Use of Radar in the 500m Zone

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    • Does anyone know why it is common practice for radars to be turned off on entry to a 500m zone?

    • In truth no, but the text from ISGOTT re use of Radars is as per below. Could it be the scanner motors and in the case of offshore installations height relative to the installation? Of course, that would only be the case when close to the installation/

      “Radar sets, operating on 3 cm and 10 cm wavelengths, are designed with a peak power output of 30 kW and, if properly sited, present no radio ignition hazard due to induced currents.

      High Frequency (HF) radiation does not penetrate the human body, but at short ranges (up to 10 m) can cause heating of skin or eyes. Assuming sensible precautions are taken, such as not looking directly into the scanner at close range, there is no significant health risk from marine radar emissions.

      Radar scanner motors are not rated for use in dangerous/hazardous areas but apart from on smaller vessels, are generally situated well above shore hazardous zones. Any risk is reduced further on ships operating a closed loading system with vapour return. The testing of radars whilst alongside is therefore considered safe. However, it is good practice to switch the radar off or place it on standby when alongside a terminal and to consult with the terminal before testing radar equipment during cargo operations.”

    • John, HSE have produced a Docks Information Sheet titled Ships’ RADAR in Port but the information is equally pertinent to use offshore. It is available online. It says:

      “A typical container ship (with a capacity of about 3000 TEU) might have radar sets of 50 kW (3 cm wavelength) and 60 kW (10 cm wavelength), and a smaller vessel such as a tug might be equipped with a 10 kW set.

      Measurements taken in a port, 10 metres from the stationary scanner of a container ship fitted with both a 50 kW set and a 60 kW set, and tests carried out by a manufacturer of radar equipment 10 metres from a 10 kW set with a stationary scanner, have all shown power densities significantly less than 100 μWcm-2.

      The examples show that the expected power densities from exposure to ships’ radar at a distance of 10 metres are less than a tenth of the reference levels even when the scanner is stationary. Marine radars normally operate with a pulsed signal and a rotating scanner, so people are not continuously exposed to radiation even if they are in a fixed position such as a crane cab or an office adjacent to shipping.

      No link between ill health and exposure to microwaves at levels below the ICNIRP recommendations has been established in the UK among microwave communications and radar engineers in the armed services, electronics, broadcasting or communications industries.

      The HPA Advisory Group on Non-lonising Radiation has concluded that there is no clear evidence of a carcinogenic hazard from the normal levels of radio frequency or microwave radiation to which people
      are exposed.”

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