Science Questions

Why are background radiation levels so much higher in Germany than the UK?

Sun, 18th Oct 2009

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show High Altitude Adventures

Question

Matthew asked:

Why are background radiation levels so much higher in Germany than the UK?

Answer

Kat: -   We spent some time looking at geological maps of Germany in the UK and our conclusion is that a lot of Germany is made of granite and granite releases a radioactive gas called radon.  But the UK isnít completely bereft of radioactive rocks.  A lot of Cornwall, a lot of Wales, quite a lot of the Pennines and some of the Peak district and of course, Edinburgh is made of granite and does release radon.  And there was some research I think a couple of years ago that showed that people Cornwall are actually getting quite a significant dose of radioactivity that does increase the risk of lung cancer in these areas.  And in fact, if you smoke and live in places like Cornwall that are very granity, thatís actually a much more significant impact on your cancer risk than if you just live there and didnít smoke.  So, if you live in Cornwall or anywhere that looks a bit granity, then donít smoke.  But as to whether the background radiation is higher in Germany versus the UK, it really depends where you live.  If you live in a very granity bit of Germany, yes it will be higher, but if you live in a very granity bit of the UK compared to a non-granity bit of Germany then obviously, it will be higher in the UK. 

Multimedia

Subscribe Free

Related Content

Not working please enable javascript
EPSRC
Powered by UKfast
STFC
Genetics Society
ipDTL