Basket

All Posts By

Thomas Chauvin

How Radonova provides optimal radon measurement quality

By Measurement No Comments

Radonova has always strived to scrupulously respect the regulatory requirements of all the countries in which we carry out radon measurements to ensure our customers receive a high quality of service. We meticulously take care to maintain our ISO17025 accreditation, participate in inter-comparative tests, while methodically following the measurement protocols defined by various national authorities. At the same time, we impose rigorous and particularly demanding quality control protocols internally to guarantee the best possible continuity and quality of our products.

Selection of raw material

Radonova has several suppliers of CR39 plastic, so as not to risk any failure from one of the providers we are working with. This raw material is delivered to us in the form of batches from which we produce around 120 films ready to be introduced into our detectors.

After a first pre-etching step to clean the films, a smaller part of them are set aside to be tested. We place them under the microscope to count the number of alpha tracks already present on the film. The objective is to control the quality of the raw material supplied. The number of tracks measured must be below a certain value so that the films from the same batch can be placed on the assembly line.

Detector calibration

Once manufactured, 3% of the detectors are used for calibration exposures, which is a high value compared to some laboratories where 1% is the norm. This is one of the reasons why Radonova has industry leading quality in radon measurement. These detectors are sent to different national radiation chambers (PhE in England, BfS in Germany, SSM in Sweden and Bowser-Morner in the United States) where the calibration is performed. They are exposed to different radon levels in order to determine calibration factors representative of the typical values to which most detectors sent to our customers are exposed, but also to more extreme values in order to guarantee the effectiveness of the detectors in all situations.

The calibration factors used to determine the exposure of the detectors are calculated for batches of approximately 1000 to 2000 films.

Detector background calculation

Radonova also devotes a part of its production, 6% of the detectors, to calculate the unexposed background of the detectors. We basically calculate the average number of tracks which will have to be subtracted from the total number of tracks counted after the measurement. To do this, we etch and measure the films from the selected background detectors, just before the customer detectors are expected to be returned for analysis. In this way, we determine a proper background value for each batch of 120 films.
The typical background of a Radtrak2 detector is around 15 kBqh / m3 and the standard error of uncertainty is around 4 kBqh / m3.

In total, 12% of the CR-39 film produced and almost 10% of all detectors manufactured by Radonova will never arrive in our customers’ mailboxes. This requirement that we impose on  ourselves and which, alongside the various national requirements in this area, allows us to maintain a very high level of quality for our customers and enables us to maintain our position as the global leader in radon measurement.

How Radonova provides optimal radon measurement quality

New Builds – the importance of measuring for radon in soil

By Measurement No Comments

When radon is being discussed, it frequently revolves around levels of radon in soil. This is not surprising. Radon leaking or being sucked from the ground is the cause of elevated indoor radon levels in 80 per cent of affected properties. However, it is important to note that radon content in the soil where the building is located, does not necessarily determine indoor radon levels. In most cases, the materials used to build the home, and the design of the ventilation system, influence the presence of radon in the dwelling. Builders and designers should always be mindful of radon when planning a new property.

If there are high levels of radon in the soil, a radon guard should be incorporated into the design of the home from the outset.

Radon content in different soil types

In order to manage potential radon issues in regard to new builds, you need to understand how radon is formed and where it exists. Radon is a decay product from the radioactive element Radium, which in turn is a decay product of Uranium, found naturally in soil. As radon is a gas it easily leaks from the soil into houses through tiny cracks in foundations and walls. However, concentrations vary, which affects radon levels in different types of soil. In some cases, high levels of radon naturally occur due to the precipitation of uranium and radium from groundwater.

Another important factor to consider is the shape of the mineral grains in the soil. Generally, radium-containing grains with a large exposed surface cause more radon. The surface size usually increases with a smaller grain size and with greater cracking in the grains. In addition, radon content in soil is affected by how it spreads from the ground to the atmosphere, which is controlled by the soil’s porosity, water content and winds. Therefore, radon levels are often weather dependent.

