Ionizing Radiation in Concrete and Concrete Buildings Empirical Assessments

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: One of the major issues with radiation from the natural isotopes 40K, 226Ra (238U) and 232Th and their decay products is the forthcoming legislation from the European Commission in relation to its Basic Safety Directive (2014). The European legislation is mandatory and could not be overthrown by national legislation. Hence, even though the BSS is still a directive it is foreseen as becoming a regulation in due time.The reference value of the natural isotopes, from a radiation point of view, set for building materials is 1 mSv per year (EC, 2014). Earlier recommendations (The Radiation Protection Authorities in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, 2000) within the Nordic countries set an upper limit at 2 mSv per year of radiation from building materials.The main objective within the frame of the thesis was to investigate gamma radiation in relation to Swedish aggregates and their use as final construction products and the applicability and use of a model (EC, 1999) for building materials to calculate the effective dose within a pre-defined room. Part of the thesis also investigates different methodologies that can be used to assess the radiation in a construction material made up of several constituents (building materials) and aims to show that for some purposes as for the construction industries (precast concrete), that a hand-held spectrometer can be used with good accuracy, even though the object is limited in thickness and size. Secondly, the author proposes a simplified way of assessing the radiation in a construction material by use of correlation coefficient of a specified recipe by use of a hand-held spectrometer. Moreover, an understanding of the different building materials´ contribution to the finalized construction product, e.g. concrete is demonstrated, and how to achieve a good control of the radiation levels in the concrete building.