Background radiation in UAE's agricultural topsoil found to be lower than global average

March 13, 2018

A team of researchers in the United Arab Emirates have revealed the presence of a significantly lower level of background radiation present in the nation's agricultural topsoil in comparison to the average level of radiation around the world. The team, led by researchers from United Arab Emirates University, University of Sharjah and Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR), published their findings in Current Nutrition & Food Science. The study is the first of kind and represents the first baseline reference survey of background radiation levels in agricultural land in UAE.

Background radiation occurs due to the presence of naturally radioactive isotopes such as, 226Ra, 232Th, and 40K. Humans receive the majority of radiation dosages from naturally occurring sources which includes soil present on agricultural land. The researchers gathered topsoil samples from 145 different farm locations in the country. Each location was mapped with a geographic information system (GIS). Radiation levels in each sample were measured using high-resolution gamma-ray spectrometry. The resulting annual radiation dosage for individuals estimated from the study were revealed to be half the recommended radiation dosages in both indoor and outdoor environments. The results also show that the distribution of radioactivity levels across the different geographical points is uniform.

While natural background radiation is not necessarily a health risk to humans, it is important in measuring the environmental overall radiation level in a location and maintaining a relevant GIS database. For UAE this is especially critical in key environmental impact assessment studies as the country prepares to operate the Barakah nuclear power plant - the first of its four planned civilian nuclear power plants to operate between 2018-2020 - in an effort to meet the nation's growing energy demand. The current study also paves the way for further investigations on the uptake of radionucleotides by local plants and livestock (and by extension, the accumulated radiation levels within), the relative levels of radiation in chemical fertilizers and further improvements to the UAE's radiation level mapping databases. Researchers in other countries can also use the findings to compare geographic data for radiation levels in their region to the corresponding data in the UAE.
For more information about this study, please visit:


Agricultural Soil; Gamma Ray Spectrometry;232Th; 226Ra;40K; United Arab Emirates, Primordial Radioactivity Levels

Bentham Science Publishers

Related Radiation Articles from Brightsurf:

Sheer protection from electromagnetic radiation
A printable ink that is both conductive and transparent can also block radio waves.

What membrane can do in dealing with radiation
USTC recently found that polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) can release acidic substance under γ radiation, whose amount is proportional to the radiation intensity.

First measurements of radiation levels on the moon
In the current issue (25 September) of the prestigious journal Science Advances, Chinese and German scientists report for the first time on time-resolved measurements of the radiation on the moon.

New biomaterial could shield against harmful radiation
Northwestern University researchers have synthesized a new form of melanin enriched with selenium.

A new way to monitor cancer radiation therapy doses
More than half of all cancer patients undergo radiation therapy and the dose is critical.

Nimotuzumab-cisplatin-radiation versus cisplatin-radiation in HPV negative oropharyngeal cancer
Oncotarget Volume 11, Issue 4: In this study, locally advanced head and neck cancer patients undergoing definitive chemoradiation were randomly allocated to weekly cisplatin - radiation {CRT arm} or nimotuzumab -weekly cisplatin -radiation {NCRT arm}.

Breaking up amino acids with radiation
A new experimental and theoretical study published in EPJ D has shown how the ions formed when electrons collide with one amino acid, glutamine, differ according to the energy of the colliding electrons.

Radiation breaks connections in the brain
One of the potentially life-altering side effects that patients experience after cranial radiotherapy for brain cancer is cognitive impairment.

Fragmenting ions and radiation sensitizers
The anti-cancer drug 5-fluorouracil (5FU) acts as a radiosensitizer: it is rapidly taken up into the DNA of cancer cells, making the cells more sensitive to radiotherapy.

'Seeing the light' behind radiation therapy
Delivering just the right dose of radiation for cancer patients is a delicate balance in their treatment regime.

Read More: Radiation News and Radiation Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to