Establishment of natural radioactivity baseline, mapping, and radiological hazard assessment in soils of Al-Qassim, Al-Ghat, Al-Zulfi, and Al-Majmaah

Abstract

Radionuclide species comprising the primordial radioactive decay chains lead by 232Th and 238U, along with their associated daughter and granddaughter decay series, constitute a major fraction of the naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). Gamma-ray radiation emitted by the decay of these NORMs, along with the 40K in the soil, is mainly responsible for the human exposure to external gamma-rays. The radioactivity concentrations in soil samples collected from 138 sites have been determined as part of a survey to produce a radiological map of AL-Qassim, Al-Ghat, Al-Majmaah, and Al-Zulfi regions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The estimated mean values of 238U, 232Th, 40K, 226Ra, and gross α and β activities in the samples were 23.8 ± 11.61, 24.33 ± 17.63, 790 ± 398, 22.83 ± 11.70, 375 ± 205, and 734 ± 344 Bq kg−1, respectively. The radiological risk indices related to the natural radioactivity in the soil samples, i.e., the absorbed dose rate in air, radium equivalent activity, and annual effective dose rate, were estimated to be 58.88 ± 29.21 nGy h−1, 117.1 ± 59.65 Bq kg−1, and 0.07 ± 0.04 mSv year−1, respectively. The determined internal hazard index of the samples ranged from 0.07 to 1.45, with an estimated mean value of 0.4 ± 0.2. The radon concentration in the soil gas ranged from 39 to 508 Bq m−3, with a mean value of 145.0 ± 52.9 Bq m−3.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7

References

  1. Abdi MR, Kamali M, Vaezifar S (2008) Distribution of radioactive pollution of 238U, 232Th, 40K and 137Cs in northwestern coasts of Persian Gulf. Iran Mar Pollut Bull 56:751–757

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Abdullahi S, Ismail AF, Samat S (2019) Radiological characterization of building materials used in Malaysia and assessment of external and internal doses. Nucl Sci Tech 30:46

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Abu Shayeb M, Alharbi T, Baloch MA, Alsamhan RAO (2017) Transfer factors for natural radioactivity into date palm pits. J Environ Radioact 167:75–79

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Alazemi N, Bajoga DA, Bradley DA, Regan PH, Shams H (2016) Soil radioactivity levels, radiological maps and risk assessment for the state of Kuwait. Chemosphere 154:55–62

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Alharbi T, Adel A, Baloch MA, Alsagabi FS, Alssalim AY, Alslamah SA, Alkhomashi N (2018) Natural radioactivity measurements and age-dependent dose assessment in groundwater from Al-Zulfi, Al-Qassim and Al-Majmaah regions. Saudi Arabia J Radioanal Nucl Chem 318:935–945

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Al-Refeai T, Al-Ghamdy D (1994) Geological and geotechnical aspects of Saudi Arabia. Geotech Geo Eng 12:253–276

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Al-Sulaiti H, Regan PH, Bradley DA, Malain D, Santawamaitre T, Habib A, Matthews M, Bukhari S, Al-Dosari M (2010) A preliminary report on the determination of natural radioactivity levels of the State of Qatar using high-resolution gamma-ray spectrometry. Nucl Instr Meth Phys Res A 619:427–431

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Awual MR (2016) Ring size dependent crown ether based mesoporous adsorbent for high cesium adsorption from wastewater. Chem Eng J 303:539–546

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Awual MR, Yaita T, Taguchi T, Shiwaku H, Suzuki S, Okamoto Y (2014a) Selective cesium removal from radioactive liquid waste by crown ether immobilized new class conjugate adsorbent. J Hazard Mater 278:227–235

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Awual MR, Miyazaki Y, Taguchi T, Shiwaku H, Yaita T (2014b) Radioactive cesium removal from nuclear wastewater by novel inorganic and conjugate adsorbents. Chem Eng J 242:127–135

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Awual MR, Yaita T, Shiwaku H, Suzuki S (2015) A sensitive ligand embedded nano-conjugate adsorbent for effective cobalt(II) ions capturing from contaminated water. Chem Eng J 276:1–10

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Awual MR, Miyazaki Y, Taguchi T, Shiwaku H, Yaita T (2016a) Encapsulation of cesium from contaminated water with highly selective facial organic–inorganic mesoporous hybrid adsorbent. Chem Eng J 291:128–137

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Awual MR, Yaita T, Miyazaki Y, Matsumura D, Shiwaku H, Taguchi T (2016b) A reliable hybrid adsorbent for efficient radioactive cesium accumulation from contaminated wastewater. Sci Rep 6:19937

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Awual MR, Alharthi NH, Hasan MM, Karim MR, Islam A, Znad H, Hossain MA, Halim ME, Rahman MM, Khaleque MA (2017) Inorganic-organic based novel nano-conjugate material for effective cobalt(II) ions capturing from wastewater. Chem Eng J 324:130–139

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Bassis A, Hinderer M, Meinhold G (2016) New insights into the provenance of Saudi Arabian Palaeozoic sandstones from heavy mineral analysis and single-grain geochemistry. Sediment Geol 333:100–114