The only way to fully understand how much radon is in the soil is to measure. In order to minimize the impact of variable weather conditions, the measurement should be done at a depth of 0,8 – 1 meter. Two measurement methods are used to do this – digital and passive.

In the long term, it is more cost effective and efficient to have an accurate measurement from the start, especially in relation to new builds. Therefore, in terms of radon, make sure it is a consideration at an early stage. It pays off.

For more information about radon and radon measurement please visit www.radonovalaboratories.com 

Seasonal workers are crucial to Radonova’s operations  

By Measurement No Comments

Radon measurement is largely seasonal, with May being the peak. But even from October, there are many days when thousands of detectors are sent to customers and then returned for analysis. To cope with the peaks across the year, seasonal staff play a pivotal role in Radonova’s ongoing operations. We had a chat with 25-year-old Melker Lindberg who is now finishing his first season at Radonova.  

What made you look for a job as a seasonal worker at Radonova?

A friend of the family has worked here for over a year and talked about the job and the work environment. He mentioned that extra staff would be needed for the high season. It sounded interesting work. After working at a retirement home for several years, I felt like doing something completely different.  

What has been your primary tasks?

I am part of the team that receives detectors that are sent back for analysis. After removing the contents from the packages, we scan the detectors into the system and remove the trace films. These are then set up in the carousels where they are prepared for etching, the next step in the process. After that, we work on the documentation. Although many steps and processes are electronic, there are still forms, Excel sheets and handwritten notes in the boxes which need to be actioned. That information needs to be collected, labelled, scanned, and transferred into the system. 

Are there things that has been more difficult than you expected?

Putting the boxes in the carousels can be tricky, something my colleagues warned me about right from the start. You have to stay focused. This is a particularly interesting challenge since I have ADHD. Having said that, things have gone well, partly thanks to the fact that you never staff the department alone. Which is good, it’s a bit like peeling potatoes with your friends. 

What is Radonova like as a workplace?

It is a relaxed workplace. Everybody gets on, which makes the working day go faster. I hadn’t really heard of radon measurement before I started here. After just one season, I feel I’ve learned a lot. For the fall, I have applied for a chef training course. If I am not accepted and stay in Uppsala, I look forward to working at Radonova next season. 

 

For more information about radon and radon measurement please visit www.radonovalaboratories.com  

Melker Lindberg

Head of Radonova’s Polish Division Qualifies for FameLab Final

By News No Comments

Zuzanna Podgórska, an experienced radon specialist who manages Radonova’s Polish division, has made the finals of Polish FameLab. FameLab is an international competition to find and support the world’s most talented new science communicators. Cheltenham Festivals held the first FameLab in 2005. Its partnership with the British Council in 2007 took the competition global, and to date, more than 10,000 scientists and engineers have taken part. Poland has been an active member of the competition since 2012.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 crisis this year’s Polish finals have been moved to 2021. However, there will be no preselection for the competition next year and all ten 2020 finalists will be given the opportunity to present their talks. Participants have three minutes to win over the judges and audience with a scientific talk that excels for its content, clarity and charisma. The British Council runs FameLab competitions in around 25 countries each year, and the winner of each national competition travels to the UK’s renowned Cheltenham Science Festival to compete in the FameLab International Final.

Zuzanna’s talk was titled “Deadly Undarkness – Between Absurdity and Unawareness”. In her presentation, she talked about a moment in history, soon after the discovery of radium, when people added the radioactive element to more or less everything: food, sweets, children’s toys, toothpaste and cosmetics.

Between 1917 and 1926, the U.S. Radium Corporation employed more than a hundred workers (mostly women) to paint watch and clock faces with their patented ”Undark” luminous paint. Workers were taught to shape paintbrushes with their mouths to maintain a fine point, and some used the material to paint their nails and teeth.

