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Determination of Uranium Contents in Soil Samples in AL-Hamdaniya Region Using Solid State Nuclear Track Detector CR-39

  • University of AL-Hamdaniya, Iraq,nineveh
  • university of AL-hamdaniya
  • Al hamdaniya university

Abstract and Figures

Uranium is a common radioactive element in Earth’s crust (soil, rock), so it is important there quantity to be under control. The concentration of uranium in soil varies widely, Depending on the geological location, its concentration in the surface soil vary from 0.1 mg.Kg-1 (ppm) to 20 mg.Kg-1 (ppm) with a world average of 2.8 ppm and the allowed limit that equals 11.7 ppm. The uranium concentration, radon activity, radon concentration, in twenty soil samples collected from AL-Hamdaniya region (East of Mosul city) were measured using the sealed-can technique based on the CR-39 SSNTDs. The estimated values for the uranium activity which equal to radon activity at secular equilibrium were found vary between (581.11-1453.5) mBq with mean value 905.89 mBq, the uranium concentration are between (0.313-0.784) ppm with mean value of 0.488 ppm. All values of the samples under the test are below of allowed limit and world average value.
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Al-Mustansiriyah Journal of Science
ISSN: 1814-635X (print), ISSN: 2521-3520 (online)
Volume 30, Issue 1, 2019
DOI: http: //
Copyright © 2018 Authors and Al-Mustansiriyah Journal of Science. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Research Article
Determination of Uranium Contents in Soil Samples in
Al-Hamdaniya Region Using Solid State Nuclear Track
Detector CR-39
Malik H. Kheder, Hanaa N. Azeez , Muna Y. Slewa, Thoalfiqar A. Zaker
Physics Department, College of Education, Al-Hamdaniya University, IRAQ
*Correspondent Author Email:
A r t i c l e I n f o
Uranium is a common radioactive element in Earth’s crust (soil, rock), so it is important there
quantity to be under control. The concentration of uranium in soil varies widely, depending on
the geological location its concentration in the surface soil vary from 0.1 mg.Kg-1 (ppm) to 20
mg.Kg-1 (ppm) with a world average of 2.8 ppm and the permissible limit 11.7 ppm. The ura-
nium concentration, radon activity, radon concentration, in twenty soil samples collected from
AL-Hamdaniya region, east of Mosul City north of Iraq, were measured using can technique
based on Solid State Nuclear Track Detectors (SSNTDs) CR-39. The estimated values for the
uranium activity which equal to radon activity at secular equilibrium were found to be
(581.11-1453.5) mBq with mean value 905.89 mBq, the uranium concentration are between
(0.313-0.784) ppm with mean value of 0.488 ppm. All values of the samples under the test are
below the allowed limit and worldwide average value.
Keywords: Uranium Concentration, Radon Activity, AL-Hamdaniya Region, CR-39.
c-CR 391453.5) -(581.11 mBq 905.89 mBq     0.784) ppm-(0.313 0.488 ppm
11.7 ppm2.8 ppm
The radiation that we exposed to is referred to
the natural background radiation; it has been a
part of human environment. Its main compo-
nents are cosmic and cosmogenic radiation in
rocks and soil, and natural radioactive sub-
stances [1]. One of the main determinations of
the natural background radiation is the soil ra-
dionuclide activity concentration [2].
The soil is naturally radioactive, because of the
mineral content. The natural radioactivity may
vary considerably from one type of soil to an-
other. Radionuclides are found in the environ-
ment and soil, as naturally occurring elements
and as product of nuclear technologies, one of
these radionuclides is uranium [3].
Uranium like many other minerals is naturally
occurring element that has always been pre-
sent, since the formation of the earth. It has
been deposited on land by volcanic action, dis-
solved by rainfall. All isotopes of uranium are
radioactive, so it is very important there quanti-
ty to be under control [4]. The abundance and
half-life of a uranium isotope determine its
contribution to the radioactivity of natural ura-
nium. It decays by emitting alpha particles, be-
coming nonradioactive lead. Each new radio-
nuclide along the decay chain is called a prog-
eny (or decay product), it is contributed about
seven times more to the total radioactivity of
soil than that of the uranium itself. Uranium is
the proximate source of radium and radon in
Malik et al.
