Journal of Medical Physics
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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 35  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 48-53

Measurement of gamma radiation levels in soil samples from Thanjavur using γ-ray spectrometry and estimation of population exposure

1 Institute for Ocean Management, Anna University Chennai, Chennai - 600 025, India
2 Department of Physics, AVVM Sri Pushpam College, Poondi, Thanjavur - 613 502, India
3 Environmental Survey Laboratory, Health Physics Division, MAPS, Kalpakkam - 603 102, India

Correspondence Address:
B Senthilkumar
Institute for Ocean Management, Anna University Chennai, Chennai-600 025, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-6203.55966

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This study assesses the level of terrestrial gamma radiation and associated dose rates from the naturally occurring radionuclides 232 Th, 238 U and 40 K in 10 soil samples collected from Thanjavur (Tamil Nadu, India) using g-ray spectrometry. The activity profile of radionuclides has clearly showed the existence of low level activity in Thanjavur. The geometric mean activity concentrations of 232 Th, 238 U and 40 K is 42.9±9.4 -1 , 14.7±1.7 -1 and 149.5±3.1 -1 respectively are derived from all the soil samples studied. The activity concentration of 232 Th, 238 U and 40 K in soil is due to the presence of metamorphic rocks like shale, hornblende-biotite gneiss and quartzofeldspathic gneiss in these areas. Gamma absorbed dose rates in air outdoors were calculated to be in the range between 32 nGy.h -1 and 59.1 nGy.h -1 with an arithmetic mean of 43.3 ±9 nGy.h -1 . This value is lesser than the population weighted world-averaged of 60 nGy.h -1 . Inhabitants of Thanjavur are subjected to external gamma radiation exposure (effective dose) ranging between 39.2 and 72.6 μSv.y -1 with an arithmetic mean of 53.1±11 μSv.y -1 . The values of the external hazard index determined from the soil radioactivity of the study area are less than the recommended safe levels.

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