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  The Radioactive Lightning Rods

The radioactive lightning rods which have been in use in our country since the beginning of the 1970's has been produced in two types with Radium (Ra-226) and Americium (Am-241) origin.

Am – 241 origined radioactive lightning rods emit alpha (a) rays. The access distances of these rays within matter are very short. For this reason it is very easy for them to be armored. Skin, laboratory coats and clothing are each an armor material for alpha rays. Alfa rays have no harm as long as they are not taken into the body through direct contact. However, the Americium source inside the lightning rod is harmful under the circumstance that it is held with bare hands and enters inside the body.

Ra – 226 origined radioactive lightning rods emit both alpha (a) and beta (b) rays. Beta rays enter easier than alpha rays. Skin and clothing are not sufficient enough to armor beta rays. In other words, radium origined radioactive lightning rods are harmful to the body due to the beta rays they emit.

Therefore, the Atomic Energy Organization of Turkey has prohibited the production, installation and use of radium origined radioactive lightning rods as a requirement of the letter number 10700-1485 dated 30.07.2001 and it has been made compulsory that it is dismounted by establishments authorized by the same organization and submitted to the Cekmece Nuclear Atomic Energy Centre.

As for Americium origined lightning rods, only its production has been stopped. However, by taking into consideration the danger that the Palladium matter which covers the source (Am – 241) in Americium origined lightning rods may reach corrosion and leave the radioactive matter in the open and lead to contamination, it is recommended that 10 years after the installation of radioactive lightning rods are dismounted by the Atomic Energy Organization of  Turkey .

It is compulsory that lightning rods which contain Am – 241 still exists or the use has not been prohibited are checked at least once every year.

Under the condition that Amper brand radioactive lightning rods are maintained consistently due to containing the matter Am – 241, they are permitted to be used for 10 years. As we have mentioned above, the checking up of the radioactive unit and/or installation being done once every year by authorized institutes is conducted by the crews of the institutes that are equipped with equipment authorized by the Atomic Energy Organization of Turkey . Our institute holds this authority document and gives maintenance consistent service for all lightning rods.

 

 
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