Determination of Uranium Contents in Soil Samples in AL-Hamdaniya Region Using Solid State Nuclear
Track Detector CR-39
the soil and rocks. Radon a progeny of urani-
um, is one of the largest contributors to our
background radiation. Radon is a gas, so can
escape from the ground. We are exposed to
various concentrations of radon depending on a
number of factors, including the amount of
uranium in the soil [5].
Uranium accumulated in humans may have a
dual effect due to its chemical and radioactive
properties. High intake of uranium and its de-
cay products may lead to harmful effects in
human beings [6]. An exposure of about 0.1
mg.Kg-1 of body weight of soluble natural ura-
nium results in transient chemical damage to
the kidneys [7]. The concentration of uranium
in soil varies widely. Depending on the geolog-
ical location, its concentration in the surface
soil vary from 0.1 mg.Kg-1 to 20 mg.Kg-1 with
a world average of 2.8 mg. Kg-1(specific activi-
ty 35 Bq/Kg) [8], and the allowed limit 11.7
ppm [10] .
CR-39 (The plastic SSNTD) detector was used
to find the concentration of uranium in the soil.
Because of the advantage of its high sensitivity,
efficiency, ease and accuracy in determining
the emitting elements of the alpha particles
even if the concentration is very small. These
tracks observed by microscope after enlarge-
ment by etching process [12].
The aim of this research was to determine ura-
nium concentration in twenty soil samples from
AL-Hamdaniya region. The measurement of
uranium concentration is necessary to investi-
gate the concentration in causing various dis-
eases, especially cancer.
Materials and Methodology
Uranium dosimeter techniques were used, the
measurements were made with solid-state nu-
clear track detector (SSNTD) technique as
shown in Figure 1.
Each cup container is 7cm heights and 6.5cm
in diameter and contains (1 × 1) cm square of
CR-39 nuclear track detector fixed with dou-
ble-sided adhesive tape to the bottom of cover
of the cup. The CR-39 detector was capable of
detecting alpha particles of all energies emitted
from radon and its daughters. Some of alpha
particles reach the detector and leave tracks.
The number of tracks is proportional to the av-
erage radon concentration.
Figure 1: A schematic diagram of the sealed-can tech-
nique in soil sample.
Twenty soil samples were collected from vari-
ous locations of AL-Hamdaniya region. These
samples milled, dried, crushed, sieved by 2-
mm mesh, 150 gm of each sample was placed
inside a plastic cylindrical container (uranium
dosimeter) facing a CR-39 track detector. The
distance between the sample surface to the de-
tector is 4 cm and the sample height is 3cm,
then closed for a period of 90 days (from 10
March 2017 to 8 June 2017).
After 90 days the detectors are removed and
etched by NaOH at normality 6.25 N and heat
70 ºC in water bath to reveal the tracks. The
detectors were washed and dried, tracks were
counted using a microscope at a magnification
of 400x.
The track densities were measured using the
following equation [14]:
Where: A is the area of the field of view , is
the total number of tracks and is the total
number of fields of views .
The radon concentration in air space
(Bq/m3) is related to the track density (in
track/cm2) and the exposure time T(in day) by
the formula [15] :
Al-Mustansiriyah Journal of Science
ISSN: 1814-635X (print), ISSN: 2521-3520 (online)
Volume 30, Issue 1, 2019
DOI: http: //
Copyright © 2018 Authors and Al-Mustansiriyah Journal of Science. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Where K is the sensitivity or calibration factor
of CR-39 its value (2.758 × 10-2 Traks. cm-2.
day-1 / Bq.m-3) given by ref. [16].
