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August 2019

Introducing MARKUS 10 – Measuring Radon Content in Soil

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As part of a wider strategic growth initiative, Radonova acquired the radon measurement instrument division of Gammadata Instruments earlier this year. The acquisition broadened Radonova’s portfolio of radon measurement technologies by adding several advanced instruments and products to its offering.

Here we take a more in-depth look at MARKUS 10, one of the state-of-the-art radon monitors developed and manufactured by Gammadata, a portable, battery-powered precision instrument for determining radon content in soil – designed with simplicity at its core.

MARKUS 10 Overview

Attach the MARKUS 10 and hollow measurement probe to the ground and simply press a button to start measuring. The soil air is pumped through the probe into a measurement chamber which detects radon daughters (charged isotopes produced from the decay of radon gas which are attached to particles and aerosols). A water lock prevents the chamber from being flooded. The result is presented in the display after 12 minutes.

MARKUS 10 in Action

During the initial measuring phase, air from the soil is pumped up through a sounding tube into a measuring cell. The pumping time (about 30 seconds) ensures that soil gas overfills the chamber.

A pressure sensor stops the pump if the pressure in the tube drops below a given value. When the pressure rises, the pump starts again. The pump’s running time is always the same, which guarantees a certain minimum volume of air that can be measured.

Following the pumping phase, the measurement phase commences. The detector is activated and the voltage to the measuring chamber is switched on. The charged radon daughters are driven towards the detector by an electric field in the chamber. The detector registers the alpha radiation originating from the radon daughters.

The detector pulses are amplified and filtered in a single channel analyser that only accepts pulses from the short-lived radon daughter polonium 218. This eliminates the slow variations in the background from polonium 214. The pulses are counted and the result is shown in text on the instrument’s display (kBq/m3 radon-gas activity).

The display flashes during the measuring phase and becomes steady when the measurement is completed. As the instrument only counts pulses from the short-lived nuclide polonium 218, a new measurement can be started after just 18 minutes. In that time, activity from the previous measurement will have decayed sufficiently.

MARKUS 10 accessories include an aluminium case, charger, water seal, handle, impact rod, spanner to sounding tube and replaceable tip.

Technical Specifications:

Pump capacity: 1.8 lit/min
Effective pumping time: 30 sec
Lower pressure limit: 0.95 Atm
Type of detector: Passivated Implanted Planar Silicon (PIPS™) Detectors
Active area of detector: 100 mm²
Window thickness: 200 µm
Energy resolution of detector: < 16 keV (in vacuum)
Battery capacity: About 70 measurements
Battery type: Lead
Recharging time: 8 hours
Accuracy of measurement: 10 % at 50 kBq/m³ (1350 pCi/l)
Measurement time: Typically 12 minutes
Measurement range: 1– 199kBq/m³
Dimensions: 220 x 122 x 80 mm (L x H x D)
Weight 3 kg

More information about MARKUS is available here»
More information on radon and radon measurement can be found here»

Introducing MARKUS 10 – Measuring Radon Content in Soil

Radonova Expands European Footprint – Thomas Chauvin Heads-Up New French Division

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Radonova Laboratories continues to expand and has appointed Thomas Chauvin. Thomas will be responsible for the company’s sales, business development and partnerships in the French market. Thomas brings extensive industry experience to the new French operation, enabling Radonova to make inroads into the growing demand for radon measurement and analysis in France. The announcement of the new division is another example of Radonova’s increased global profile which has occurred at a time when many regions across the world are being increasingly affected by stringent requirements for measuring radon in homes and workplaces.

Like many other countries, France has adopted new rules and legislation regarding human exposure to radon.
”In France, knowledge of radon has generally been low, even though radon levels in several parts of the country pose a health risk. However, that perspective is changing and there is now noticeably more interest in understanding the risks of radon exposure and how radon can be measured accurately in the home and at work. As the world’s leading radon laboratory, I am convinced that Radonova will contribute both knowledge and services in generating greater awareness across France”, comments Thomas Chauvin.

