How Residents of Dnipropetrovsk Region Are Aware of Radiation Source Threats? Poll Results

The Kyiv International Institute of Sociology polled residents of the Dnipropetrovsk region for two weeks at the request of the Chornobyl Institute for Research and Development. The aim of the study was to clear up awareness of region residents of the hazard represented by abandoned radiation sources.

The results of the poll within the STEP to Safety campaign showed a sufficiently high level of awareness: 99% of respondents completely agreed or rather agreed with the statement that radiation of sources is extremely hazardous to health, and in some cases to life. Only 1% of people were not sure.

Similarly, almost common (95%) was the belief that a person does not feel radiation effects when he/she is in contact with a radioactive source. 2% had the opposite opinion, another 3% did not know the exact answer to this question.

Similarly, respondents responded to the statement that radiation sources can look different and do not always have appropriate hazard markings, so special equipment is required to detect them. 95% of respondents agreed with this thesis, while 2% did not agree, and 4% were doubtful about the answer.

71% of Dnipropetrovsk residents believe that they know what signs indicate that an object is a radiation source. The most common answers were: indexes of measuring instruments (50%) and special marking (44%). 7% also named glow in the dark.

Men more often (77%) named any radioactivity sign than women (66%). Younger people (18-35 years old – 76%) and middle-aged people (36-69 years old – 72%) were also more informed than older people (52%, 70 years old and older). As for the place of residence, residents of towns and urban-type settlements know at least one sign of radiation sources better (80%) than those who live in villages (56%) and in the regional center (58%).

When respondents were asked to name radiation sources, the answers were not so unanimous. Most often respondents mentioned nuclear power plants, radioactive ore mining enterprises, nuclear fuel, radioactive waste storage or disposal facilities, radioactive elements and their isotopes: uranium, strontium, radium, polonium, etc.

In addition, respondents mentioned medical examinations (X-ray, fluoro- and computed tomography), solar and space radiation, sensors with radioactive isotopes.

However, listed sources included innocent objects from the viewpoint of radiation hazard: computers, mobile phones, TV sets, microwave ovens, cell towers, Wi-Fi routers, mercury, fluorescent lamps, and even batteries.

Moreover, respondents have such misunderstanding regardless of their gender, age group, type of settlement, knowledge or lack of knowledge of what radiation source is.

The poll covered 504 respondents from 18 and older. 44% were men, 56% were women.

The STEP to Safety information campaign, within which the poll was conducted, is implemented in the Dnipropetrovsk region and aimed at increasing public knowledge about the hazard of abandoned radiation sources and encouraging voluntary surrender of such sources. We remind that that there is no criminal liability for voluntary surrender of radiation sources.

According to the Dnipro News and Dnipro Bridge.