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Buildings and radon

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Your building and radon

It is important to measure radon regardless of where you live

There are many radon maps that classify areas according to their radon exposure. Consequently, many people do not measure radon because they think they live in a radon-free area, but that is wrong. Radon exposure affects almost all people and considerable local differences can exist within the residential areas. Studies carried out by Radonova confirm this throughout results that examine the same residential. That is why it is always important to measure radon and not to rely on radon maps. Radon measurements must be carried out with an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory

Why are there such large local differences in radon content?

It is due to variations in radon in the ground and building construction techniques, what maintenance they have had and whether rebuilding has taken place.

The levels of radon in the ground depend on factors such as the extent to which the elements uranium and radium are present in our rock types and therefore also our soil types. Radon gas comes from these elements and moves through the soil layer with the aid of air and groundwater. This means, for example, that there is a greater risk of radon in buildings constructed on sand and gravel. These highly porous soil types contain large amounts of air that can easily transport radon up into buildings.

Where does radon leak into houses?

Radon from the ground leaks into houses and apartment blocks in many different ways. Unsealed penetrations in the form of incoming electricity and water supplies enable radon to leak into the building. A concrete pad with cracks can also allow radon to leak in.

These causes mean that there are considerable local variations in the radon content in residential areas. It is therefore always important to measure the radon content in the indoor air, regardless of where you live and how you live – in a house or in an apartment building.

Matrasses have high levels of radon gas in Korea

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Korean radioactive beds matrasses

A recent news published in a Korean newspaper has drawn international attention: bed matrasses may be a source of radon gas

The radioactive Korean matrasses

In May 2018, the Korean government confirmed high levels of radon gas exhalation in some beds. Due to that, some beds could be a source of radon gas.

Are matrasses dangerous?

First investigations found out that exhalation levels were 10 times higher than the reference level. Radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. Therefore, beds caught the interest of Korean authorities.

What’s next?

Consumers associations have started actions in the court against the company. In addition, the Korean government has withdrawn all matrasses and asked for expert advice.

Link to the original article can be found here.

A town in Galicia with elevated radon levels

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galicia Costa da morte

A small town in Northwestern Spain has cancer cases 7 times higher than the Spanish average. The town is located in A Coruña, a province in the Autonomous Region of Galicia. Furthermore, this region has high radon levels.

The little town in Galicia: facts

This town has 313 inhabitants and cancer cases account for 23 only on an 800 m road. Also, the rest of the town has a big incidence of cancer cases.

Why?

This region is one of the Radon Priority Areas in Spain. As a result, the high number of cancer cases in this town might be attributable to elevated radon levels. Other public buildings in Galicia have similar radon-related problems.

Available tools

The EURATOM BSS 59/2013 Directive establishes a reference level for radon of 300 Bq m-3 and mandates member states to set up national radon action plans.

Link to original article in Spanish here.

Questions and answers about radon in water

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SSM (The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority) has recently published the National Radon Action Plan. Radon in drinking water has been highlighted as one of the risks. As the world’s leading radon laboratory, Radonova Laboratories AB gets a lot of questions about water safety. Below you can find some answers to the most common inquiries we receive on this subject.

Can we find radon in drinking water?

Radon in drinking water can occur primarily in water from wells bored down through solid rock. In Sweden, wells supply water to approximately 800,000 people. More than 6% of these wells are estimated to have such high levels of radon as to be hazardous to health. This means that radon concentrations in these waters may exceed the limit of 1000 Bq l-1, while 60% of wells are in the range of 100-1000 Bq l-1. There is also a risk of elevated radon levels in water wells bored down through soil layers. Data from the SGU (Swedish Geological Survey)shows that 1.6% of these wells are above 1000 Bq l-1and 30% in the range 100-1000 Bq l-1.

How dangerous is radon in water?

Radon in water can be harmful to health in two ways. Firstly, by radon adsorption during and after water intake and second, by radon release from water into indoor air that we breath. Radon from the air is significantly more dangerous because our lungs are more sensitive to radon compared to the stomach. As we now know, radon breaks down over time into radioactive isotopes we call ‘daughters’ with the emission of alpha particles causing lung tissue damage. Thus, high levels of radon can lead to lung cancer. Radon causes about 500 lung cancer cases per year in Sweden and 50% of the victims survive just one year.

