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THE EFFECTIVENESS OF RADON REMEDIATION IN IRISH SCHOOLS

Synnott, Hugh; Colgan, Peter Anthony; Hanley, Olwyn; Fenton, David*

doi: 10.1097/01.HP.0000234038.25522.98
Paper

An advisory reference level of 200 Bq m−3 and a statutory reference level of 400 Bq m−3 apply to radon exposure in Irish schools. Following the results of a national survey of radon in Irish schools, several hundred classrooms were identified in which the reference levels were exceeded and a remediation program was put in place. This paper provides an initial analysis of the effectiveness of that remediation program. All remediation techniques proved successful in reducing radon concentrations. Active systems such as radon sumps and fan assisted under-floor ventilation were generally applied in rooms with radon concentrations above 400 Bq m−3. These proved most effective with average radon reduction factors of 9 to 34 being achieved for radon sumps and 13 to 57 for fan assisted under-floor ventilation. Both of these techniques achieved maximum radon reduction factors in excess of 100. The highest average reduction factors were associated with the highest initial radon concentrations. Passive remediation systems such as wall and window vents were used to increase background ventilation in rooms with radon concentrations below 400 Bq m−3 and achieved average radon reductions of approximately 55%. Following the installation of active remediation systems, the radon concentration in adjacent rooms, i.e., rooms in which the radon concentration was already below 200 Bq m−3 and therefore did not require remediation, was further reduced by an average of 25%. The long-term effectiveness of a number of radon sump systems with at least three years operation showed no evidence of fan failures. This study showed an apparent increase in sump effectiveness with time as indicated by an increase in radon reduction factors during this period.

* Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland, 3 Clonskeagh Square, Clonskeagh Road, Dublin 14, Ireland.

For correspondence contact H. Synnott at the above address, or email at hsynnott@rpii.ie.

(Manuscript accepted 14 June 2006)

©2007Health Physics Society