A radiation monitoring program in a South African gold mine
Van Schalkwyk, Adelle
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Legislation requires the regular monitoring of all employees exposed to radiation in their work environment. The monitoring of a-radiation, which is emitted by radon gas, was the primary concern of this study. Radon comes from the natural decay of uranium, which is a heavy metal found in all rock and soil. The main objective of this study was to establish a controlled monitoring program through which results could be obtained, captured and studied. The mine monitored in this study had high radiation levels, requiring urgent and effective strategies to reduce employee exposure. The study included five monitoring cycles which yielded comprehensive results. Insight gained from these results made it possible to identify strategies to reduce the high prevalence of exposure in the mine. Results were compiled in a database and then used to predict each employee's annual exposure. The personal history of each employee was also documented in the database. Results revealed that proper administrative and ventilation controls were effective in reducing exposure to radiation in the mining environment. Thus, the hypothesis for this study was proven to be true.
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