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Environments, Volume 6, Issue 11 (November 2019) – 7 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Workers with an active implantable medical device, such as a pacemaker, must be protected against the interference of electromagnetic fields. In many cases, a specific risk assessment is needed in order to guarantee their safety. The international standards of the EN50527 family provide the general methodologies that shall be adopted for such an evaluation. This study presents an example of how the specific risk assessment can be performed, using the in vitro testing/measurements methodology. View this paper.
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Open AccessReview
Control Experiences Regarding Clearable Materials from Nuclear Power Plants and Nuclear Installations: Scaling Factors Determination and Measurements’ Acceptance Criteria Definition
Environments 2019, 6(11), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6110120 - 17 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2777
Abstract
Arpa Piemonte has been carrying out, for a long time, controls on clearable materials from nuclear power plants to verify compliance with clearance levels set by ISIN (Ispettorato Nazionale per la Sicurezza Nucleare e la Radioprotezione - National Inspectorate for Nuclear Safety and [...] Read more.
Arpa Piemonte has been carrying out, for a long time, controls on clearable materials from nuclear power plants to verify compliance with clearance levels set by ISIN (Ispettorato Nazionale per la Sicurezza Nucleare e la Radioprotezione - National Inspectorate for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection) in the technical prescriptions attached to the Ministerial Decree decommissioning authorization or into category A source authorization (higher level of associated risk, according to the categorization defined in the Italian Legislative Decree No. 230/95). After the experience undertaken at the “FN” (Fabbricazioni Nucleari) Bosco Marengo nuclear installation, some controls have been conducted at the Trino nuclear power plant “E. Fermi,” “LivaNova” nuclear installation based in Saluggia, and “EUREX” (Enriched Uranium Extraction) nuclear installation, also based in Saluggia, according to modalities that envisage, as a final control, the determination of γ-emitting radionuclides through in situ gamma spectrometry measurements. Clearance levels’ compliance verification should be performed for all radionuclides potentially present, including those that are not easily measurable (DTM, Difficult To Measure). It is therefore necessary to carry out upstream, based on a representative number of samples, those radionuclides’ determination in order to estimate scaling factors (SF), defined through the logarithmic average of the ratios between the i-th DTM radionuclide concentration and the related key nuclide. Specific radiochemistry is used for defining DTMs’ concentrations, such as Fe-55, Ni-59, Ni-63, Sr-90, Pu-238, and Pu-239/Pu-240. As a key nuclide, Co-60 was chosen for the activation products (Fe-55, Ni-59, Ni-63) and Cs-137 for fission products (Sr-90) and plutonium (Pu- 238, Pu-239/Pu-240, and Pu-241). The presence of very low radioactivity concentrations, often below the detection limits, can make it difficult to determine the related scaling factors. In this work, the results obtained and measurements’ acceptability criteria are presented, defined with ISIN, that can be used for confirming or excluding a radionuclide presence in the process of verifying clearance levels’ compliance. They are also exposed to evaluations regarding samples’ representativeness chosen for scaling factors’ assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Agents: Measurement Methods, Modelling and Mitigations)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Workers with Active Implantable Medical Devices Exposed to EMF: In Vitro Test for the Risk Assessment
Environments 2019, 6(11), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6110119 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2784
Abstract
The occupational health and safety framework identifies workers with an active implantable medical device (AIMD), such as a pacemaker (PM) or an implantable defibrillator (ICD), as a particularly sensitive risk group that must be protected against the dangers caused by the interference of [...] Read more.
The occupational health and safety framework identifies workers with an active implantable medical device (AIMD), such as a pacemaker (PM) or an implantable defibrillator (ICD), as a particularly sensitive risk group that must be protected against the dangers caused by the interference of electromagnetic field (EMF). In this paper, we describe the results of in vitro testing/measurements performed according to the EN50527-2-1:2016 standard, for the risk assessment of employees with a PM exposed to three EMF sources: (1) An electrosurgical unit (ESU); (2) a transcranial stimulator (TMS); and (3) an arc welder. The ESU did not affect the PM behavior in any of the configurations tested. For the TMS and the arc welder, interference phenomena were observed in limited experimental configurations, corresponding to the maximum magnetic field coupling between the EMF source and the implant. The in vitro measurements presented can be considered an example of how the specific risk assessment for a worker with a PM can be performed, according to one of the methodologies proposed in the EN50527-2-1:2016, and can be used as scientific evidence and literature data for future risk assessments on the same EMF sources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Agents: Measurement Methods, Modelling and Mitigations)
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Open AccessArticle
Rainfall Variability across the Agro-Climatic Zones of a Tropical Highland: The Case of the Jema Watershed, Northwestern Ethiopia
Environments 2019, 6(11), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6110118 - 12 Nov 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2696
Abstract
The objective of the study was to analyze the variability of various climate indicators across the agro-climatic zones (ACZs) of the Jema watershed. The variability was analyzed considering mean annual rainfall (MARF, mm), mean daily minimum temperature (MDMinT, °C), and mean daily maximum [...] Read more.
