Laboratory for Low-level Radioactivity.

Laboratory for Low-level Radioactivity

Group leader: Associate Professor Vanja Radolić, PhD

Group members:

    Associate Professor Branko Vuković, PhD
    Assistant Professor Marina Poje Sovilj, PhD
    Assistant Professor Denis Stanić, PhD
    Igor Miklavčić, mag.edu. phys.et politech., lecturer
    Hrvoje Miloloža, mag.edu. phys.et politech., senior laboratory assistant

Mission:

Reduce exposure to naturally occurring ionizing radiation and enhance public awareness of the risks and possibilities, as well as ways of protection against ionizing radiation.

Research area:

Research on natural radioactivity in the environment originating from radon and its short-lived progenies is continuously carried out in houses, schools and kindergartens in all counties of the Republic of Croatia. The aim of these researches is to determine the average annual dose that children and employees receive in the mentioned institutions and to propose measures for its reduction in case of increased values. The new measuring points (locations) are also used to create a radon map of the Republic of Croatia, and the data are also used to update the atlas of natural radiation in the EU. Soil radon and soil permeability are measured and the geogenic radon potential of the space is constructed. The data obtained by multivariate analysis and other statistical tools are correlated with the geological and climatological characteristics of the area during the preparation and analysis of appropriate maps. Radon concentrations in the city water supply are measured and the doses received by the population by drinking that water are calculated. During speleological research, radon concentrations in caves are measured, and radon monitoring in them is designed and implemented for selected caves with a tourist offer. Continuous measurements of radon in the soil continue with the aim of correlating the observed anomalies with seismic activity.
In the next five-year period, it is planned to continue the research of neutron radiation naturally present in the environment (at aviation altitudes), but also artificially created on linear electron accelerators during radiotherapy treatment in hospitals. Exposure of the detector to naturally generated neutron radiation is of particular interest at aviation altitudes, as half of the total annual dose of occupationally exposed persons – pilots and cabin crew – belongs to neutron radiation. In the mentioned period, it is planned to exhibit neutron detectors on a number of international flights. With the aim of better radiological protection of medical staff and reducing the risk of secondary malignant diseases of patients, it is necessary to have a good knowledge of the energies of the photoneutron beam, as well as the geometry of the accelerator bunker space. For this purpose, in addition to experimental measurements and the developed Monte Carlo physical model of simulation of the radiation from the accelerator head and its interaction with the material of the protective bunker of the accelerator, we continue with continuous measurements. The polygon for experimental measurements and computer simulation is the Siemens Oncor 18 MV accelerator in KBC Osijek, as well as its protective bunker. The construction of bunkers is a big problem in the Republic of Croatia because they were not built exclusively for that purpose and are mainly the result of conversion of space, and as such from a radiological point of view are deficient and can have an important impact on the overall irradiation of professionally exposed medical staff.

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