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Gamma radiation doses in three different areas in Sweden

Naturally occurring radiation is a major contributor to the public exposure to ionizing radiation in Sweden. These sources consist mainly of cosmic radiation and terrestrial radionuclides, i.e. the uranium and thorium decay chains and potassium-40. Since the bedrock in different areas has different amounts of natural radionuclides the radiation levels vary over the country. Therefore, the geographic location is an important factor for the radiation environment. However, today people spend most of their time indoors which makes the radiation environment inside dwellings the most important for individual and collective doses. The type of building and construction materials might affect the indoor radiation environment and, thus, the exposure of the public. At the Department of Radiation Physics the radiation environment has been investigated in an urban area compared to a rural area using Thermo Luminescence Dosimeters (TLD). The gamma dose rates were measured to 46 subjects equipped with a dosimeter and in their dwellings. The radon concentration was also measured in each dwelling for comparison with the indoor gamma dose rate. The effect of building materials and type of building were also studied as well as the time spent indoors/outdoors.

No differences were found between the two areas. However, in the urban area, the dose rates in the dwellings were somewhat higher than those received to the persons. Probably due to more stone based building material with a higher concentration of naturally occurring radionuclides in that area. Concrete dwellings showed higher radiation levels than wooden houses. Moreover the dose rates in the apartments were generally higher compared to detached houses, which resulted in higher dose rates to subjects living in the apartments.

The Gävle area, which received a large deposition of 137Cs from the Chernobyl accident, is presently being studied at the Department of Radiation Physics. The aim is to investigate how the higher activity of 137Cs affects the indoor and outdoor exposure, since people spend most of their time indoors.

Page Manager: Johan Spetz|Last update: 6/25/2015
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