The objective of the study was to analyze the variability of various climate indicators across the agro-climatic zones (ACZs) of the Jema watershed. The variability was analyzed considering mean annual rainfall (MARF, mm), mean daily minimum temperature (MDMinT, °C), and mean daily maximum temperature (MDMaxT, °C). A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was employed to test whether group mean differences exist in the values of the indicated climatic indicators among the ACZs of the watershed. The coefficient of variation was computed to analyze the degree of climate variability among the ACZs. Rainfall and temperature data sets from 1983 to 2017 were obtained from nearby meteorological stations. The effect of climate variability in the farming system was assessed with reference to local farmers’ experience. Ultimately, the values of the stated indicators of exposure to climate variability were indexed (standardized) in order to run arithmetic functions. The MARF decreases towards sub-alpine ACZs. Based on the result of the ANOVA, the two-tailed p-value (≤ 0.04) was less than 0.05; that is, there was a significant variation in MARF, MDMaxT (°C), and MDMinT (°C) among the ACZs. The coefficient of variation showed the presence of variations of 0.18–0.88 for MARF, 0.18 to 0.85 for MDMaxT, and 0.02–0.95 for MDMinT across the ACZs. In all of the indicators of exposure to climate variability, the lowest and highest indexed values of coefficient of variation were observed in the moist–cool and sub-alpine ACZs, respectively. Overall, the aggregate indexed values of exposure to various climate indicators ranged from 0.13–0.89 across the ACZs. The level of exposure to climate variability increased when moving from moist–cool to sub-alpine ACZs. The overall crop diversity declined across the ACZs of the watershed. Nevertheless, mainly because of the rise in temperature, the climate became suitable for cultivating maize and tef even at higher elevations. In order to adapt to the inter-annual variability of the rainy season, the process of adapting early-maturing crops and the use of improved seeds needs to be enhanced in the watershed, especially in the higher-elevation zones. It is also essential to revise traditional crop calendars and crop zones across the ACSz. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Preface: New Solutions Mitigating Environmental Noise Pollution
Environments 2019, 6(11), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6110117 - 06 Nov 2019
Viewed by 2848
Abstract
The increasing attention of the public towards the effects of noise pollution on health pushed the EU to issue the Environmental Noise 49/2002/CE Directive [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Solutions Mitigating Environmental Noise Pollution)
Open AccessArticle
Groundwater Vulnerability and Risk Assessment in A Karst Aquifer of Greece Using EPIK Method
Environments 2019, 6(11), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6110116 - 31 Oct 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2997
Abstract
The aim of this study was the assessment of groundwater vulnerability and pollution risk of the Perivleptos karst aquifer in the northwestern part of Greece. Hence, the EPIK method has been applied within the study area. Additionally, a detailed literature overview has been [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was the assessment of groundwater vulnerability and pollution risk of the Perivleptos karst aquifer in the northwestern part of Greece. Hence, the EPIK method has been applied within the study area. Additionally, a detailed literature overview has been obtained, including the worldwide application of the EPIK method. The hazard map has been developed for the implementation of risk assessment. The resulting vulnerability map was divided into four classes and showed especially high to very high vulnerability. The subsequent hazard assessment has shown mostly low to moderate endangerment for the northern part of the study area, which is mainly covered by forest, while the areas covered by urban and industrial, as well as agricultural land, use primarily show high to very high endangerment. Concluding in the risk map, the study area consists of 13% of very high, 48% of high, 36% of moderate and 4% of low risk of contamination. According to the literature overview, the EPIK method was mostly used in combination with other vulnerability assessment methods, and results have been validated through tracer tests, sensitivity analysis or comparing to other methods. In this study, an additional single parameter sensitivity analysis was obtained for validation of the EPIK parameters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Quality and Groundwater Vulnerability Assessment)
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Open AccessEditorial
Uncertainty Propagation in Crop Adaptation Responses to Climate Change: A Modelling Perspective
Environments 2019, 6(11), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6110115 - 28 Oct 2019
Viewed by 2732
Abstract
The human population is exponentially increasing and is projected to reach or exceed 9 billion by 2050 [...] Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Development and Deployment of Green Technologies for Sustainable Environment
Environments 2019, 6(11), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6110114 - 24 Oct 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2828
Abstract
The definition of green technologies should be any process, product or service that reduces negative environmental impacts while protecting human health and ecosystem quality [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deployment of Green Technologies for Sustainable Environment)
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