Radon Rn concentration in the samples calcu-
lated by using the relation [17]
Where Radon concentration in the samples
(Bq/m3),  Radon concentration in air space
(Bq/m3),  decay constant for radon (0.1814
day-1), H height of air space in the can (4 cm),
T exposure time (90 day), L thickness of the
sample in the can (3cm).
The activity of radon in the sample (ARn) could
be determined through relation [19]:
 
Where  activity of radon, V the volume of
sample 󰇛  󰇜 = 99.5 X 10-6 m3, r is can
Uranium concentration can be determined
through the activity of radon by the number of
atoms of radon  using the relation [20]:
 
And by using the equation of secular equilibri-
um (activity of uranium equal activity of ra-
don) one can determine the number of atoms of
uranium in the samples [21]:
 
Where is decay constant of uranium (4.883
X 10-18 sec-1), then the weight of uranium in the
samples could be calculated from [23]:
Where  uranium mass number 238U, 
Avogadro number (6.02 X 1023 atom / mol)
Uranium concentration then can be calculated
Where uranium concentration in (ppm),
mass of samples which is used in gram (150
Results and Discussion
The results of the track density, radon concen-
tration, and uranium activity, uranium weight
in sample, uranium concentration, for twenty
soil samples are presented in Table 1.
The calculated values for radon concentration
in soil samples are in the range (5840.3-
14608.5) Bq/m3 with mean value of 9104.52
Bq/m3, the radon activity were found vary be-
tween (581.11-1453.5) mBq with mean value
905.89 mBq which equal to specific activity of
6.04 Bq/Kg by dividing activity on sample
mass in Kg (0.150 Kg), the uranium concentra-
tion (0.313-0.784) ppm with mean 0.488 ppm.
Where the min values found in the sample
no.21 Al-Hamdaniya apartments and max val-
ues in sample no.2 Karamlis apartments, All
values of the samples under the test are below
of allowed limit 11.7 ppm, and world average
value 2.8 ppm. In (Table 2), compression with
some other measurements in Iraq, show that the
estimated results are less than these measure-
ments, the area under study is safe for life from
uranium concentrations.
Figure 2 the variation of the values of the ura-
nium concentration in the samples, its vary
from one sample to another due to uranium
content in sample.
In Figure 3 a good positive correlation (1.00)
has been obtained between the uranium con-
centration and the radon concentration in soil
samples. It is indicate that the radon concentra-
tion will increase as the content of uranium in-
Malik et al.
Determination of Uranium Contents in Soil Samples in AL-Hamdaniya Region Using Solid State Nuclear
Track Detector CR-39
Table 1: Results of the track density, radon concentration, and uranium activity, uranium weight in sample, uranium
concentration in soil samples.
AU=ARa mBq
WU X10-6
Hamdaniya aprtments
Sanhareeb Q.
Gazino Onil
ALShuhadaa Q.
Akad Q
ALMuaalamin Q.
Sumer Q.
Ashor Q.
Musa Q.
Kalih Q.
Industrial area
AL-Baath Q.
AL-Wahda Q.
Municipal Nursery
Saint Barbara
Eastern Karamlis
Karamlis Apartments
Garden of Karamlis
Table 2: Compression with recent measurements in Iraq
Uranium concentration (ppm)
Present work
2014 ref. [24]
Al-Najaf - Iraq
2013 ref. [25]
Jalawla'a city-Diyala-Iraq
2016 ref. [11]
Tuwaitha - Baghdad - Iraq
2015 ref. [26]
Sulaimani - Iraq
Figure 2: Uranium concentration (ppm) in samples.
Figure 3: relation between radon concentration and
Uranium concentration.
Al-Mustansiriyah Journal of Science
ISSN: 1814-635X (print), ISSN: 2521-3520 (online)
Volume 30, Issue 1, 2019
DOI: http: //
Copyright © 2018 Authors and Al-Mustansiriyah Journal of Science. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
The results of this investigation showed low
presence of uranium in soil samples in AL-
Hamdaniya region. A correlation coefficient of
1.00 between the uranium concentration and
radon concentration in soil sample obtained it
is evident that as the content of uranium in-
creased, the radon concentration as well as in-
crease. The obtained values of uranium con-
centration were found to be less than the max-
imum permissible limit 11.7 ppm and world-
wide average value 2.8 ppm as the recom-
mended by UNSCEAR. Hence the area under
investigation is safe as for as health hazards
and radiological risks due to uranium concen-
tration in the soil.
