Background Radiations and Radon Concentrations in the Dormitories of Secondary Schools in Otuke District, Uganda

TitleBackground Radiations and Radon Concentrations in the Dormitories of Secondary Schools in Otuke District, Uganda
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsOruru, B, Todo, M, Kisolo, A
JournalJournal of Radiation and Nuclear Applications
Date PublishedSeptember 2020
Inhalation of radon and its progeny is the most significant source of natural radiation exposure to human population. Over 50% of the natural background radiation comes from radon (222 Rn). This paper presents measured background radiations, indoor radon concentrations, and calculated effective doses to students due to radon inhalation in the dormitories of five selected boarding secondary schools in Otuke District. Background radiations in the dormitories were measured using survey meters, and radon concentrations determined using activated charcoal canister method. Effective doses were calculated basing on the radon concentrations in the dormitories. Data collection was done for a period of seven months in two shifts;, respectively. Background radiations in counts per second were found to range from 0.8±0.2 to 1.7±0.3 with an average of 1.2±0.2 cps. Radon concentrations were in the range of 18±3 Bq m-3 to 49±5 Bq m-3 with an average of 30±4 Bq m-3 , and the corresponding annual effective doses ranged from 0.14±0.02 mSv y-1 to 0.39±0.04 mSv y-1 with a mean of 0.24±0.02 mSv y-1. Radon concentrations measured were below the World Health Organization action level of 100 Bq m-3 and the mean effective dose was well below 1.0 mSv y-1 which is the dose limit set for members of the public by the International Commission on Radiological Protection. Basing on these set limits, students sleeping in the studied dormitories are not exposed to high doses of indoor radon and are therefore not vulnerable to effects associated with high doses of radiation. It is recommended that, strategies for radon prevention in new dormitories could be put in place to minimize radon concentrations below the values reported, and a national radon survey be done to establish a reference level for Uganda.