“We know from experience that in-depth knowledge of local conditions is required for international success. In this respect, Thomas has the background and experience to provide us with a stronger presence in France to ultimately raise awareness of how effective our portfolio of radon measurement technologies can mitigate the dangers of radon exposure”, comments Karl Nilsson, CEO of Radonova Laboratories.

Public sector and Workplaces driving radon awareness
“From my perspective, the areas of growth in regard to radon measurement will be in the public sector, authorities and workplaces. These are the institutions that will drive awareness of the harmful effects of radon. Any operator in the market will only succeed if they provide efficient processes, service and quality”, Thomas Chauvin continues.

“Radonova is accredited according to ISO 17025 and via RadOnline is the only operator offering an online service that facilitates radon measurement and analysis. Using this proprietary customer web portal, customers can capture detector measurement data and track the status of projects. This means we are perfectly positioned to meet customer demand as awareness of the dangers of radon exposure increases. I’m looking forward to being responsible for the company’s development and operations in my native France”, concludes Thomas.

Thomas Chauvin holds a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of Nantes. For several years, Thomas has worked on various urban planning projects in France.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 3% – 14% of all lung cancer cases are caused by radon depending on where you live. WHO recommends a limit value for radon content of 100 Bq / m3.

Accreditation guarantees accurate radon measurement

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Accreditation guarantees the quality of a radon measurement, in part because the laboratory’s measurement processes are regularly checked by independent organizations. However, most of the world’s radon laboratories are not accredited, which to many might seem a little strange. Why is this? Firstly, accreditation entails a large additional cost and secondly customers do not demand it, but this is expected to change.
The definition of an accredited radon measurement is a measurement obtained using radon detectors from a laboratory which is accredited according to ISO/IEC 17025 and follows the instructions that accompany the detectors.

Why is accreditation important?

When a customer orders a radon measurement, the expectation is that the measurement is conducted professionally and accurately – a non-accredited laboratory cannot guarantee this.
– An incorrect procedure can, for example, lead to measuring too low values, although the user is actually measuring an indoor environment with high radon levels. For those who live or work in such an environment, the risk of suffering from lung cancer increases and unfortunately the individual will not be aware of this. Conversely, carrying out a measurement that incorrectly shows too high values also has undesirable consequences. This means time and money is invested to reduce radon levels even though it is not necessary, comments Karl Nilsson, CEO of Radonova Laboratories.
The conclusion is therefore obvious: always use radon measurement technology from an accredited laboratory. In Sweden, the authorities also require accreditation.

What differentiates an accredited radon laboratory?
An accreditation according to the laboratory standard ISO/IEC 17025 sets a quality level for the business. This includes mandatory requirements for quality systems and competence.

Factors that differentiate Radonova from other providers:

  • Our measurement processes are continuously revised by an independent government agency. They check that we meet different measurement standards and ISO/IEC 17025. In Radonova’s case, it is SWEDAC, the national accreditation body for Sweden, that continuously tests that the company is competent to carry out the accredited tests.
  • We are monitored for impartiality – there should be no self-interest for Radonova to provide a certain measurement result. For example, if you conduct radon consulting, it could be tempting to show too high values because it would generate more jobs. We do not do that.
  • We continuously calibrate our measuring equipment and radon detectors against a known radon source, e.g. Radon chamber of the Radiation Safety Authority.
  • We participate in demanding national and international comparison tests.

Note, accreditation may relate to different measurement methods. Therefore, it is important to check what types of measurements a laboratory is accredited for. Radonova is accredited for both indoor air and water measurements. Here you will find more information about Radonova and our accredited measurement methods.

Customers can trust a measurement from Radonova

Since October 1995, Radonova has been an accredited test laboratory for radon. This means that we can guarantee high quality and accurate radon measurements. With accreditation and the market’s fastest delivery and analysis times, we have become the first choice for individuals and businesses who want to carry out a correct radon measurement as efficiently as possible.