A wealth of data have been gathered so far on the radioactivity of soils, soil emanation characteristics and high radon-prone areas during the Indoor Radon National Surveys of France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece - some of these surveys still being under completion, however (e.g., France).
In many instances, it has been found that high radium concentrations in soils and/or unusual soil characteristics (e.g., high permeability) were not the exclusive explanations for abnormal indoor radon: building materials, indeed, may also contribute substantially to the high levels of indoor radon disclosed in some dwelling houses.
The Project undertook to design, investigate and validate the most appropriate mitigation techniques taking into account the particular features of the housing stock in each of the Participants' country. Researches had to be carried out both in the laboratory and in the so called "laboratory houses" - either actual houses (under the householder good will), or specially designed laboratory rooms. This objective encompasses also the laboratory study of building and decorative materials, either as a source of indoor radon, or as a radon barrier.
Typically, both the radium content and the exhalation rate of representative samples of raw materials or structural modules have been measured, yielding an evaluation of the emanation factor (Portugal, Spain, Greece). The ability of various readily available covering materials to lower this emanation factor has also been thoroughly investigated (France, Portugal, Spain). Both regimes of radon transport, namely diffusion and viscous flow, have been investigated, yielding experimental values of the diffusion and permeability coefficients.
BOTH IN FRANCE AND ITALY, NATIONAL SURVEYS HAVE BEEN CARRIED OUT IN ORDER TO ESTIMATE PUBLIC EXPOSURE TO INDOOR RADON, IN THESE TWO COUNTRIES SIGNIFICANTLY HIGH LEVELS HAVE BEEN FOUND RELATED EITHER TO THE ELEVATED POTENTIAL OF RADON FROM SOILS (ESPECIALLY IN FRANCE) BUT ALSO TO RADIUM-RICH BUILDING MATERIALS (IN ITALY).
A SIMPLE AND RAPID RADON DIAGNOSTIC METHOD HAS GET BEEN DESIGNED WHICH ENABLES TO IDENTIFY RAPIDLY AND AT LOW COST THE CAUSES OF THE RADON PROBLEM THIS IS THE PRELIMINARY STEP OF A REMEDIAL ACTION.
REMEDIAL ACTIONS WILL BE BASED ON THE LIMITATION OF RADON ENTRY FROM SOILS AND BUILDING MATERIALS AND ON THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE VENTILATION SYSTEM IN THE HOUSES.
THE RESEARCH PROGRAMME WILL CONSIST IN:
- LABORATORY STUDIES ON THE REDUCTION OF RADON ENTRY IN THE HOUSES Y SEALING MATERIAL (CONCRETE SLAB, PLASTIC FILM, PAINTINGS...) AND FLOOR DRAINS. THEN THESE MATERIALS WILL BE TESTED IN HOUSES OF FRANCE AND ITALY WHERE ELEVATED LEVELS HAVE BEEN DETECTED,
- STUDIES ON THE SPECIFIC INFLUENCE OF EITHER NATURAL OR MECANICAL VENTILATION SYSTEM AND THE RELEVANT RECOMMANDATIONS WHICH COULD BE PROPOSED AS PREVENTION OR REDUCTION ACTIONS,
- ANALYSIS OF SOLUTIONS TO THE RADON PROBLEM WITH RESPECT TO THE CONSTRUCTION DESIGN, THE OCCUPANTS HABITS AND THE COST OF REMEDIAL ACTIONS.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts