Radiological protection requirements with regard to cosmic ray exposure during air travel

Abstract

Cosmic radiation in aviation has been a subject of real concern for decades, and measurements have been performed by many governments, airlines companies, and scientists for several years. In addition, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) reports on cosmic radiation in aviation provided updated guidance on how to view and to protect the exposure of aircraft crew and astronauts to cosmic rays and highlighted some tools that can be used to assess the dose received during air travel. Still, human activities in the space or at high altitude grow continuously, and exposure to cosmic radiation then remains a concern of international community. Evaluation of effective dose received during air travel for some selected routes confirmed that transpolar routes are the most exposed to cosmic radiations and the dose received by frequent flyers can easily reach 10 mSv (per 700 h flying time per year). By analyzing the obtained data, it was clearly evidenced that the most effective options to reduce exposure from cosmic radiation include a management system of flights where no fixed route is set for aircraft crew, a solution that had not been published before, and the adjustment of flight rosters by controlling the dose of aircraft crew in comparison with the reference level. It was also clear as the outcome of the present study that the duration of the flight, the corresponding dose from cosmic rays, and an excess risk of radiation-related cancers are independent functions as it has been demonstrated from the available epidemiological data. It is therefore recommended to disseminate information about cosmic radiation in order to favor informed decision making by all concerned stakeholders including aircraft crew, frequent (for personal reason or professional duties), and occasional flyers.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to the KINS-KAIST program (2018) for financial support and to Dr. W. RUEHM for positive criticisms and suggestions for manuscript improvement. They extend their gratitude to the reviewers and the editor committee of EPJPlus.

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Correspondence to Cebastien Joel Guembou Shouop.

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Guembou Shouop, C.J., Ndontchueng Moyo, M., Nguelem Mekongtso, E.J. et al. Radiological protection requirements with regard to cosmic ray exposure during air travel. Eur. Phys. J. Plus 135, 438 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1140/epjp/s13360-020-00468-8

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