How can you measure radon in drinking water?

It is easy to measure radon in water. After ordering a measurement pack from our website, we will send a kit containing a special bottle with clear instructions on how to take the water sample. Once you have filled the bottle with water, send it back to us. The analysis results will be obtained within one week. All Radonova’s measurement methods are accredited by SWEDAC, which means that you can rely on our results.

Work places and EURATOM BSS

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The Directive EURATOM BSS aims to offer a better legal frame to protect people from radon exposure. In particular, it focuses on radon at the work places. The reference level is 300 Bq m-3and every EU country can decide the level they wish to apply.

Check the animation we have created to give a clear message of radon and work places. Enjoy the animation and if you wish you can share what is the situation regarding radon and work places in your country in the comments.

Swedish Radon action plan

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The new national plan for radon in Sweden has been issued in April 2017. This plan is the result of a joint effort of seven central government authorities. The plan mandates the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority to coordinate the work of all the authorities to reduce the radon exposure to the population in Sweden. The reference level is 200 Bq m-3 and you can find further information on the website of SSM. The document (in Swedish) can be downloaded at this link

Radon as tracer and global climate research

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We used to consider radon as the second leading cause of lung cancer. This has been proved by means of many studies and research projects. However, radon can be used as a tracer too. One example is an investigation carried out in Antarctica to look into how the relationship between pollutants reaching Antarctica and global climate models. What stands out from this study in terms of radon metrology is the device developed by Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). Have a look at the published paper to observe the very low values this instrument is able to measure. It can measure mBq m-3. For further information check the article published on phys.org.

metroRADON: Metrology for Radon monitoring

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Why do we need this project?

On 6th of February 2018, all European member states have had to incorporate into their national legislation the new EURATOM Directive 2013/59. This is a milestone to protect people against the dangers coming from ionising radiation and, in particular, those from radon exposure. Therefore, there are new needs in terms of calibration of radon measuring devices and protocols dealing with radon measurements. Also, as the Directive states the reference level for radon concentration must not exceed 300 Bq.m-3 so the challenge of having traceable and good calibration sources becomes obvious.

Structure and work packages

The project is funded by EMPIR (European Metrology Program for Innovation and Research) and coordinated by BEV/PTPmetroRADON has five main objectives:

  • To establish calibration procedures for measuring instruments capable of detecting low radon concentrations
  • To look into how thoron concentrations may affect radon measurements
  • To revise the existing radon measurement protocols in Europe and enhance such practices all over the continent
  • To provide support for the implementation of the new Directive in terms of the definition of RPA (Radon Priority Areas)
  • To revise the existing radon calibration facilities in Europe

Apart from the above, there are other objectives in terms of dissemination of results and enhanced communication that make metroRADON a very ambitious project that will be running for the next 3 years.

Partners

There are 17 partners involved in the project. Eight of them come from national metrological institutes and the rest are from research centers and universities. The following countries are represented: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland. The European Commission is represented by the JRC (Joint Research Centre). In addition to that, 25 companies compose the Industry Interest Group and among them, Radonova laboratories AB from Sweden are an active participant.

Timeline

The project will extend from June 2017 until June 2020. Every six months a newsletter will be issued showing progress and upcoming activities. All the information is available on the website www.metroradon.eu

Financial support to fight against the silent killer

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Last February 2018, the 28 EU member states had to implement the EURATOM BSS 59/2013 Directive into their national legislation. An interesting part of this document is the Annex XVIII with a list of 14 items to consider by the governments during the design of the national radon action plans. The item 12 says “Where appropriate, provision of financial support for radon surveys and for remedial measures, in particular for private dwellings with very high radon concentrations”. The Swedish and Spanish governments are an example of this. As of 1st July 2018, homeowners can receive up to 25000 SEK to reduce the radon levels indoors. But before doing this, radon measurements must have been done using the services of an accredited laboratory as it is the case of Radonova Laboratories AB. In Spain, the national building plan includes in the Art. 36 the possibility of providing financial support to reduce radon levels below 300 Bq m-3.