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... The cause of high rates of cancer may be due to the high levels of radiation resulting from naturally occurring radionuclides (AL-Alawy et al., 2018). In this regard, a lot of research was conducted in Iraq to study the concentrations of radionuclides in the environment due to the possibility of a relationship between high rates of cancer incidence and the concentrations of radioactive nuclei (Abojassim, 2014;Karim & Daroysh HHHameed, 2016;Kheder et al., 2019;Rejah et al., 2019;Taqi & Ali AMAl-Ani, 2017). Yet, the published records are dispersed and required to be compiled for future reference and arranged to provide a baseline map of naturally occurring radioactivity levels in the Iraq environment. ...
... In 2019, Kheder et al. evaluate the uranium concentration in soil collected from 20 different sites in AL-Hamdaniya region located in the east of Mosul utilizing the CR-39 detector. The uranium concentration altered from 0.313 to 0.784 with a mean value of 0.488 ppm and was found to be below the world range in the city (Kheder et al., 2019). In 2019, Al-Gharabi and Al-Hamzawi determined the radon concentration in soil samples collected from 20 regions Afak (Al-Shirtah district), Al-jamieih district, Al-Sinaeiu district, Al-Askari district, Al-Hamad village, Al-Jameih district, Al-Saniya, Al-Wahda district, Afak (Al-Rasul district), Al-Taamim district, Al-Nahda district, Al-Adharayuh district, Afak, Al-Dagharah, Al-Thaqlin district, Sumer, Niffur, Al-Hamza, Al-Forat district and Al-Sahmiya) in Al-Diwaniyah city southern Iraq. ...
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Evaluation of radionuclide concentration in our environment is beneficial in tracking health problems. In Iraq, several studies regarding the assessment of naturally occurring radionuclide concentration have been performed by many researchers around the country. Here we review the studies performed to evaluate the concentration of radionuclides in Iraqi cities in soil, water and plants. The findings show that the radon and radioactive elements in soil samples are below the international standard limits, except in Sulaimany, Al-Dura thermal power plant, and Basrah where elevated amounts of radioactive elements have been recorded. The total mean values of ²³⁸U and ²³²Th in soil were found to be lower than their values in other selected countries and lower than the world mean value suggested by UNSCEAR. Elevated levels of the mean values of potassium concentrations have been noticed. In water, the radionuclide concentrations were below the international standards in Iraqi cities except for Sulaimany, Karbala, Mosul and Najaf cities. The total mean radionuclides concentration in water was below the values recorded in other countries. Elevated radionuclide concentrations in plants have been recorded, especially for ¹³⁷Cs. The results confirm the presence of environmental pollution from potassium in the soils of Iraq, as well as a high concentration of radionuclide in plants, especially the presence of the ¹³⁷Cs in truffles. So, there is an urgent need to purify those regions from radioactive materials.
... Units of equivalent dose are the roentgen equivalent man (rem) and the sievert (Sv). Biological equivalent dose are commonly measured in 1/1000th of a rem (known as a millirem or mrem [1,2,3]. ...
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This study aims to determine the exposure of dentists to radiation resulting from the use of light therapy units and to assess their risk and impact on dental clinics. This study was conducted in private dental clinics in the city of Erbil in northern Iraq. Surveys were conducted to collect information about light-curing units. The results were analysed using the multi-response logistic regression to determine the factors affecting the radiation values of light-curing units. The results of the study showed that five major variables have a major effect by radiation. This is shown with a value of P ≤ 0.05. Typical treatment times with radiant light, with a typical number of daily restorations, may exceed the risk limits for blue light reflected on eyes. This is given that the responding dentists did not protect their eyes with enough blue light .Technology in dentistry requires the operator to have knowledge of basic technical specifications and the safe use of devices and tools routinely used in dental treatment.
