Marine pollution bulletin | 21 Feb 2016
H Al-Ghamdi, A Al-Muqrin and A El-Sharkawy
The levels of natural radioactivity have been investigated in some Saudi Arabian Gulf coastal areas. Sampling sites were chosen according to the presence of nearby non-nuclear industrial activities such as, the two main water desalination plants in Al Khobar and Al Jubail, and Maaden phosphate complex in Ras Al Khair, to ensure that effluents discharges into the Arabian Gulf didn’t enhance radioactivity in seawater and shore sediments. Seawater samples were analyzed for radium isotopes (Ra-226 & Ra-228) and measured by gamma spectrometry using high purity germanium detector, after radiochemical separation of the isotopes by co-precipitation with MnO2. Shore sediment samples were analyzed for (226)Ra, (228)Ra ((232)Th), (4)°K and (137)Cs using gamma sepectrometry. A small variation was observed in the activity concentrations of the investigated radioisotopes, and the activity levels were comparable to those reported in literature. Quality assurance and methods validation were established through the efficiency calibration of the detectors, the estimation of uncertainties, the use of blanks, the analysis of standard reference materials and the intercomparison and proficiency tests. Radiological hazards were assessed, and the annual effective dose had an average value of 0.02mSv. On the basis of the current results, we may conclude that any radiological hazards to the public visiting these shores are not expected.
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