Five Radium Girls sued U.S. Radium in a case that initiated labor safety standards and workers’ rights. The case was settled in 1928, putting an end to shaping paintbrushes with the mouth and open containers of radium paint. Though radium was still used in clocks until the 1960s, new cases of acute radiation syndrome in dial painters came to a halt, and soon after, so did the popularity of radium-containing products and toys. Zuzanna finished her talk with a quote from Maria Skłodowska Curie: “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.”

Zuzanna has worked as a specialist in the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection since 2013. She has a master’s degree from Warsaw University of Technology, where she studied passive radon detectors. Her PhD studies were in the Nuclear Physics department working on geological radon mapping. She is involved in teaching and the popularization of science and has wide experience in the field of radiation protection. She is a qualified Radiation Protection Inspector.

At Radonova, we wish Zuzanna all the best next year in the Polish final and congratulate her on achievements to date in such a prestigious competition.

About Radonova

Radonova is the laboratory of choice for numerous government radon surveys, as well as other public and private sector large scale measurement contracts around the world.  A truly global laboratory, Radonova is active in over 50 countries and has performed millions of measurements.

For more information about radon and radon measurement visit https://radonovalaboratories.com

Famelab

Five steps which guarantee a quality assured radon measurement

By Measurement No Comments

Since the company’s inception, Radonova has prided itself on its industry leading quality procedures and processes in terms of radon measurement. Our measurement methods and methodologies are globally recognised and importantly adjusted for the individual requirements of every country. To date, we have delivered radon measurements to over 50 countries. Due to our efficient processes and high degree of digitalisation, we offer short delivery and analysis times across Europe and North America. 

So, how do we do this? There are five steps which are critical to ensuring quality assured radon measurements 

Accreditation

Radonova’s measurement methods are accredited in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025. Therefore, our measurement processes are continuously audited by an independent state body which has to be a member of the European AccreditationThis review is conducted annually and takes place on site for at least two days. We are also audited for impartiality, which is a requirement of ISO/IEC 17025. Consequentlythere is no self-interest for Radonova to demonstrate a certain measurement result. Read more about our accreditation here. 

Validation

Some countries require validation of their measurement process. This is normally done by submitting radon detectors for blind testing at a national authority where the detectors are exposed to different levels of radon. The detectors are then sent back to Radonova’s laboratory for analysis and a measurement result is produced. The result is then compared with the official value of the national authority. Here you can read about the results of our latest validation test.

Comparison tests

Radonova regularly participates in national and international comparison tests. In these tests, different radon laboratories contribute voluntarily and radon detectors from different suppliers are exposed at the same time to a radon content that participants aren’t aware of in advance. The results of the tests form the basis of Radonova’s accreditation. One of the most demanding comparison tests is the German federal authority BfS (Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz). Here you can read more about those particular results.

Customer control

Radonova’s customer tests are primarily conducted in the United States and Canada, which has a different approach to European quality testing in radon laboratories. For example, every tenth detector should have a “duplicate”. This means that there should be two radon detectors at 10% of the measuring point, and the results of the two detectors should be compared. By doing this, you can check the uniformity of the results from the measurement laboratory. In addition, accuracy is verified as customers who conduct multiple measurements are required to send 3% of their Radonova detectors to a test facility with specific reference values. This enables a blind test, where the customer is able to confirm that the measurement is reliable. Customers are also required to follow up and check on unexposed radon detectors “blanks”.

Internal tests

Each measurement includes at least two radon detectors that have been exposed in a calibration chamber with known radon content. By checking that these radon detectors display the correct results, we are able to quality assure our measurement process in the laboratory. 

Radonova receives excellent results from PHE for validation test

The importance of returning radon detectors correctly 

By Measurement No Comments

At Radonova, high quality control standards and procedures are integral to our business. Therefore, it’s important to emphasise the significance of returning radon detectors in an appropriate manner to enable us to conduct precise measurements. To avoid inaccurate analysis values, “alpha-track” detectors such as Radtrak2, Rapidos and Duotrak, should generally not be returned in sealed bags. If the measurement time is less than 14 days, returning detectors in sealed bags comprimises industry standards. 