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In present study, the technique was used, including nuclear track detector type (CR-39), for appreciative concentrations uranium and radon in soil samples from Baghdad University Campus-AL-Jadiriyah utilizing a prolonged -term with a solid-state nuclear path sensor, a technique for charged particles has been developed., the radon concentrations, effective dose rate and uranium concentrations have measured in soil samples. Eight various venues from soil Baghdad University Campus have appointed. The results indicated variant values about uranium and radon concentrations, the average value for radon gas, effective dose rate and uranium concentrations was found to be 281.59 Bq/cm3, 7.09 mSv/y and 0.01 Bq/mm-2 respectively. All results appeared that concentrations for radon and uranium in soil are infra the permitted limit from (ICRP) agency which are 1100 Bq/m3 and 11.7 (mg. Kg- 1) ppm respectively. All results were comparison with the domestic and worldwide results.
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The essential objective of this study was to estimate ²²²Rn, ²³⁸U, and ²²⁶Ra concentrations of plankton samples, along with the risk indices defined by PAEC, Ep, AED and CPPP. These analyzes were carried out on plankton samples from fifteen-alley air conditioner filters in the old Mosul area. In this analysis, using the cumulative monitoring technique of the PM-355 nuclear track detector. The maximum concentrations of radon, uranium, radium and risk indices were observed in Bableksh (sample 5) alley at 77.77(Bq. m⁻³), 3.74(ppm), 21.46(⁻¹), 0.0084(mWL), 0.3465(WLMY⁻¹), 1.962(mSv.y⁻¹), and 35.31(per 10⁶person). Whereas at Al Hadhira alley the minimum was found to be 39.07(Bq.m⁻³), 2.05(ppm), (10.78⁻¹), 0.00422(mWL), 0.1741(WLMY⁻¹), 0.9856 (mSv.y⁻¹), and 17.74(per10⁶ person. The average concentrations of radon, uranium, radium and, risk indices of all studied alleys were 59.156 ± 10.7 (Bq. m⁻³), 2.803(ppm) ± 0.48, 16.34 ± 4.49(⁻¹), 0.00646((mWL)) ± 0.00011 , 0.2662 (WLMY⁻¹)± 0.0517 , 1.506 (mSv.y⁻¹)± 0.279 , and 27.116 (per 10⁶person)± 5.043 , respectively. Alpha indexes were estimated for all surveyed alleys, in addition to the radioactivity tests and the risk indices. Their values varied between 0.053 and 0.107, with an average 0.081 ± 0.0021. Such levels are significantly smaller than the total dose given by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the effects of atomic radiation, especially at Exposure to ²²²Rn progeny (Ep) which is within the range of 0.2–10 mSv.y⁻¹ (UNSCEAR). Appropriate correlations between radon concentration with uranium and radium concentration (R² = 0.8739 and 0.896) have been identified, respectively. The results revealed that the amount of background radioactivity of the alleys of old Mosul area would be within acceptable limits.
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The research aims to measure the uranium concentration of soil samples collected from different regions are located around the nuclear research center at Tuwaitha to a contamination ratio statement of these regions, which include agricultural residential regions as well as being the regions for livestock of all kinds. The nuclear track detector (CR-39) was used as a method to detect uranium of through calculations depended on comparison with standard samples. Results indicate that the uranium concentration ranged between (1.07 ± 0.46 ppm) and (4.20 ± 0.50 ppm) and with average weighted equal to (2.40 ± 0.22 ppm) , these results are within allowed limit that equals (11.7 ppm).