High radon levels at the Royal palace in Stockholm

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The new EURATOM BSS Directive 59/2013 aims to protect workers from the dangers coming from the exposure to radon gas. However, when we think of work places, usually we do not think in places like government buildings or royal palaces. But these buildings may be at risk of having high radon concentrations too. This is the case of the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden. High radon levels up to 15000 Bq m-3 have been reported on this location. We must remember that the reference level for radon in Sweden is 200 Bq m-3. For further information, you can check the news on the Swedish TV website and the VVS forum

Protocols for radon testing

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Last week, our specialist radon measurement advisor made a presentation at the UKRA symposium reviewing the existing protocols for radon testing. The main conclusions are: there is a new scenario after the implementation of EURATOM BSS 59/2013 Directive in Europe; most member states have adopted or will adopt a reference level of 300 Bq m-3;  the following EU countries have a protocol to describe how to measure radon (WP’s): Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Lithuania, UK, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden. Norway and Switzerland have similar protocols too. In addition to that, there is a new industrial guideline to measure radon at work places (IRMA 0791-30). A video of this presentation will be available soon at the UKRA website.

UKRA symposium 2018

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This week Radonova Laboratories AB has been a gold sponsor at UKRA symposium. The meeting has been organised by UK Radon association in the city of Bath, UK. More than 60 participants have attended 9 presentations and 6 case study talks. Tony Colgan, from IAEA, made the keynote presentation and the meeting has had speakers from Canada, Ireland, Sweden, UK and USA. In addition, 9 exhibitors have shown their products. Congratulations to UKRA for this fantastic event.

Accredited and validated laboratories for radon measurements

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The new Directive EURATOM BSS 2013/59 is being implemented on the EU member states. Therefore, the need for having radon measurements services that provide trustable results is a must. Some EU member states have published lists to include these services. Radonova Laboratories AB belongs to those lists. Two examples to keep in mind: PHE has a validation scheme for laboratories and recently, the Spanish Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) has published its own list. On this list, Radonova has added its resellers in Spain too.

Is an accredited radon measurement service really necessary?

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The challenge of making correct radon measurements

Testing laboratories aim to accomplish high standards in terms of laboratory practice, accuracy of their results and participation in inter-comparison exercises. To achieve that they formerly followed their own internal procedures and designed their own measurement protocols. Given that scenario, how reliable are test results? How can we compare the results obtained by two different laboratories using different testing protocols? The question becomes more relevant when we need to fulfil national legislation and provide results that would be accepted as legal evidence in a court of law.

Possible solutions

The best way to provide reliable test values and comparable results among laboratories might be to measure the same sample parameters following the same methods. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. One can perform a test and provide results for the same sample parameter using different approaches. ISO means International Standards Organization. The list of existing standards is very large, and they are applicable to almost any possible measurement. Not only testing, but also calibration has to be made according to common practices. Therefore, the only possible solution is to comply with ISO/IEC 17025 (revised in 2017).

The name of the game – Accreditation according to ISO/IEC 17025

ISO/IEC 17025 contains general requirements to assess the proper competence of testing and calibrating laboratories. It is a full quality system that can be applied to any testing/calibration activity and is particularly relevant to the measurement of radon levels. Accreditation means that the laboratory has met the Management Requirements and Technical Requirements of ISO/IEC 17025  and is deemed technically competent to produce calibration and testing results. This means that we can always verify that our measurements are correct, both accurate and reproducible. This standard is valid for any organization performing testing activities and applies equally to very small laboratories right up to large corporations.

The future

Due to the recent EURATOM BSS Directive, it is necessary to establish a reference level of radon gas concentration in each EU member state. The Directive mandates member states to monitor radon levels in dwellings, work places and public areas. A detailed list of actions is included in the Directive and all member states must set up a national radon action plan. Hence the need to have credible results is essential and the consequences of bad practice may imply serious deviations from the level of accomplishment required by the Directive. Currently, most national authorities demand measurement protocols from the testing service being used and a quality system in place. The accreditation awarded under ISO/IEC 17025 meets this demand ensuring confidence in the accuracy and precision of measurements. It comes with an implicit guarantee that a quality system is in place with systematic procedures supporting each reported value.

