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Distribution of indoor radon concentrations between selected Hungarian thermal baths

Abstract

Owing to the high potential of radon to increase the risk of lung cancer, health organizations are enforced to update their regulations and recommendations regarding indoor radon levels each year. In this study, the indoor radon concentrations of three randomly selected thermal baths in Hungary using CR-39 and an AlphaGUARD radon monitor were measured with regard to the new updated standards of the European Basic Safety Standard (EU BSS, Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom, 2014). The annual average of indoor radon concentrations in Parad Medical Bath, Igal Health Spa and Eger Turkish Bath were measured as 159 ± 19, 176 ± 27 and 301 ± 30 Bq/m3, respectively. Indoor radon concentration in all measurement locations were determined to be below the reference level, with the exception of the main pool, small pool and sparkling bath areas in the Eger Turkish Bath that were measured as 403 ± 42, 315 ± 32 and 354 ± 36 Bq/m3, respectively. In light of the results, the estimated annual average radon concentration in the thermal baths was below the EU BSS reference level of 300 Bq/m3. Personal dosimetry is required to estimate the annual effective dose from inhaled radon by the workers at the Eger Turkish Bath. This procedure is required in order to justify the application of the mitigation process of decreasing working hours, improving the ventilation rate or increasing the number of classified employees in response to the official radiation surveillance programme.

Open access
Factors underlying persistently high radon levels in a house located in a karst limestone region of Ireland – lessons learned about remediation

Abstract

The remediation of buildings with elevated radon concentrations is generally straightforward. However, in some cases a number of attempts may be needed to reduce concentrations to below the reference level and, occasionally, it may be impossible to reduce concentrations to below the reference level in a cost effective way. This paper details the work carried out between 2004 and 2012 to reduce radon concentrations in a house with initial radon concentrations of almost 1500 Bq/m3. Over this period, high radon levels were consistently recorded despite the introduction of various radon remedial measures. Remedial work was carried out on ten occasions with 29 radon tests carried out to measure the effect of this work. The paper describes the structure of the house and the karst geology that it is built on and the likely contribution of these factors to the difficulties encountered reducing concentrations. Ultimately, radon concentrations were reduced to about 450 Bq/m3 but no further reductions were considered practicable without substantial and costly renovation to the house. Nonetheless, the remedial work carried out to date has resulted in a significant reduction in the risk to the homeowner of developing lung cancer. This work has also added to the understanding of radon remediation techniques in Ireland, particularly for houses built on karst limestone.

Open access
First steps towards national radon action plan in Serbia

Abstract

Radon problem has a special attention in many countries in the world and the most of them have established national radon programmes. The radon issues in Serbia have not been approached in a systematic and organized way. Currently, there are many research groups and institutions working in radon field, and it is a good basis to integrate all these activities into a comprehensive national programme to define the strategic objectives and action plan for the next few years. Also, Serbia as a candidate for membership in the EU is obliged to harmonize its legislation, including the field of radiation protection in which the radon issues has an important role. In this report, a brief history of radon research, present status and plans for the future activity on radon issues in Serbia are presented. Regarding the long-term plans, the establishment and implementation of the Radon Action Plan with the primary goal of raising awareness about the harmful effects of public exposure to radon and implementing a set of measures for its reduction. In that sense, the synergy between the national, regional and local organizations responsible for public health and radiation protection must be achieved.

Open access
The influence of air conditioning changes on the effective dose due to radon and its short-lived decay products

Abstract

Most people spend the majority of their time in indoor environments where the level of harmful pollutants is often significantly higher than outdoors. Radon (222Rn) and its decay products are the example of radioactive pollutants. These radioisotopes are the main source of ionizing radiation in non-industrial buildings. The aim of the study was to determine the impact of air-conditioning system on radon and its progeny concentrations and thus on the effective dose. The measurements were carried out in the auditorium at the Environmental Engineering Faculty (Lublin University of Technology, Poland). Measurements of radon and its progeny (in attached and unattached fractions) as well as measurements of the following indoor air parameters were performed in two air-conditioning (AC) operation modes: AC ON and AC ON/OFF. The air supply rate and air recirculation were taken into consideration. The separation of radon progeny into attached and unattached fractions allowed for determining, respectively, the dose conversion factor (DCF) and the inhalation dose for teachers and students in the auditorium. A considerable increase of the mean radon progeny concentrations from 1.2 Bq/m3 to 5.0 Bq/m3 was observed in the AC ON/OFF mode compared to the AC ON mode. This also resulted in the increase of the inhalation dose from 0.005 mSv/y to 0.016 mSv/y (for 200 h/year). Furthermore, the change of the air recirculation rate from 0% to 80% resulted in a decrease of the mean radon concentration from 30 Bq/m3 to 12 Bq/m3 and the reduction of the mean radon progeny concentration from 1.4 Bq/m3 to 0.8 Bq/m3. This resulted in the reduction of the inhalation dose from 0.006 mSv/y to 0.003 mSv/y.