There is a good reason for this. Radon is adsorbed into the plastic bag which covers the detector, which can provide elevated values of up to 10-20%, if the measurement time has been too short. The longer the detector is in a sealed bag, the higher the deviation. This is especially true if the bag is small and is too close to the detector. 

Itwidely recognised that there is a risk of deviation when detectors are placed in sealed bags. We strongly recommend that bags should not be sealed when returned to usIt’s important that we get this message across so that the risk of error is reducedThe possibility of additional radon exposure during transport in unsealed bags is generally very low when compared to the risk of extra exposure if the bag is sealed, said Tryggve Rönnqvist, technical manager at Radonova Laboratories. 

For more information about radon and radon measurement visit www.radonovalaboratories.com

After the measuring time is completed detectors should be returned to your local hub who will handle the shipment back to the laboratory. 

If you need further help with returns, please contact our support

Short-term measurement

Instrument veteran driven by helping customers

By Measurement No Comments

Fredrik Lindén has worked with radon measuring instruments for many years. When the radon measurement instrument division of Gammadata Instruments was acquired by Radonova in early 2019, Fredrik became part of a knowledgeable team in a very busy workshop. 

Close customer contact

I enjoy working at a company where my day-to-day activities are varied. They range from purchasing and inventory management to service, testing and production. Our instruments, and the services we offer, have a major impact on our customers’ operations. The service and support work we undertake requires particularly close customer contact. I find this stimulating and rewarding especially as we try to help our customers as quickly and efficiently as possible. The test phase is particularly gratifying as it concludes extensive work we have carried out in the workshop. We need this verification so that we can confirm that the instrument is field-ready. 

Freedom and responsibility encourage commitment

At Radonova, employees are given freedom and encouraged to act on their own initiative. In the workplace, it certainly feels like the goals of the individual and the company are alignedOur mantra is to continually improve to ensure that we offer partners, consumers and businesses exceptional radon measurement technologiesIf you are given freedom and responsibility, you also become more committedThis commitment is important as we work with relatively complex flows and procedures, so we need to be precise in every phase of the manufacturing process. 

Acquisition extended Radonova’s portfolio

By acquiring the radon measurement instrument division of GammadataRadonova added several advanced instruments and products to its portfolio, broadening its range of radon measurement technologiesBy offering a comprehensive program for radon measurementRadonova is responding to the global demand for safe and efficient radon measurements in homes and workplaces and strengthening its position as a world leader. 

Fredrik Lindén

Radonova update in regards to COVID-19

By News No Comments

Radonova has taken a number of measures to ensure procedures carry on as normal during the COVID-19 pandemicWe, like other organizationsare affected by the seriousness of the situation but will continue to conduct measurements and deliveries without interruptionOur customer support is open as usual and accessible to those who have radon-related questions. 
 
In order to minimize the spread of infection, a large number of our employees currently work from homeEmployees working in our laboratory who provide services which cannot be performed from home are completely focused on reducing the risk of exposure and spread of the virus. This means that detectors can still be returned to Radonova and analyzed. In all cases, we strictly adhere to national regulations and recommendations 
 
The continual global fight against the Coronavirus is also a reminder of the work we doLike radon, COVID-19 is a serious health risk that can damage the lungsThis virus further enhances our commitment to educating the general public about the dangers of radon and promoting human wellbeing. 
 
For the latest information about the Coronavirus, please refer to your national health authority. 
 
Karl Nilsson, CEO Radonova Laboratories

Short-term measurement

Radonova accelerates European expansion plan with German appointment

By News No Comments

Radonova Laboratories has appointed Patrik Nöteberg, an experienced radon specialist, who will be responsible for the company’s strategic growth in Germany. Like many other European countries, Germany has introduced new stringent national rules as a result of EURATOM Directive BSS 59/2013. This means that the demand for reliable, flexible and cost-effective radon measurements will increase. In addition to measuring radon in housing, the German market will now have a major focus on workplace measurements.