The Castleisland Radon Survey

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EPA radon-Ireland (former Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland) has a long tradition of radon research. The radon program in Ireland is a good example of increasing awareness among general public and good practices. Radon maps are becoming more and more popular. However, we should not forget that the best way to investigate radon concentrations at homes is by means of a radon measurement. The Castleisland radon survey is an example of homes with very elevated radon levels located in a low-risk area in the county of Kerry. In July 2003, “a house located in the vicinity of Castleisland was identified with an average radon concentration seasonally adjusted of 49,000 Bq/m3 (highest level ever measured in a house in the country)”

Other forms of cancer due to radon

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We use to say that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer. There is enough scientific evidence to prove this. However, other forms of cancer may be due to radon too. Dr. Leslie Sutherland from Health Sciences North Research Institute in Canada is leading a project funded by NEO kids foundation to look into “how the exposure of radon is altering human cells of the lung, at the molecular level”. Leukaemia is the most common cause of cancer among children and radon has been associated with certain types of leukaemia. You can find more information about this in a recent article published at The Sudsburystar.

UKRA symposium – Bath (UK)

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Radonova will be gold sponsor at the upcoming UKRA symposium that will be held in Bath, UK. The symposium will start in the evening on 14th March with a networking activity. On 15th March, different speakers from around the world will present contributions that will include the UK National Radon Action Plan. Jose – Luis Gutierrez Villanueva from Radonova will make the presentation entitled “protocols for radon testing”. His presentation will deal with existing measurement protocols to determine radon concentration in dwellings and workplaces. He will make a summary of the official guidelines in Europe and present some common points. Come to Bath and join us on the second edition of this UKRA event!

Duotrak® NRPP (National Radon Proficiency Program – ANSI-AARST) Device Approval

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Radonova is proud to announce that our product Duotrak® has been officially listed with NRPP as standard measurement device for the use in  the United States and Canada. NRPP is the National Radon Proficiency Program. Products listed with NRPP ensure that they follow the standard protocols issued by ANSI-AARST for performing radon measurements. Duotrak® offers you a simple way to separate radon exposure measurements made during working hours from non-working hours at the work place.

CARST 2018

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CARST (Canadian Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists) organises this 2018 Annual Radon Conference in Ottawa (22-24 April). This year´s topic is “An Elemental Approach: RADON in EARTH AIR WATER”. Radonova is very proud to be gold sponsor of the conference. In addition, Radonova will have one speaker on April 23 presenting the new EURATOM BSS (Basic Safety Standards) Directive.

RADON AWARENESS

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Professionals dealing with radon gas know how important to increase radon awareness is. An article published on St Valentine’s day in the North Shore news interviewed two important names on radon awareness in Canada: Dr. Anne-Marie Nicol (Simon Fraser University) and Alan Whitehead (founding board member and President of CARST and CEO of Radon Environmental). Anne-Marie and Alan are working hard on increasing radon awareness among Canadian population. Anne-Marie is leading a project at her university called “Citizen Scientist Project for radon gas”. These are two examples of joint efforts from scientific and commercial sides to increase radon awareness and therefore protect people from radon exposure.

metroRADON consortium meeting

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Radonova Laboratories is a radon testing company and a producer of radon detectors that has strong interest on radon research. Therefore, it aims to state up-to-date on the most important radon research activities carried out within the scientific community. Due to this, Radonova Laboratories is one of the stakeholders and part of the Industry Interest Group of the EMPIR project metroRADON. This week, Radonova Laboratories has participated in the metroRADON consortium meeting that was held in Braunschweig (Germany) on 20-21 February. 30 participants from different research institutions presented the progress of the project and the upcoming activities.

