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ROOMS 2017 and National Irish Radon Forum

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

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