29 Jun 2022
 | 29 Jun 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Spatio-temporal variation of radionuclide dispersion from nuclear power plant accidents using FLEXPART ensemble modeling

Seyed Omid Nabavi, Theodoros Christoudias, Yiannis Proestos, Christos Fountoukis, Huda Al-Sulaiti, and Jos Lelieveld

Abstract. We estimate the seasonal and diurnal changes in the transport and intensity of radionuclides including Iodine-131 (131I) and Cesium-137 (137Cs), transported to Qatar from a fictitious accident at the Barakah nuclear power plant (B-NPP) in UAE. For dispersion modeling, we have used the Lagrangian particle/air parcel dispersion model FLEXible PARTicle (FLEXPART) driven by forecast and (re)analysis products, and coupled with the Weather Research and Forecasting model (FLEXPART-WRF). A four-member ensemble of meteorological inputs, including one forecast dataset (CFSv2) and three (re)analysis datasets (native resolution and downscaled FNL and downscaled ERA5), is used to force FLEXPART/FLEXPART-WRF. According to the age spectrum of Lagrangian particles, radionuclides entered southern Qatar about 10 to 20 hours after emission, and almost all emitted particles are transported to and/or deposited in the study area within the 80 hours after the release. A higher number of long-lived particles was found in FNL simulations and when particles are released in the afternoon and spring. The highest levels of simulated 131I concentrations and 137Cs deposition were found in FNL simulations in the south/southeast of Qatar. The frequent coincidence of high radionuclide concentrations and deposition with particles released between 5 a.m. and 2 p.m. and in the cold period of the year was attributed to diurnal and seasonal changes in the planetary boundary layer height (PBLH) and synoptic circulations. The difference in input PBLH explains well the inter-member variations of simulated radionuclide concentrations. Simulated concentrations were found with the same level of consistency as reported for real case studies.

Seyed Omid Nabavi et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2022-383', Anonymous Referee #1, 02 Aug 2022
  • AC1: 'Comment on acp-2022-383', seyed omid nabavi, 11 Sep 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2022-383', Anonymous Referee #2, 19 Sep 2022
  • AC2: 'Comment on acp-2022-383', seyed omid nabavi, 12 Oct 2022

Seyed Omid Nabavi et al.

Seyed Omid Nabavi et al.


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Short summary
We studied the diurnal and seasonal changes in the dispersion of radionuclides using a four-member ensemble based on FLEXPART and FLEXPAR-WRF. We found that simulations are affected by the spatio-temporal resolution of meteorological inputs, the seasonal and diurnal changes in meteorological conditions, and the simulation code of choice. The preparedness programs for potential nuclear accidents, the FLEXPART community, and radionuclide dispersion modelers may benefit from our findings.