Keywords: radon exposure, tourist caves, effective dose, low radiation, Cuba, natural radionuclides, gamma radiation, tourism
Exposure to radon in tourist caves in Cuba
With the objective of estimating the dose due to radon-222 received by tour guides and other people who work inside some of the most important tourist caves in the Republic of Cuba, measurements of radon concentrations were carried out in four of these caves. All the studied caves are located in Vinales Valley (Pinar del Rio City), a very important tourist area in the country. The relationship among radon concentration, concentration of natural radionuclides inside the caves and geological characteristics of the specific locations was analysed. The most appropriate measurement places were selected based on those criteria: representative points of the geology of the caves, level of gamma radiation (measured with a Scintrex BGS-3 detector), exchange of air, workplaces inside the caves (cafeterias, restaurants and shops) and places more frequently visited by tour guides. The maximum radon concentration was 220 Bq/m³, measured with the radon monitors Alpha Guard PQ2000/MC50 and SARAD RM2000. The obtained results indicated that, in the studied caves, the annual dose is not greater than 1 mSv considering a workyear of 2000 h.