Georgia has geological formations with high uranium content, and several buildings are built with local materials. This can create potentially high radon exposures. Consequently, studies to mitigate these exposures have been started. This study presents a preliminary investigation of radon in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. An independent radiological monitoring program in Georgia has been initiated by the Radiocarbon and Low-Level Counting Section of I. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University with the cooperation of the Environmental Monitoring Laboratory of the Physics/Health Physics Department at Idaho State University. At this initial stage the E-PERM systems and GammaTRACER were used for the measurement of gamma exposure and radon concentrations in air and water. Measurements in Sololaki, a densely populated historic district of Tbilisi, revealed indoor radon (222Rn) concentrations of 1.5–2.5 times more than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency action level of 148 Bq m−3 (4 pCi L−1). Moreover, radon-in-air concentrations of 440 Bq m−3 and 3,500 Bq m−3 were observed at surface borehole openings within the residential district. Measurements of water from various tap water supplies displayed radon concentrations of 3–5 Bq L−1 while radon concentrations in water from the hydrogeological and thermal water boreholes were 5–19 Bq L−1. In addition, the background gamma absorbed dose rate in air ranged of 70–115 nGy h−1 at the radon test locations throughout the Tbilisi urban environment.
* Radiocarbon and Low-Level Counting Section of I. Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, 3, I. Chavchavadze Avenue, Tbilisi, 0128, Georgia; † Savannah River National Laboratory, Environmental Science and Biotechnology, 773-42A, Savannah River Site, Aiken, SC 29808; ‡ Idaho State University, Department of Physics/Health Physics, Campus Box 8106, 785 South 8th Avenue, Pocatello, ID 83209; § Idaho Accelerator Center, 150 Alvin Ricken Drive, Pocatello, ID 83201; ** Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, NE, MS F03, Atlanta, GA 30341.
For correspondence contact: Eduardo B. Farfán, Environmental Science and Biotechnology, Savannah River National Laboratory, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Savannah River Research Campus (999-W/360), 227 Gateway Drive, Aiken, SC 29803, or email at Eduardo.Farfan@srnl.doe.gov.
(Manuscript accepted 10 May 2008)