Radiation Levels in Kerala

  • 20 Mar 2023

According to a recent study, background radiation levels in parts of Kerala are nearly three times more than what had been previously assumed.

The radiation levels: The radiation levels discovered in the present study were measured to be higher than what was assumed before the study was conducted, highlighting the importance of updating and improving estimates on natural background radiation.

  • The study found that the average natural background levels of gamma radiation in India was 94 nGy/hr, roughly 0.8 milli sievert/year.
  • The higher radiation levels in Kollam, Kerala are attributed to monazite sands that are high in thorium.
  • Southern India, because of the presence of granite and basaltic, volcanic rock, has higher levels of radiation from uranium deposits.
  • Previous studies have checked for higher rates of cancer or mortality in areas with high radiation levels and have found nothing out of the ordinary.
  • The higher levels of background radiation found in parts of Kerala do not translate to an elevated health risk.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Specification: Public exposure to radiation shouldn't exceed 1 milli-Sievert every year.

  • Workers in nuclear plants or those exposed due to their occupation shouldn't be exposed to over 30 milli-Sievert every year.
  • The authors of the study note that the body is accustomed to higher doses of radiation and that the limits set by the IAEA are extremely conservative and reflect abundant caution.

Gamma radiation: Radiation can come from anywhere, including inside our bodies or from the constituents of matter.

  • Gamma rays, a type of radiation that can pass unobstructed through matter, are generally harmless unless present in large concentrated doses. (Note: Gamma rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation, with the highest frequency and energy in the electromagnetic spectrum. They are produced by the decay of atomic nuclei, nuclear reactions, and other high-energy processes in the universe).

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is an international organization that promotes the peaceful use of nuclear energy and technology and works towards preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. It was established in 1957 and is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.