Radiation Sources at Home: What to Do and How to Prevent Hazard

A radiation source found in someone’s house can cause exposure of its residents who will not suspect anything to deadly doses. This has happened more than once in different countries: Brazil (Goiania), Ukraine (Kramatorsk), Estonia (Tammik), etc.

Today, the radiation situation in Ukraine is normal, and regulatory control is effective. However, from time to time there are still cases when abandoned radiation sources are detected in buildings and private houses: Gammarid 192/12 radioisotope device with an iridium source inside, radiation sources containing salts of radium-226, RID-1 and KI-1 radioisotope fire alarms with plutonium-239, proprietary calibration sources for DP-5, DP-12, DP-11 dosimeters, radioisotope electric cardiac pacemaker with plutonium-238, etc.

These radiation sources most often can be found in private houses due to the lack of knowledge of residents. Metal shells or radiation source containers seem to be an attractive finding for scrap collectors or amateurs who construct something from iron at home. So, radiation sources are left in summer houses, garages and wain houses among rubbish and move to new owners as an unpleasant “bonus” with the purchase of real estate.

If the owner of such an item realized that he could represent a potential hazard, he should find out if this is really so. This can be done by measuring the radiation dose near the likely source. However, a household dosimeter of a non-expert will not help: only an expert can correctly interpret its indexes. The room should be surveyed in accordance with clear methodologies. In many cases, it is impossible to do without identifiers of radionuclides, radiometers, smears from surfaces to assess unfixed surface radioactive contamination, etc.

A full survey to find radiation sources can be carried out by the Testing Center of the State Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety. The center uses certified equipment from the world’s best manufacturers (CANBERRAPACKARD, Thermo Fisher Scientific Messtechnik GmbH, LUDLUM MEASUREMENTS INC, SPC Atomtech, BertinInstruments, ORTECAmetec, etc.). Experts of the Measurement Center have repeatedly taken part in exercises to identify abandoned radiation sources and were involved in measurements during the elimination of accidents with radiation sources.

Residents of Kyiv can order a full survey of houses, apartments, offices, garages, land plots, vehicles, etc. in order to detect, confine and identify radiation sources. Based on radiation survey results, the SSTC NRS Measurement Center provides a test certificate and a detailed report (at customer’s request).

You can order the service by filling the form at the link