- The background radiation level in the UAE’s environment is very low in comparison to most other countries
13 November 2018, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: The Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) has released its first annual report on Radiological Environmental Monitoring in the United Arab Emirates. The report establishes the baseline level of radiation either from naturally occurring or from man-made radionuclides sources in the UAE and reveals that in general the radiation dose rates are very low when compared to most other countries in the world.
The report summarizes the results of the first year of FANR’s comprehensive Radiological Monitoring Program, covering January 1 – December 31, 2015. The program was established as a result of FANR’s role as the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator and its responsibility and authority to monitor radiation levels in the UAE and advise relevant government entities on the radiation aspect of environmental protection, public health, and water and land use.
The objectives of FANR’s radiological monitoring work included surveying and understanding the radiological conditions in the UAE prior to the operation of a nuclear facility, documenting the baseline level of radiation present in the UAE’s environment, determining the source of man-made radionuclides – if found in the environment, and publishing a public report detailing the results of the Radiological Monitoring Program.
As a part of the program’s monitoring work in 2015, 28 vegetation samples, 40 surface soil samples, and ten seawater samples were collected and analyzed at FANR’s environmental laboratory which utilized a 95% confidence level for the laboratory measurements, the international standard for uncertainties in radiological environmental monitoring reports. In addition, the laboratory analyzed 513,798 individual measurements of gamma dose rates from a network of 13 monitoring stations across the UAE and 628 measurements of gamma dose rates taken throughout the UAE using a portable high pressure ion chamber (HPIC).
The analysis of all samples and measurements revealed the presence of naturally occurring radionuclides, as expected and below the reference levels set in FANR regulations. The majority of soil samples also contained low levels of Caesium-137, which was expected and normal given the radioactive isotope’s presence in soils around the world. The reported concluded that, in general, the radiation dose rates in the UAE are very low when compared to most other countries in the world.
Christer Viktorsson, Director General of FANR, said: “Establishing a baseline level of environmental radiation is essential prior to the operation of any nuclear facility, because it provides a reference point to which the results of future monitoring can be compared.”
“FANR’s Radiological Monitoring Program and the development of this first annual report are in line with our responsibility and authority as the UAE’s independent nuclear regulator to monitor radiation levels in the UAE and protect the nation’s public, its workers and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation. Following the analysis and measurements detailed in our first annual report on Radiological Environmental Monitoring, we are to be able to conclude that, in general, the background radiation level present in the UAE’s environment is very low in comparison to most other countries in the world,” added Viktorsson.
FANR, since its establishment, in 2009, has developed and issued regulations and guides to ensure the protection of the public and the environment from radiation risks as per the law, and to support industry to meet those requirements. FANR continuously monitors the radioactivity levels in the UAE environment through its environmental laboratory at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, and through its radioactivity monitoring stations positioned in various locations across the UAE.
Since FANR’s establishment in 2009 it has been working towards the development of a comprehensive Radiological Monitoring Program and the required infrastructure. In 2013 FANR began collecting samples of water and soil for analysis and by 2015 FANR’s environmental laboratory had successfully completed proficiency testing sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).