ERA YouTube Channel

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Radonova Laboratories is founding member of the European Radon Association (ERA) and it has been an active member since 2013. ERA has made its name on the radon community in Europe and it is recognised as an important voice on radon issues. On the last edition of the European Radon Day, ERA made a series of videos in different languages (English, French, German and Spanish) about radon and the EURATOM Basic Safety Standards Directive. You can find these videos on the ERA YouTube channel.

Not only radon … but also Radiocaesium

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Radonova Laboratories is a company that not only deals with radon, but also with the measurement of #Radiocaesium (137Cs). Last fall we measured one sample meat with very high levels of 137Cs. The English newspaper “The Telegraph” published on 6th of October an interesting article entitled “Radioactive wild boar spark concerns in Sweden 31 years after Chernobyl”. We must recall that half-life of 137Cs is 30.07 y. The article reports that the radiation level was 16,000 becquerel per kilogram (Bq kg-1). The limit for 137Cs content is 1500 Bq kg-1. At Radonova Laboratories we also perform 137Cs measurements and this is part of our accreditation ISO 17025.

Deadline EURATOM BSS 2013/59

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The deadline for the implementation of EURATOM BSS Directive 2013/59 was 6th February 2018. Radonova laboratories would like to remind the following:

About #radon gas: Although #radon is a natural radioactive gas, elevated #radon levels indoors are not natural but a by-product of building practices. #radon levels may change daily, and #radon gas accumulation occurs indoors in all type of buildings.

#radon as a health risk: It has been scientifically proved throughout several scientific studies that exposure to #radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer (Darby S. et al, Scand j Work Environ Health 2006;32 (1):1-84; Darby et al, BMJ, doi:10.1136/bmj.38308.477650.63 (published 21 December 2004); Lubin at al, Int. J. Cancer: 109, 132–137 (2004); Lubin et al, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A Vol. 69, Iss. 7-8, 2006). #radon decay products attach to the respiratory system and may cause damage to our DNA.

EURATOM BSS: The new Directive establishes a reference level of 300 Bq m-3. The Directive mandates member states to monitor #radon levels in dwellings, work places and public areas. A detailed list of actions is included on the document and all member states have to set up a national #radon action plan.

#radonawareness

New guide – Reducing the Risk from Radon: Information and Interventions

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CRCPD (Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors) has issued a new guide for health care providers. The document is entitled “Reducing the Risk from Radon: Information and Interventions”. It is a very interesting document that describes in 11 pages basic facts about radon: what is radon?; radon health risk; scientific evidence of connection between radon and lung cancer; how to test radon?; how to reduce radon levels?; and other resources. NOTE: EPA’s radon action level of 4 pCi/L is equivalent to 148 Bq/m3.

You can download the document here

ICRP Dose Conversion Factors

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ICRP, International Commission on Radiological Protection, has issued the document ICRP Publication 137 (ICRP, 2017. Occupational Intakes of Radionuclides: Part 3. ICRP Publication 137. Ann. ICRP 46(3/4)). This document is entitled “Occupational intakes of radionuclides: Part 3”. The publication contains an electronic annex with a comprehensive set of committed effective and equivalent dose coefficients for radon among other radionuclides. A summary of ICRP Recommendations on radon can be found here

Can we reduce radon levels? Yes, we can do that!

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Interview Dr. Borja Frutos-Vazquez

On a recent interview for one Spanish radio station, Dr. Borja Frutos-Vazquez made an excellent review of radon fundamentals and radon prevention and remediation techniques. He covers most aspects from what radon is to how to remove radon from dwellings. The interview is in Spanish, but it is worth the effort to listen to. Dr. Frutos-Vazquez is a prominent researcher on radon in Spain and he was member of the EC of ERA (European Radon Association; www.radoneurope.org). You can access the interview on the following link: https://www.ivoox.com/que-hacer-frente-al-radon-audios-mp3_rf_23344947_1.html

It is possible to reduce radon levels and it is task to be accomplished by all members of the society, from general public to the stakeholders and policy makers.

EU Directive 2013/59/Euratom offer better protection towards radon

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The Council of the European Union issued the new Directive EURATOM Basic Safety Standards (BSS) in January 2014. This document aims to offer better protection for people in workplaces and in dwellings. The document introduces radon gas for the first time into the radiological protection system and establishes a reference level of 300 Bq m-3. In addition to this, the occupational exposure regulation for radon in workplaces has 6 mSv y-1 as the limit value. Above this limit, the situation should be managed as a planned exposure situation and below the limit the requirement is to keep exposures under review.

Implementation in February 2018

The deadline to implement the new Directive is February 2018. Not only reference levels must be introduced in the 28 EU countries, but also national radon action plans have to be developed. Traditionally, the situation of radon policies throughout Europe has been very different from country to country. Nordic countries, Ireland and the UK have some of the most advanced radon programmes while southern countries have done much less to tackle the radon issue.

Main articles about radon

There are four articles very relevant in terms of radon exposure: Art. 2, Art. 54, Art. 74 and Art. 103. According to Article 2, the Directive applies in particular to the exposure of workers or members of the public to indoor radon. So, after implementation of the new Directive, all EU member states will have to include all sectors of their population into the system of radiological protection when it comes to monitoring radon exposure. Articles 54 (radon exposure at workplaces) and 74 deal with the reference level in the member states. The reference levels for the annual average activity concentration in air shall not be higher than 300 Bq m−3. Finally Article 103 refers to the establishment of a national action plan addressing long-term risks from radon exposure in dwellings, buildings with public access and workplaces for any source of radon ingress. Annex XVIII on the document sets out the issues of the action plan.

Five countries have already implemented EU Directive 2013/59/Euratom

Article 106 of the Directive clearly states that “Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with this Directive by 6 February 2018”. In order to get an overview of the implementation’s state, the recent International Workshop on the European Atlas of Natural Radiation dedicated a special session to the implementation state. Almost all EU member states made a presentation and it was concluded that only 5 countries have already implemented the Directive at the time of the workshop. Some countries will implement the new legislation on time before the deadline but a significant amount of member states will have problems complying on time.

International Workshop on the European Atlas of Natural Radiation

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The second edition of the International workshop on the European Atlas of Natural Radiation took place in Verbania, Italy from 6th to 9th November 2017. More than 70 participants gathered in this Italian city on the shore of the famous Lake Maggiore. The audience was composed of researchers and authorities with responsibility for radiological protection.  A small number of private companies were among the participants including Radonova Laboratories AB. The European Radon Association was also represented at this meeting.

Description

The workshop included 10 sessions and 60 oral presentations. The sessions dealt with the following topics:

  1. Radon policies
  2. Sources of natural radiation: geochemical, gamma, soil and water
  3. Sources of natural radiation: instruments, buildings
  4. Radon and geology
  5. Radon priority areas: methodology
  6. Radon priority areas: risk, mapping, classification
  7. Relationship between variables: methodology, multivariate
  8. Relationship between variables: multivariate, transport
  9. Indoor radon
  10. Atlas publication

Radon policies, radon as a tracer and radon in water

The workshop opened with Radon policies and during that session speakers from IAEA, EU, WHO, ERA and other on-going research projects, (metroRADON, LIFE-RESPIRE, Ribibui) discussed the current effect of the radon issue on EU legislation and the Basic Safety Standards documents issued by the EU and IAEA. The question of the current state of DCF’s (Dose Conversion Factors) was addressed as well as radon enforcement actions. Speakers representing 11 countries made presentations concerning sources of natural radiation. The first talk of this session showed the current state of the European Radon Map. It followed talks about the use of radon as a tracer, surveys performed in some countries to assess exposure to gamma radiation, fertilisers with radionuclide content and building materials. Also, radon in water was included for the first time in the workshop.

Radon priority areas, geology and eartquakes

The connection between radon and geological activity included the topic of using radon to forecast earthquakes. The new EURATOM BSS requires the need to define radon priority areas in the EU member states. Therefore, a significant number of presentations were devoted to this subject. Germany, Ireland, Austria, Croatia and Spain presented their advances on this important topic that will be very relevant in the upcoming implementation of the EURATOM BSS Directive. The last day included presentations focusing on indoor radon surveys in various countries, especially those in Eastern Europe.

