13-18 May 2018
Casino Conference Centre
Europe/Prague timezone

Environmental radioactivity studies in Kabul and northern Afghanistan

16 May 2018, 08:30
15m
Marble Hall (Casino Conference Centre)

Marble Hall

Casino Conference Centre

Reitenbergerova 4/95, Mariánské Lázně, Czech Republic
Verbal Radionuclides in the Environment, Radioecology RER 2

Speaker

Prof. Clemens Walther (Institute for Radioecology and Radiation Protection, Leibniz Universität Hannover)

Description

Enhanced environmental radioactivity was reported for some spots of the Kabul suburbs
during the Soviet era. As residential houses have been built in these places, 51 soil and
rock samples as well as 51 all-purpose water samples were collected in three phases and
measured in order to quantify the primordial isotopes and daughter nuclides of the respective
decay chains and possible contamination by manmade radionuclides. For the
rocks and soil samples gamma spectroscopy was used as main technique, while ICP-MS
and ICP-OES were used as main technique for water analysis. Furthermore, alpha spectroscopy, μ-XRF, PXRD, TOF-SIMS and LSC were used to verify the gamma spectroscopy and ICP-MS results. Activity concentrations in soil and rocks ranged between 160 to 28600 Bq/kg, 73 to 383000Bq/kg, and 270 to 24600 Bq/kg for uranium, thorium, and
potassium, respectively, all measurement methods did not indicate any anomalies and
identified the samples as samples high in natural radioactivity exhibiting a thorium containing
cheralite mineral structure. Uranium and thorium concentrations in waters ranged
from 0.01ppb to 26 ppb and from 2 ppb to 150 ppb, respectively, no considerable amounts
of lead and radium were detected. Most of the investigated waters are safe to drink, some
exhibit element concentrations exceeding the national and international recommended
values 1.

To assess the level of hazardousness imposed by the enhanced activity in the living
spaces further, radon gas concentrations in eight basements, four living rooms and
four caves from different locations in Kabul and Panjsher, Afghanistan, were measured
using eight active radon exposure meters recently developed by the Helmholtz Center in
Munich, Germany [2]. The two-phase measurements lasted from a week to a year. In the first
phase of measurements which lasted one week, the mean activity concentrations ranged
from 6 to 120Bq/m3 and 25 to 139Bq/m3 for the basements and caves, respectively. In
the second phase of measurements which lasted one year, the mean activity concentrations
ranged from 33 to 2000 Bq/m3 and the corresponding effective annual doses calculated
for the inhabitants were in the range between 0.6 and 33.4 mSv. As some of the
values are rather high and exceed the recommended recommendations by IAEA and
ICRP, based on the local conditions a number of simple recommendations has been proposed
for the possible reduction of effective annual dose caused by radon in the measurement
locations.

  1. M. R. Tanha, S. Bister, E. L. Mühr-Ebert, F. Tawussi, A. H. Beate Riebe, S. Schneider, L. Hamann, A. Ikeda-Ohno, M. Schulze, F. R. Khalid, M. A. Storai and C. Walther, Elevated natural radioactivity in the Kabul area – a radioecological study of rock, soil and drinking water, submitted (2018).
  2. M. R. Tanha, J.-W. Vahlbruch, B. Riebe, J. Irlinger, W. Rühm, F. R. Khalid, A. Storai and C. Walther, Measurements in Afghanistan using an active radon exposure meter and assessment of related annual effective dose, Radiation Protection Dosimetry 178 (2018), 1-9.

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Sampling in regions of enhanced natural radioactivity in the Afghan mountains

Primary authors

Dr Mohammad Tanha (Institut für Medizintechnik (IMT), University of Magdeburg, Universitätsplatz 2, 39106, Magdeburg, Germany) Dr Josef Irlinger (Institute of Radiation Protection, Helmholtz Center Munich, German Research Center for Environmental Health Munich, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany) Prof. Werner Rühm (Institute of Radiation Protection, Helmholtz Center Munich, German Research Center for Environmental Health Munich, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany) Dr Fazal Khalid (Afghan Atomic Energy High Commission, Near Silo-e-Markaz, 1001 Kabul, Afghanistan.) Dr Abobaker Storai (Afghan Atomic Energy High Commission, Near Silo-e-Markaz, 1001 Kabul, Afghanistan.) Prof. Clemens Walther (Institute for Radioecology and Radiation Protection, Leibniz Universität Hannover)

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