Tools for monitoring of aircraft crews exposure to ionizing radiation
Since 2000, the Ukrainian air transport market has entered a stage of sustainable growth. All growth was due to a multiple increase in international traffic.
Recommendations of the ICRP (International Commission for Radiation Protection) of 1990 recognize that irradiation of the crew of jet aircraft from cosmic radiation should be classified as occupational exposure. According to these recommendations, the European Council has adopted provisions on the protection of crews in the basic safety standards – Directive 96/29/Euratom.
Doses received by aircraft crews, especially at altitudes of 10-11 thousand meters, from cosmic radiation are sufficient for referring to occupational exposure. The greatest contribution to the irradiation of crews is given by the hadron component, which includes protons and neutrons and accounts for more than 50% of the total dose. Fluctuations in solar activity do not significantly affect the relative contribution of different types of particles per dose. Dose components are also relatively stable for different heights at a specific location at normal flight altitudes. Doses from cosmic radiation are much higher (2 or more times) in the region of the poles than in the area of the Earth’s equator.
According to studies conducted under the auspices of the European Commission, average crew doses for airlines from several European countries are within the range of 2 mSv per year. But there is a group of crew members with individual doses exceeding 6 mSv per year.
The specialized legislation of Ukraine does not consider the members of aircraft crews as occupational exposure categories at all.
Regarding the state-of-art of monitoring of Ukrainian aircraft crews exposure to ionizing radiationon, there is certainly lack of information from open sources. It must be recognized that the specialized legislation of Ukraine does not consider aircraft crew members as a category of occupational exposure. Only in the Rules of Medical Supply and Control of Civil Aviation of Ukraine (approved by the Order of the Ministry of Transport of Ukraine № 920 dated 05.12.2005) in section 14.4. “Carrying out radiation reconnaissance”, in which the radiation protection requirements during the radiation reconnaissance are prescribed in a very general form very scarcely (about 10 lines in total).
Undoubtedly, such a situation requires careful study by specialists in the field of radiation protection (in particular, NCRPU, NASU, SNRIU, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Transport, and others) in order to develop specific measures to monitor and normalize this radiation factor. To begin this work, it is necessary to consider, first of all, the necessity to include exposure of aircraft crew members to cosmic radiation to the category of occupational exposure.
Work plan and results
- Rationale and justification of work.
- Studying the data on distribution of personnel of Ukrainian aircraft crews by companies, maximum heights of flight, geographycal coordinates, flight time, etc.
- Reviewing and selecting the available tools (methods and software) to estimate radiation doses during the flight.
Organization and conducting of measurements with available gamma-neutron dosimeters.
- Calibrating the dosimeters used during flight in laboratory conditions, comparison with other comprehensive dosimeters.
- Studying the available computer tools and sources for acquiring flight profile data (altitude and geo coordinates with a certain step, for example, 10 or 50 km) by flight number.
- Studying the available computer tools and sources for acquiring the solar activity/
- Development technical requirements, technical offers and software (SaaS, mobile application, other) to calculate additional flight exposure of crew members and passengers by a flight number specified.
- Organization of the system for monitoring and accounting of personnel doses. Introduction of the radiation factor into the nomenclature of working conditions for aircraft crew members.
- Conclusions and recommendations.
- Institute for Radiation Protection, Kyiv, Ukraine, http://rpi.kiev.ua/en/home/