Open access
Investigation of the influence of chamber construction parameters on radon exhalation rate

Abstract

Radon exhalation from ground is a process dependent on the emanation and migration of radon through ambient air. Most studies on radon exhalation from soil were performed regarding the influence of meteorological and soil parameters. As radon exhalation rate can be affected by the internal properties of the sample, it may also be influenced by the exhalation chamber geometry such as volume-to-area (V/S) ratio or other construction parameters. The measurements of radon exhalation from soil were made using different constructions of accumulation chamber and two types of radon monitors: RAD7 (Durridge) and AlphaGUARD PQ2000PRO (Genitron). The measurements were performed on one site in two locations and approximately at the same time. The first tests did not show the correlations of exhalation rate values and the chamber’s construction parameters and their geometrical dimensions. However, when examining the results, it seems that there are still too many factors that might have affected the process of radon exhalation. The future experiments are planned to be conducted in controlled laboratory conditions.

Open access
The Laboratory of Natural Radiation (LNR) – a place to test radon instruments under variable conditions of radon concentration and climatic variables

Abstract

The publication of the new European Union Basic Safety Standards represents a remarkable milestone in the field of radiological protection in terms of adding radon exposure to this framework. Therefore, the coming years will bring the need to measure radon not only in the workplaces but also in the living spaces as a direct outcome of the application of the new EU Directive. So, the importance of having reliable instruments is evident and interlaboratory exercises are becoming more and more popular. However, most of them are carried out under constant conditions of meteorological variables. We present in this paper a facility to broaden the interlaboratory comparisons further by adding the study of radon exposures under real conditions of changes in climatic parameters. In addition, the facility has the possibility to verify the response of radon monitors when the radon concentration changes several orders of magnitude in a short period of time. Our work shows some results of one of the interlaboratory exercises carried out in the premises, where the radon levels were rather homogeneous in the testing room.

Open access
Lung cancer mortality and radon exposure in Russia

Abstract

The association between the lung cancer and indoor radon exposure in Russian population was investigated. The average indoor radon concentration for each region was estimated using the annual reports issued by the Saint-Petersburg Ramzaev Research Institute of Radiation Hygiene for the period 2008–2013. The average standardized lung cancer mortalities among males and females were estimated using the reports of the Moscow Hertzen Cancer Research Institute for the period 2008–2012. The relative risk (RR) was estimated as a ratio between the average mortality within seven exposure intervals and background mortality. The slope factors of linear dependence between the indoor radon exposure and lung cancer RR are 0.026 (−0.11÷0.17) and 0.83 (0.52–1.12) per radon concentration 100 Bq/m3 for males and females, respectively (with 90% confidence interval). The obtained results can be explained by the confounding effect of tobacco smoking. Significant excess risk of lung cancer in female population can be associated with radon exposure and low prevalence of smoking.

Open access
Main results of the international intercomparison of passive radon detectors under field conditions in Marie Curie’s tunnel in Lurisia (Italy)

Abstract

In recent years a large number of radon intercomparison exercises has been organized; most of them took place in radon chambers, in reference atmosphere of the parameter to control (i.e. radon gas) under temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure stable conditions. In 2014, in the tunnel belonging to the Lurisia spas complex (Lurisia, Piedmont, Italy), with natural high concentrations of uranium and radon gas, an intercomparison exercise has been held to give to radon measurement services and laboratories the possibility to test their passive systems under field conditions, which are less controlled and much more challenging. The response of laboratories was very positive: 46 participants from 10 European countries and 3 non-European countries. Generally about 80% of results of participants were considered acceptable even if it was observed a global trend of a substantial underestimation of the actual radon concentration.

Open access
Metrological aspects of international intercomparison of passive radon detectors under field conditions in Marie Curie’s tunnel in Lurisia

Abstract

In 2014, an intercomparison exercise of passive radon detectors under field conditions in the Marie Curie’s tunnel belonging to the Lurisia spas complex (Lurisia, Piedmont, Italy) has been held. Radon activity concentration in the tunnel was measured with six radon active monitors, previously calibrated at ENEA-INMRI facilities. In the present paper, a synthesis of the metrological aspects of the intercomparison is given. Indeed particular attention was paid to metrological characterization of radon monitors and their response upon ambient conditions. Correction factors have been defined to be applied when measurements are performed in severe environmental conditions. In particular, it has been found that monitors are particularly sensitive to the effect of air density: the AlphaGUARD (AG-SAPHYMO, GmbH) efficiency decreases with the air density, while for the MR1 PLUS (Tesys, Italy), the opposite applies. When the reference monitors were placed into the Marie Curie’s tunnel, to the recorded average radon concentrations correction factors were applied. After the correction the difference between data coming from AG and MR1 PLUS is within the 1.7%.

Open access
The natural radioactivity of the Carpathian national parks and radon evaluation

Abstract

The results of the low-background gamma spectrometric measurements of protected mountain areas (Zacharovanyy Kray, Chorne Bahno, Ihthyological Preserve Rika and Uzhanskij National Natural Park) in the region of Primeval Beech Forests of the Transcarpathia, Ukraine, are presented. The distances between sampling points in a single protected area were in the range of 200–400 m in elevation of 300 m; probes were taken from the surface, from depth 20 cm and more than 50 cm. The proposed sampling scheme allows one to investigate the radionuclide concentration in protected area’s soils, their distribution on/near the mountain ridges and migration in depth (0–50 cm). We also investigate the influence the soils’ pH on the contents and the migration of nuclides. The obtained data allow us to study the statistical regularities between the sampling points along and down mountain ridges on the base of their radionuclide content. These results are important for evaluating the radon content/distribution and developing standards in the radionuclide content of the soil Carpathian region.

Open access