Health physics

Comparative measurements of the external radiation exposure in a 137Cs contaminated village in Belarus based on optically stimulated luminescence in NaCl and thermoluminescence in LiF.

PMID 23111521


Laboratory studies have shown that ordinary household salt (NaCl) exhibits several promising properties for retrospective dosimetry; e.g., a linear dose response and a low detection limit, down to a few mGy or even less. In an attempt to test NaCl as a dosimeter outside the laboratory, the first results from the use of NaCl as a dosimeter under normal environmental conditions are reported here. For this purpose, special dosimeter kits with NaCl and lithium fluoride (LiF) chips were designed. The dosimeter kits were positioned at different locations in a Chernobyl Cs-contaminated village in Belarus during the summers of 2008, 2009, and 2010. The results from the two luminescent detectors were also compared with those of measurements carried out with a handheld 75 cm NaI(Tl) detector and with a 8 dm high pressure ionization chamber. The radiation level in the village was inhomogeneous, and depending on the type of house and countermeasures carried out, the ambient dose rate inside and around the houses varied between 0.05 μSv h and 0.50 μSv h. Based on the different measurements, the annual external effective dose to a hypothetical adult population in the village was estimated as 1-1.5 mSv y. Detector readings from the two luminescent materials correlated relatively strongly to that of the ambient survey NaI(Tl) detector. After three repeated surveys using similar dosimeter kits for prospective dosimetry, the potential use of ordinary household salt as a complement to other techniques for retrospective dose estimations is more evident, and shortcomings of the technique have been identified.