Original article

Radiation Risks of Helicopter Personnel Responding to the Chernobyl Accident: Early and Long-Term Health Disorders

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Ushakov I.B.1, Fedorov V.P.2

1 State Research Center – Burnasyan Federal Medical Biophysical Center of Federal Medical Biological Agency, Moscow, Russian Federation

2 Voronezh State Institute of Physical Culture, Voronezh, Russian Federation

UDC 614.876:551.521:614.29

Pp. 52-57

Abstract. The objectives of the study were to analyze the radiation doses received by helicopter crew members during the work above the emergency unit and the effectiveness of some radioprotective means; to determine the most radiosensitive systems of the body, their condition in the early and distant terms after the accident and the causes of disqualification of flight personnel.

Materials and research methods. The first stage of the work was performed directly in the zone of helicopter aviation flight over the Chernobyl NPP emergency power unit. We determined radiation doses received by flight personnel, their dependence on the type of helicopter and pilot’s workplace. Also we evaluated the dependence of exposure dose on the radio-protective means used and the primary reaction of pilots to radiation exposure. The second stage of the work was performed on the basis of the Central Research Aviation Hospital and the State Research Test Institute of Military Medicine of the Russian Ministry of Defense. At this stage the results of laboratory, clinical and psychological examination of the pilots who performed the tasks of liquidation of the Chernobyl accident effects in 1986 – 1987 and received regulated radiation doses were assessed. The corresponding medical documents (expert decisions of medical and aviation committees, results of medical follow-up) were studied for the period from 1986 till 2000, i.e. till the time when almost all helicopter liquidators were disqualified for health reasons or discharged due to senior service.

Results of the study and their analysis. The radiation doses received by the helicopter crew members during the execution of the assigned tasks over the emergency unit and the efficiency of some radio-protective means were analyzed. The most radiosensitive body systems, their condition in the early and distant terms after the accident and the diseases leading to the disqualification of flight personnel were determined.

Keywords: accident consequences elimination, Chernobyl accident, distant health disorders, early health disorders, helicopter pilots, human exposure to low doses of radiation, ionizing radiationradiation risks

For citation: Ushakov I.B., Fedorov V.P.

Radiation Risks of Helicopter Personnel Responding to the Chernobyl Accident: Early and Long-Term Health Disorders. Meditsina katastrof = Disaster Medicine. 2021;3:52-57 (In Russ.). https://doi.org/10.33266/2070-1004-2021-3-52-57



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The material was received 28.05.21; the article after peer review procedure 12.07.21; the Editorial Board accepted the article for publication 10.09.21