Determination of primordial radionuclide concentrations in UAE groundwater using high-resolution gamma-ray spectrometry

Rahaf Ajaj, Nasser Shubyar, Yazeed Alashban, Samar El-Sayed, Tamar Salah, Mohammed A.Salem Al Yafei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Groundwater is the most valuable resource in arid regions, such as UAE. Estimations of natural radionuclide concentrations are important to evaluate the potential risks to the public. In this study, the activity concentrations (ACs) of naturally occurring radioactive materials in groundwater from wells across UAE were determined using gamma spectroscopy. Forty groundwater samples were collected from different sites across UAE and measured using gamma-ray spectrometry technique. The samples were collected from agricultural areas, which represents a small area of the UAE. The AC of 226Ra ranged from 2.61 ×10-1 to 4.14 ×10-1 Bq/L, with a mean value of 3.37 ×10-1 ± 0.063 Bq/L. For 232Th, the AC ranged from 1.55 ×10-1 to 2.93 ×10-1 Bq/L, with a mean value of 2.24 ×10-1 ± 0.056 Bq/L. The mean ACs for 226Ra and 232Th were lower than the recommended limit of 1 Bq/L by the World Health Organization (WHO). The AC of 40K ranged from 3.24 to 6.8 Bq/L, with a mean value of 5.0 ± 0.122 Bq/L. Similarly, the mean AC for 40K was lower than the WHO-recommended limit of 10 Bq/L. The absorbed dose rates of 5.0 ×10-1 nGy/h and annual effective dose rates of 6.2 ×10-1 µSv/year were found to be lower than the WHO-specified average limit. The internal and external hazard indexes were below the UNSCEAR-recommended threshold, indicating no significant health risks to the public.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)923-928
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Gamma-ray spectrometry
  • Primordial radioactivity levels
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Water samples

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Pollution
  • Spectroscopy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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