Radon Levels Measured at a Touristic Thermal Spa Resort in Montagu (South Africa) and Associated Effective Doses

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Abstract

Radon activity concentrations (in water and in air) were measured at 13 selected locations at the Avalon Springs thermal spa resort in Montagu (Western Cape, South Africa) to estimate the associated effective dose received by employees and visitors. A RAD‐7 detector (DURRIDGE), based on alpha spectrometry, and electret detectors (E-PERM®Radelec) were used for these radon measurements. The primary source of radon was natural thermal waters from the hot spring, which were pumped to various locations on the resort, and consequently a range of radon in-water analyses were performed. Radon in-water activity concentration as a function of time (short term and long term measurements) and spatial distributions (different bathing pools, etc.) were studied. The mean radon in-water activity concentrations were found to be 205 ± 6 Bq L−1 (source), 112 ± 5 Bq L−1 (outdoor pool) and 79 ± 4 Bq L−1 (indoor pool). Radon in-air activity concentrations were found to range between 33 ± 4 Bq m−3 (at the outside bar) to 523 ± 26 Bq m−3 (building enclosing the hot spring’s source). The most significant potential radiation exposure identified is that due to inhalation of air rich in radon and its progeny by the resort employees. The annual occupational effective dose due to the inhalation of radon progeny ranges from 0.16 ± 0.01 mSv to 0.40 ± 0.02 mSv. For the water samples collected, the 226Ra in-water activity concentrations from samples collected were below the lower detection limit (~0.7 Bq L−1) of the γ-ray detector system used. No significant radiological health risk can be associated with radon and progeny from the hot spring at the Avalon Springs resort.

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