The annual exposure of Korean Air's crew to space radiation is up to five times higher than that of the nation's major airlines, according to data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
Korean Air's cockpit crew and flight attendants had average space radiation exposure of 2.150 mSv and 2.828 mSv per year, respectively, during the four years from 2014 to 2017, five times higher than that of their colleagues at the nation’s other major airlines.
The data were released on Oct. 8 by Rep. Park Jae-ho of the ruling Democratic Party, a member of the National Assembly's National Land, Transport and Transport Committee. He received the data from the ministry.
This figure is also about twice as high as the average annual exposure dose of Korea’s seven international air carriers (airman 1.165 mSv and cabin crew 1.358 mSv).
Korean Air also had the highest annual exposure dose. The maximum annual average value for cockpit crew and flight attendants reached 5.405 mSv and 4.681 mSv, respectively, four to five times higher than that for Air Busan, which showed the lowest exposure (flight crew 1.086 mSv and cabin crew 1.024 mSv, respectively).
The Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) recommends people to keep annual exposure to space radition below 6 mSv or 30 percent of the annual maximum exposure of 20 mSv, through the Safety Guidelines for Living Peripheral Radiological Safety Management, which is tailored to European standards.
Although all seven airlines comply with the guidelines, the maximum exposure dose for Korean Air flight attendants increased from 5.197 mSv in 2014 to 5.322 mSv in 2015, 5.445 mSv in 2016, and 5.657 mSv in 2017, approaching the NSC’s recommended ceiling.
Rep. Park said the high radiation exposure of Korean Air crew highlighted the carrier’s indifference to their health and safety. “The data shows the carrier has no intention of taking measures to protect the health of their officials unless it faces pressure from the National Assembly and the relevant government agency,” he said.