Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

Jeffrey Martin, PhD


Coal contains trace amounts of the primary radionuclides 40K, and elements of the 4n (232Th), 4n+2 (238U), and 4n+3 (235U) series including 220Rn and 222Rn. Combustion of coal by electric power and heat plants result in concentration of noncombustible mineral matter, including most of the radionuclides, in the coal ash. The increased radiation due to the concentration of radionuclides is known as technologically enhanced natural radiation. The purpose of this research was to determine the effects of landfilled coal ash on one specific aspect of technologically enhanced natural radiation, radon levels. Soil samples were collected from the ash landfill at Wright Patterson AFB and from several background locations, analyzed using gamma spectroscopy, and the 226Ra activities compared. The landfill 226Ra activity (4.78 ± 1.58 pCi/g) was 2.95 times higher than background (1.62 ± 0.04 pCi/g). Estimated outdoor and indoor radon emanation at the landfill are predicted to be enhanced by the same factor compared to background. Additionally, the indoor radon concentration calculated in a hypothetical structure built on the landfill (11.48 pCi/l) was above the Environmental Protection Agency's action level of 4.0 pCi/l.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number


Included in

Nuclear Commons