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Recent studies on the exposure of aircrew to cosmic and solar radiation



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D. O'Sullivan, D. T. Bartlett, P. Beck, JF. Bottollier, U. Schrewe, L. Lindborg, L. Tommasino and D. Zhuo Rad. Prot. Dos. , vol 100 No 1-4 (2002), p 495-498. SOLID STATE DOSIMETRY - Proceedings of the 13th International Conference held in Athens, Greece. July 9-13 2001 (Part 1)


Investigations of the impact of cosmic and solar radiation on aircrew involve many challenges. The great variety of primary and secondary ionising and non-ionising radiation, the wide range of energies involved and the role played by the Earth's atmosphere and magnetic field and the Sun combine to produce a very complicated scenario. These factors are reflected in conditions on aviation routes where exposure to radiation varies with altitude, latitude and stage of solar cycle. The great increase in air travel and consequent rise in numbers of aircrew whose occupation requires them to work in this environment has prompted new concern about exposure risks at aviation altitudes. The situation has also been highlighted by the tendency for aircraft to fly at higher altitudes in recent years and by the 1990 recommendations of the ICRP that exposure of civil aircrew be considered as being occupational. These have recently been translated into a legal requirement in the European Union. Several studies have been completed using a very wide range of detectors on subsonic and supersonic routes and new investigations are underway. With the completion of the DOSMAX project in another three years or so, world data for a whole solar cycle will be more complete than ever before. Results indicate that for most routes investigated during solar minimum, aircrew are unlikely to receive doses in excess of 6 mSv.yr-1.