The European Atlas of Natural Radiation

To conclude the workshop, Giorgia Cinelli and Tore Tollefsen (JRC, EU) presented their progress to date with the publication of the European Atlas of Natural Radiation. This is intended to be an encyclopaedia of natural radiation and it is expected to be finalised at the end of 2018.

ROOMS 2017 and National Irish Radon Forum

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ROOMS meetings have been a must on radon mitigation in Europe since 2000. ROOMS is the acronym for Radon Outcomes On Mitigation Solutions. This series of meetings began in 2000 as an initiative for people associated with radon mitigation in Europe, bringing together academic research and practical experience from industry. The first meetings were held in Central Europe and the official language was German. ROOMS has evolved over the years and become a very important event on radon mitigation in Europe. Nowadays, ROOMS meetings are supported by ERA (European Radon Association) and more than 100 people meet every year. It is an international event (English has substituted German as the official language) and this year it was hosted by EPA-Ireland and NUIG (National University of Ireland Galway).

The city of Galway was an excellent choice for the event and Radonova laboratories participated with two representatives. ROOMS was followed by the National Irish Radon Forum organised by EPA-Ireland.

ROOMS started with presentations from universities and research institutions. First, Le Chi Hung (NUIG, Ireland) presented “An investigation of the optimum specification for soil depressurization systems (active and passive) that take account of Irish building practices”, a project carried out in collaboration with the University of Cantabria (Spain). This presentation was followed by a speaker from CSTB (France), Emilie Powaga. Emilie’s presentation focused on the fact that sometimes sumps are not good solutions to reduce radon levels. After CSTB’s presentation, Connie Box (Bjerking AB, Sweden) presented practical examples of mitigations in old buildings in Sweden. Gernot Wurm (AGES, Austria) made a remarkable exposition of the new Austrian standard for radon prevention in new buildings. Per Nilsson’s presentation (Independia International, Sweden) concerned the Scandinavian experience of radon diagnostics and corrective action. He concluded with the message that testing does not save any lives. Ingvild Finne (NRPA, Norway) talked about the effect on radon levels after the introduction of binding requirements for preventive measures in new buildings in Norway. The significance of this action centred on reducing the radon concentration in homes (40 %) and the percentage of houses above the action limit.

The first day of the meeting ended with presentations made by Borja Frutos-Vazquez (Eduardo Torroja Institute for construction sciences, Spain), Mary T. O’Mahony (HSE, Ireland) and Boris Dehandschutter (FANC, Belgium). Boris showed some interesting facts about the radon problem in karstic regions. These regions may have an increased radon risk. Limestone represents a low to medium risk however the radon variations in karst regions are very high. Radon mitigation in these areas is a big issue.

The second day at ROOMS began with presentations made by Fabio Barazza (Federal Office Public Health, Switzerland), Viktoria Schauer (AGES, Austria), Stephanie Hurst (Saxon State Ministry, Germany), Celine de Potter (HEIA FR, Switzerland) and James McGrath (NUIG, Ireland). James presented a project where they are handling 32 Gb of data in order to understand the ventilation and radon concentration in terms of energy efficiency in Irish buildings. After the break, the speakers varied from the private sector (Thomas Streil, SARAD Germany) and public institutions (NRPA, Belarus Science Academy and State office for Nuclear Safety from Czech Republic).

Next year ROOMS will be part of European Radon Week which will take place during the last week of September 2018 in Lugano, at SUPSI.

The main presentations at the National Irish Radon Forum were made by Stephanie Long and David Fenton. Stephanie presented the national radon control strategy showing impressive and outstanding work on radon in Ireland. They have completed a training course for site staff and radon remediators. In addition, the Law society of Ireland has raised three questions concerning radon which must be answered before putting a home on the market.

David Fenton delivered the current state of the EURATOM BSS implementation in Ireland. The key facts are: a reduction in the reference level for workplaces; clearer requirements on carrying out radon measurements and when to remediate; radon measurements must be made by a registered radon measurement service. ‘Register’ means registered with the EPA; 3 month tests will be required. The new radon reference level in Ireland will be 300 Bq m-3.  The full text of the Directive in Ireland can be found here