Radiological Risk due to Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials in the Soil of Al-Samawah Desert, Al-Muthanna Governorate, Iraq

Document Type: Original Paper


1 Department of Physics, College of Education for Pure Sciences, University of Babylon.

2 University ofKufa

3 Department of Physics, College of Science, University of Kufa


Introduction: The risk of radioactivity addresses human life directly. The natural rock radioactivity is mainly due to 232Th, 238U), and 40K series. Activities involving blasting, crushing, and processing of rocks into numerous pieces lead to release of radionuclides into the atmosphere in the form of dust particles.
Material and Methods: Sixteen soil samples were collected from various locations of the Al-Samawah desert, Al-Muthanna Governorate, Iraq. The specific activities of 238U, 232Th, and 40 K were measured using NaI(Tl) 3''x3'' gamma-ray spectroscopy.
Results: It is demonstrated that 238U, 232Th, and 40K were 11.53±0.76, 8.70±0.43, and 319.27±4.4 Bq/kg, respectively. The specific activity values were lower than the recommended United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation values. The Hex with the mean of 0.131 ranged from 0.094 to 0.171. The range for D, Raeq, and total AEDE were obtained as 17.468-30.967 nGy/h, 34.956-63.173 Bq/kg, and 0.02-0.038 mSv/y, respectively. Moreover, the means of dose rate, radium equivalent activity, and AEDE were 23.893 nGy/h, 48.549 Bq/kg, and 0.029 mSv/y, respectively. The low mean of Hex, is found to be < 370 Bq/kg.
Conclusion: Results showed that the mean specific activity of 238U, 232Th, and 40K nuclides were lower than the worldwide recommended values. Furthermore, the Hex values for all the soil samples were lower than unity and Raeq as another good indicator was below the value considered as hazard (370 Bq/kg).


Main Subjects

Volume 16, Issue 5
September and October 2019
Pages 323-328
  • Receive Date: 22 September 2018
  • Revise Date: 20 January 2019
  • Accept Date: 22 January 2019