Radon in natural waters : Analytical Methods; Correlation to Environmental Parameters; Radiation Dose Estimation; and GIS Applications

Abstract: Investigations of radon in natural water and its relation to physical and chemical parameters are outlined in this thesis. In particular, a method for measuring 222Rn in water at low concentrations (~20 mBq.l-1) is described, followed by discussions concerning the design and its application to study both radon and parameters influencing radon levels in natural waters. A topic considered is the impact of fluoride and other aquatic parameters on radon in water. Moreover, variables such as uranium series radionuclides and stable elements in water, bedrock and sediment radioactivity and geology are investigated in two case studies. This was performed by employing radiometric-, chemical-, statistical- and GIS & geostatistical- analyses. The general water chemistry and presence of some elements such as fluoride was observed to influence radon levels in water. Health aspects of radon in drinking water are discussed based on radiation dose assessments. The radiation doses are compared with and added to doses incurred from ingestion of uranium, radium and polonium isotopes in drinking water and inhalation of radon in air in order to estimate total exposures for different age categories. The results may have a potential for future epidemiological studies.