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Benaafi M, Abdullatif O (2015) Sedimentological, mineralogical, and geochemical characterization of sand dunes in Saudi Arabia. Arab J Geosci 8:11073–11092

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Berekta J, Mathew PJ (1985) Natural radioactivity of Australian building materials, industrial wastes and by-products. Health Phys 48:87–95

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Dovlete C, Povinec PP (2004) Quantification of uncertainty in gamma-spectrometric analysis of environmental samples, IAEA-TECDOC-1401. Int At Energy Agency, Austria:103–126

  19. Durridge Co (2017) User manual, RAD7 Radon Detector. https://durridge.com/.

  20. Eisenbud M, Gesell T (1997) Environmental radioactivity: from natural, industrial and military sources, fourth edn. Academic Press, San Diego

    Google Scholar 

  21. Fujiyoshi R, Sawamura S (2004) Mesoscale variability of vertical profiles of environmental radionuclides (40K, 226Ra, 210Pb and 137Cs) in temperate forest soils in Germany. Sci Total Environ 320:177–188

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. IAEA (1996) Radiation safety. IAEA Division of Public Information, 00725 IAEA/PI/A47E. IAEA, Austria.

  23. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Soil sampling for environmental contaminants. IAEA-TECDOC-1415. 2004, Vinna: IAEA.

  24. ICRP (1990) International Commission on Radiological Protection; Recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection, Publication 60 Ann. Pergamon Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  25. Jabbar A, Arshed W, Bhatti SA, Ahmad SS, Rehman US, Dilband M (2010) Measurement of soil radioactivity levels and radiation hazard assessment in mid Rechna interfluvial region, Pakistan. J Radioanal Nucl Chem 283:371–378

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Lara E, Rocha Z, Palmieri HEL, Santos TO, Rios FJ, Oliveira AH (2015) Radon concentration in soil gas and its correlations with pedologies, permeabilities and 226Ra content in the soil of the Metropolitan Region of Belo Horizonte-RMBH, Brazil. Radiat Phys Chem 116:317–320

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Lee SK, Wagiran H, Ramli AT (2014) A survey of gross alpha and gross beta activity in soil samples in Kinta district, Perak, Malaysia. Radiat Prot Dosimetry 162:345–350

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Lide DR (ed) (1994) Handbook of chemistry and physics, 74th edn. CRC, Boca Raton

    Google Scholar 

  29. Nordic (2000) Naturally occurring radiation in the Nordic countries recommendations. The Flag Book Series, ISBN:91-89230-00-0.

  30. Pitkin AJ, Huffman CA (1986) Geophysical and geological investigations of aerial radiometric anomalies in the Paleozoic Tabuk Formation, in northwestern Saudi Arabia: a preliminary report. Report: 86−259, U.S. Geological Survey.

  31. Saleh H, Abu Shayeb M (2014) Natural radioactivity distribution of southern part of Jordan (Ma’an) Soil. Ann Nucl Energy 65:184–189

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Shahat A, Awual MR, Naushad M (2015) Functional ligand anchored nanomaterial based facial adsorbent for cobalt(II) detection and removal from water samples. Chem Eng J 271:155–163

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Shizuma K, Fujikawa Y, Kurihara M, Sakurai Y (2018) Identification and temporal decrease of 137Cs and 134Cs in groundwater in Minami-Soma City following the accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. J Environ Pollut 234:1–8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Thu HNP, Van Thang N, Loan TTH, Van Dong N, Hao LC (2019) Natural radioactivity and radon emanation coefficient in the soil of Nonh Son region, Vietnam. Applied Geochemistry 104:176–183

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. UNSCEAR (1988) Sources, effects and risks of ionizing radiation. United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation. United Nations Publication, New York, USA

    Google Scholar 

  36. UNSCEAR (2000) Sources and effects of ionizing radiation. United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation Report Vol. 1 to the general assembly with annexes, United Nations New York

  37. UNSCEAR (2008) Sources and effects of ionizing radiation. United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation Report Vol. 1 to the general assembly with annexes, United Nations New York

  38. Yuvi K (1988) Indoor air quality: radon report on a WHO working group. J Environ Radioact 8:73–91

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Zhou P, Li D, Li H, Fang H, Huang C, Zhang Y, Zhang H, Zhao L, Zhou J, Wang H, Yang J (2015) Distribution of radionuclides in a marine sediment core off the waterspout of the nuclear power plants in Daya Bay, northeastern South China Sea. J Environ Radioact 145:102–112

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgment

The author gratefully acknowledges Dr. Naser Alazmi for making the radiological maps (Environmental Radiation Protection Laboratory, Kuwait) and Mr. Muzahir Ali Baloch (Physics Lecturer in the Majmaah University, Saudi Arabia) for sample preparation and data collection.

Funding

The author acknowledges the financial support provided by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology under project No. 35-37.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Thamer Alharbi.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Responsible Editor: Amjad Kallel

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Alharbi, T. Establishment of natural radioactivity baseline, mapping, and radiological hazard assessment in soils of Al-Qassim, Al-Ghat, Al-Zulfi, and Al-Majmaah. Arab J Geosci 13, 415 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12517-020-05420-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • Soil
  • Natural radionuclides
  • 222Rn soil gas
  • Gross α and β
  • Risk assessment