[ RadSafe ] Radiation Measurements in Planes

Ellars, Charles Charles.Ellars at qsa-global.com
Tue Dec 19 15:24:15 CST 2006

Thanks Ross.
My Rem ball remark was more of a flippant one given the security climate
these days and because I figured someone - at least NASA - would have
researched atmospheric dosimetry.  However, I am going try to get a copy
of that paper as it sounds interesting and could answer some of the
questions raised here.
Thanks again.
Charlie Ellars

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On
Behalf Of Ross Brown
Sent: Tuesday, December 19, 2006 3:56 PM
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Radiation Measurements in Planes

With regard to Charlie Eller's comment on taking a Rem ball on flights,
many such measurements have been made. Transport Canada has done
considerable research on the total exposure at aircrew several years
ago. With the cooperation of the airline union, detectors were placed on
many long-distant flights so that the effects of altitude, routes, sun
spots, etc. could be analyzed. For more information, I would suggest
seeing B.J. Lewis, P. Tune, et al., "Cosmic Radiation Exposures on
Canadian-Based Commercial Airline Routes," Radiat. Prot. Dosim. 86(1),
7-24 (1999)

Depleted uranium was used at flap counterweights on most, if not all,
jumbo jets but in the mid 1990's, some of it was being phased out due to
regulatory and contamination concerns. Tungsten is also a possibility
but it tends to be more expensive. I am not aware of what is currently
being used but the information would be available from the aircraft
manufacturers or regulatory agencies. In any case, exposures to
passengers from depleted uranium would be negligible compared to cosmic
radiation and possibly nuclear medicine shipments or patients on the
flight. Tritium is also used in aircraft emergency exit signs.   

Ross Brown
Ottawa, Canada
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