. This comparison aimed to identify common features and significant differences between models. Such studies clearly relate to other non-nuclear aspects of indoor air quality research. A better understanding of the importance of individual parameters affecting indoor air quality has been achieved. The thesis also reports results obtained through participation in a joint experimental programme between Imperial College, the Danish Riso National Laboratory and the Building Research Establishment (BRE) which yielded measured indoor deposition velocities in an experimental terraced house using monodisperse aerosol labelled with a stable tracer. The deposition behaviour of particles with different sizes have also been studied. Neutron activation analysis was used to estimate aerosol concentration levels on air filters inside rooms, with the use of the Imperial College nuclear reactor. The resulting average deposition velocities were used in the model in order to illustrate the protection afforded by buildings against inhalation dose, for the aerosol sizes which were investigated. A critical review has also been conducted on aerosol test chamber studies.
Supervisor: Goddard, A. J. H. Sponsor: Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of Pakistan
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Radioactivity