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In this study, the fission track registration technique with the CR-39 detector are using to determination the uranium concentrations for twenty-eight samples of soil distributed in seven districts in Jalawla'a City in Iraq by depth in 5cm. The uranium concentrations in soil samples measured by using fission tracks registration in (CR-39) track detector that caused by the bombardment of (U) with thermal neutrons from (241 Am- Be) neutron source that has flux of (5 ×103 n cm-2 s-1). The concentrations values were calculated by a comparison with standard samples. The results showed that the maximum value of uranium is (1.280 ppm) in Al-Talea district and the minimum is (0.719 ppm) in Al-Uruba district
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Abstract: The profile of radon (222-Rn) and uranium (238-U) concentrations in15 surface soil samples collected from the three agricultural areas of town Qadafery, Kalar and Zarayan which are located at the east of Sulaimani governorate in Kurdistan Region – Iraq has been determined using solid- state nuclear track detector (CR-39), where Qadafery located in the margin of Suren Mountain, also located in the north of the famous plain of the Middle East region called Sharazoor plain and Zarayan located in the west north of the Sharazoor plain, also its surrounds in another direction by Qaradagh and Barznja mountains. They (Qadafery, Kalar and Zarayan) have been shown that the maximum and minimum values of radon concentration of the air inside the tube were 2242.263±143.152 Bq/m^3 and 154.099±2.579 Bq/m^3, respectively, with average value 741.709±27.234 Bq/m^3 while the maximum and minimum values of uranium concentration are 18.225±12.905 ppm and 1.253±0.233 pmm, respectively, with average value 6.029±2.455 pmm. It appears that higher concentrations of radon and uranium was in soil sample Qadafery_5 and the minimum value was in soil sample Kalar_4 and by comparison with the world values there are some positions in Qadafery and Zarayan with higher level concentrations that is due to the geology information of these regions.
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Solid state nuclear track detectors (SSNTD) are widely used for radon measurements and CR-39 is one of the most popular SSNTD. In this work it was determined the calibration factor for radon concentration measurements through the passive method with CR-39 detectors. The detectors were put in a proper device (an adapted Lucas cell) and exposed to the standard radon concentration through the Pylon Model RN-150 flow through radon gas source. After exposure, the detectors were etched for 5.5 hours in a KOH solution at 80º C in a bath at a constant temperature. The track density was read in an Axiolab – Zeiss optical microscope, with nominal magnification of X10 connected to a video camera and to a personal computer. The calibration factor was obtained through the relation between standard radon concentration, track density and exposure time.
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In this work, Uranium concentrations in groundwater and soil samples from some areas of Al-Najaf city, Iraq were measured solid state nuclear track detector (CR-39) detector technique. The uranium concentration in groundwater samples was found to vary from (1.617782869±0.04342) μgl −1 to (5.079235843±0.137827) μgl −1 , while in soil samples vary from (0.093558±0.000938) ppm to (0.184325±0.017511) ppm. This study showed that levels of uranium concentration in groundwater and soil of study area of were compared with safe limit values recommended by WHO and UNSCEAR below the safe limit .
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Radon concentration, exhalation rate, radium activity and annual effective dose have been measured from baked and unbaked bricks and cement samples commonly used as construction material in the dwellings of Dera Ismail Khan City, Pakistan. CR-39 based NRPB radon dosimeters and RAD7 have been used as passive and active devises. The values of radon concentration for baked, unbaked bricks and cements obtained from passive and active techniques were found in good agreement. Average values of radon exhalation rates in baked, unbaked bricks and cement were found (1.202±0.212) Bq m-2 h-1, (1.419±0.230) Bq m-2 h-1 and (0.386±0.117) Bq m-2 h-1 and their corresponding average radium activity and annual effective dose were found (0.956±0.169) Bq/kg, (1.13±0.184) Bq/kg, (0.323±0.098) Bq/kg and (33.96±5.99) μSv y-1, (40.3±6.51) μSv y-1 and (10.94±3.28) μSv y-1, respectively. Radon concentration, exhalation rate and their corresponding radium activity and annual effective dose were found higher in unbaked bricks as compared to baked bricks and cement but overall values of radon exhalation rate, annual effective dose and radium activity were found well below the world average values of 57.600 Bq m-2 h-1, 1100 μSv y-1 and 370 Bq/kg, respectively.