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Environmental Assessment of Natural Radioactivity in Soil Samples

Author(s): Ryuta Hazama

Journal: EnvironmentAsia
ISSN 1906-1714

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 45;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: gamma ray spectrometry | LUSI | mud volcano | radioactivity | building material

The environmental impacts and hazards due to the unstoppable hot mud flow by the East Java ‘LUSI’ Mud Volcano are increasing since its unexpected eruption on May 29, 2006. Analysis should be undertaken, not only to examine its impact on human health and the environment, but also to explore the potential benefits of the mud flow. One may be able to tap the mud flow as a material source for brick and cement. Recently there has been great concern about the health risks associated with exposure to natural radioactivity present in soil and building materials all over the world. In this context, measurements for natural radioactive isotopes such as 238U and 232Th series, and 40K in mud samples were carried out using the HPGe (High-Purity Germanium) detector to determine the re-usability of the mud. 226Ra, 232Th and 40K activity concentrations were found to be 13±1, 15±1 and 111±3 Bq/kg (1 Bq = 1 sec-1), respectively, and the corresponding activity index was found to be 0.16±0.02. These values were compared with previous data and our measured accuracy was improved by a factor of nine at the maximum. Radium equivalent activity, external and internal hazard indices, and annual effective dose equivalent were also evaluated and all were found to be within acceptable limits.
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