Except for the mining industry, awareness of the health implications of radon exposure has been relatively low in Germany. However, due to Germany’s large population about 1,900 civilians are estimated to die from radon-related lung cancer each year. Across Europe, Radonova is committed to ensuring that the general public fully understands the implications of radon levels in both their homes and workplaces.

Process, service and quality are crucial in eradicating radon

“Geographically, it’s typically in the southern and eastern parts of the country that ground radon is a problem. With new laws and regulations, the demand for professional consultants who can provide expert measurement and analysis will increase. I am delighted to join a company that is at the forefront of radon measurement technologies. In addition to technical innovation, Radonova excels in terms of standards, processes and support, providing a comprehensive solution to customers. These are crucial factors when you look to approach a large and technically mature market such as Germany”, comments Patrik Nöteberg.

“Being raised and educated in Germany, Patrik has crucial local knowledge which is essential as we continue to establish our service in the German market. We already have a presence, but with Patrik onboard our expansion plans will speed up. Patrik’s knowledge of the German culture and sales process are vital as we continue to expand our presence across Europe”, comments Karl Nilsson, CEO of Radonova Laboratories.

Patrik Nöteberg holds a master’s degree in physics (measurement technology) and has vast experience in international technical sales and support. In addition to Germany, Patrik will also be responsible for Radonova’s growth in Switzerland and Austria.

What is radon?

Radon is a radioactive gas that leaks from the ground and in some cases comes from building materials. Depending on the ground beneath the house and the type of building construction, harmful high concentrations of radon can occur. Radon is a health risk that, after smoking, is the most common cause of lung cancer.

Globally, an estimated 230 000 people are affected by lung cancer each year as a result of long-term exposure to radon. 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.

About Radonova

Radonova is the laboratory of choice for numerous government radon surveys, as well as other public and private sector large scale measurement contracts around the world. A truly global laboratory, Radonova is active in over 50 countries and has performed millions of measurements.

For more information about radon and radon measurement visit www.radonovalaboratories.com

For more information, contact Karl Nilsson, CEO Radonova Laboratories AB
Phone: 070-639 01 31, Email: karl.nilsson@radonova.com

Patrik Nöteberg

Seasonal Peak for the Radonova Instrument Workshop

By Measurement No Comments

The season for measuring ground radon is nearly upon us. This coincides with there being a sharp increase in the global demand for reliable radon instruments. For Fredrik Lindén and his colleagues at Radonova’s radon instrument production department, this equates to long days to fulfil customer requests.

”When assembling radon instruments we use state-of-the-art technology, but there is still a requirement for experience and craftsmanship. Our quality standards are very high, and every instrument that is manufactured here is tested for reliability to ensure it is field ready”, comments Fredrik Lindén.

Focus on timely, fast delivery

“To meet market demand, we are currently focusing on producing high volumes of MARKUS 10 – a portable, battery-powered instrument. We pride ourselves on our ability to deliver quickly, therefore we have to stay one step ahead of orders to ensure our stock is always able to accommodate future sales. Every instrument consists of numerous components, which means we have a very close relationship with our suppliers to ensure that all deadlines are met. Parts used to create our instruments are as important as each other, therefore high standards are expected throughout the supply chain”, continues Fredrik Lindén.

Robustness and ease of use

“For a product to be successful it needs to be robust, user-friendly and thoroughly tested – these are critical manufacturing factors for us. MARKUS 10 is a very good example. As you would expect, customers demand a reliable instrument and we always strive to exceed those expectations. Prior to each final assembly, we test all components based on our own high internal standards”, concludes Fredrik Lindén.

MARKUS 10 – an overview

Ground radon is the most common cause of elevated radon levels. MARKUS 10 is a precision instrument that measures high radon concentrations. It is portable and battery-powered. Attach the MARKUS 10 and hollow measurement probe to the ground and simply press a button to start measuring. Air is pumped through the probe tube into a chamber that detects radon daughters (fine solid particles which result from the radioactive decay of radon gas). Following the pumping phase, the measurement phase commences. The result is presented in the display after 12 minutes.

Seasonal Peak for the Radonova Instrument Workshop