Masters student - Ruth-Achieng - Kenya

MSc | University of Nairobi

2024 – 2027

Research Project

Assessing of natural radioactivity, indoor radon levels and occupational exposures: Impact of quarry mining and geothermal explorations in the Kenyan axial rift.


Dr. Geoffrey O. Okeng’o – University of Nairobi

Ruth Achieng is an engineer at the Nuclear Power and Energy Agency, which is Kenya’s Nuclear Power Programme Implementing Organization. She has a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and is currently pursuing a postgraduate course in Nuclear Science and Technology at the University of Nairobi. She has a passion for clean and sustainable energy solutions, key among which is nuclear energy applications. She has gained five years of working experience and demonstrates her commitment to advancing the use of safe nuclear applications and monitoring of occupational exposure to ionizing radiation using her skills, knowledge, and research in the nuclear and radiological field.

In addition to her technical background, Ruth is also dedicated to gender mainstreaming activities to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace and is also well-versed in risk enterprise management. She represents her organization and department as the focal person/champion in both cases.

This study was conducted to determine the radiological hazards and influence caused by anthropogenic activities conducted in volcanic areas. It was carried out in quarry mines in Menengai hills and geothermal prospects in Paka Caldera fields, which form the northern and southern group of calderas within the Kenyan
Rift Valley System. Regions with a history of volcanic activities are closely associated with higher background radiation and the generation of elevated amounts of toxic gases including radioactive radon gas. These are bound to compromise the health of workers and communities living nearby in addition to the activities adversely degrading the environment. Therefore, human activities involving the extraction of resources such as drilling and mining tend to enhance the exposure due to the methods used. The Great Rift Valley is located in an exceptionally unique environmental setting that exhibits the occurrence of geological processes such as mass movements, seismic activity, and volcanism. The region’s rich volcanic history has generated a great deal of interest in the mining and extraction of natural resources.

The investigation, a first of its kind in the region, was aimed at determining: background ionizing radiation levels, extent of naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMs),(238U, 232Th, and 40K), indoor radon levels, and personnel dosimetry measurements in order to evaluate the radiation hazards and risks associated with exposure to radiation enhanced by human socio-economical activities in regions with volcanic activity.

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