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January 16, 2019, Ethiopian Radiation Protection Authority and the new emerging Salale University have signed MOU to enhance cooperation in different research programs and activities that are parallel with the major existence of the institutions.

Director General of ERPA Ato Solomon Getachew, President of Salae University Dr. Genanew Goffe, and other responsible bodies from both parties have discussed on the applicability of the MOU to achieve its objectives that are focused on the creation of awareness, practical training, regular communication and information exchange on the condition of radiation source, measurement taking, conducting cooperative research on radiation area and sharing data or measuring equipment for research purpose.

Dr, Genanew Goffe, president of the university said, as the university is new, it needs the cooperation of ERPA on laboratory instruments to give practical training for the students and researchers on the area f radiation.

ERPA is also interested to give practical training and laboratory assistance for researchers and students of the university who are in need to conduct a research on radiation source. And also the authority wants to conduct cooperative research and develop it with different symposium which can be organized by the university, said Ato Solomon, Director General at ERPA.

Finally both parties have discussed to actively benefit from the conducive environment of the university as it is surrounded by different industries which use radioactive materials for their production. Such environment will help researchers to get data for their research findings.


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Flying and Health

People travelling in aircraft may be exposed to more ionizing radiation than they would be exposed to on the ground. The increased exposure occurs because the Earth’s atmosphere provides less protection from cosmic radiation at the typical cruising altitudes of commercial aircraft, which are usually between 7 000 and 12 000metres.

What is cosmic radiation?

All living organisms are exposed to ionizing radiation on a continuous and daily basis. It is in the food we eat, the air we breathe and the buildings we live in. This type of exposure is referred to as background radiation. The two main sources of background radiation include radioactive materials, such as uranium in the natural environment and cosmic radiation from outer space. There is considerable variation in the background radiation levels throughout the world. The world average is 2.4mSv per year and the average Australian background radiation dose is around 2mSv each year.  As altitude increases, the cosmic radiation component increases. The important part of a flight from an overall cosmic radiation exposure perspective is the period of flight cruising, typically involving altitudes between 7000 and 12000metres.  Latitude – the distance from the equator – also has an influence on the cosmic radiation exposure level. Exposures increase the further the flight path is away from the equator.


 Sources and exposures

Cosmic radiation is mainly in the form of particles from outer space. Some contribution also occurs from the sun, together with solar particle events. Solar particle events are rare occurrences that can result in higher exposures for short periods of time. The earth’s atmosphere offers considerable protection from cosmic radiation, such that at ground level only small exposures occur. Because Australia has the lowest elevation of any continent, background cosmic radiation at ground level is low.

It is also possible for people who fly very frequently, for example 10-20 hours per week on long haul flights to approach and exceed a 1mSv per year dose. For pregnant travelers and aircrew, the Australian and international guidance is that the unborn child should be treated in broad terms as a member of the public.

The public dose limit is 1mSv. Radiation exposure to the unborn child of less than 1mSv above background levels will not lead to a significant increase in risk associated with radiation-related health effects. The table below provides some indication of doses for a number of routes and also indicates flying hours and number of flights taken to achieve a 1mSv dose


 What are the health effects for casual flyers and aircrew?

Large studies involving the health of pilots and aircrew have shown no detectable association with an increased risk of cancer that might be expected to arise from radiation exposure. Exposures of aircrew to cosmic radiation are typically less than a quarter of the occupational dose limit of 20mSv per year – around 1.8mSv per year for those involved in domestic routes, and around 4mSv per year for those involved in international flight routes.

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