One of the biggest radon events this year took place in the beautiful city of Vienna in February. The headquarters building of the Austrian Federal Office of Metrology and Surveying, BEV, hosted this international event. The local organisers of the event were AGES (Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety) and BEV, and altogether they made this event something that stands out in the list of radon events organised so far in Europe. Other co-organisers of the week’s activities were the ERA (European Radon Association), the EMPIR project MetroRADON (Metrology for Radon Monitoring) and the JRC (Joint Research Centre).
Special acknowledgement must be given to Valeria Gruber, Klara Himmenbauer and Wolfgang Ringer from AGES, Franz-Josef Maringer and Michael Stika from BEV, Hanna Wiedner as MetroRADON project coordinator and Giorgia Cinelli from JRC. Such a big event would be meaningless without speakers, participants and exhibitors. The organisers received more than 100 registrations which exceeded the initial expectation for the event. The week was divided into 3 separate events: an ERA workshop, a MetroRADON workshop and a JRC workshop.
This year’s ERA workshop was entitled, “Radon research in Europe”. Speakers from Canada, Italy, Japan and Ireland presented the main outcomes of the radon projects currently ongoing in these four countries. The second part of the workshop was an activity called “World Café”. Participants discussed, in different groups, the following topics: radon measurement and methods; radon priority areas and mapping; risk assessment and dosimetry; building protection; management of workplaces; risk communication and stakeholder engagement. The day ended with the ERA Annual General Meeting where Tryggve Rönnqvist from Radonova Laboratories AB was awarded the ERA annual award for his life-long career in radon business and research.
MetroRADON is a project that involves participants from National Metrological Institutes, Research Institutes and Universities, as well as private companies all working on radon. The project started in June 2017 and will be concluded at the end of 2020. This workshop had the title “Harmonisation of radon measurement methodologies and radon priority areas – results of the MetroRADON project”. The task leaders from the work packages 2, 3 and 4 presented the main results of their activities so far.
JRC has a long tradition of radon research and this year the workshop dealt with “Technical solutions for displaying and communicating indoor radon data”. Not only did national authorities present their views on the subject but also other researchers who contributed, on the second day, by delivering presentations focussing on the topic of risk communication and radon.
To sum up, Vienna was the perfect place during the 5 days of the events where the European radon experts together with researchers outside Europe presented their most up-to-date results. Due to the Covid19 outbreak, several speakers could not attend the event and made their presentations online. This was such an experience, but it worked very well and contributed to making the event even more interesting.
What’s next on radon events in Europe? If all is fine with Covid19, Prague will be the next step in September 2020 where the workshop GARRM will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. See you all in Prague in September!