Radon Project

Elevated levels of radon concentration in buildings increase the likelihood of cancer . Since indoor radon can be regulated, in many countries, including Israel, restrictions have been placed on its concentration in residential, public and industrial buildings. In order to regulate the indoor radon, methods and instruments are being developed for testing in existing and new buildings. Relatively recently, the radon factor was taken into account in the design and construction of buildings. To ensure the radiation safety of the building, information is used both about the potential radon hazard of the soil at the construction site, and about the radiation properties of building materials. In relation to existing buildings with an elevated level of radon, actions are taken to reduce it, called mitigation .

 

The NRBI (Department of Building Materials, Performance and Technology) began the international Radon Project  in 2018. The main goal of this project is to study the patterns of radon temporal variations in Israeli buildings for the standardization of radon testing methods and optimization of large-scale (mass) measurement strategy. An additional objective of the project is to conduct mass measurements in dwellings to assess the radiation dose to the Israeli population due to radon, as well as to identify buildings with a high radon content. To implement this study, a system for organizing mass measurements of indoor radon was created using a mobile application and the method of radon adsorption in activated charcoal. The measurement results are stored in a secure database and published without personal data.

At the beginning, indoor radon measurements were carried out in the dwellings of NBRI employees and Technion students in Haifa. Then, after the approval of the Ministry of Education, radon tests began to be conducted in the dwellings of schoolchildren throughout Israel, thanks to the active participation of the Taking Citizen Science to Schools (TCSS) Center , which is the link between the NBRI and school institutions. Measurement results are presented at the Radon Map .

The first results of mass radon survey in Israel are presented in the paper entitled “A radon survey in Israel involving school children by means of the “RadonTest” online system”

The study uses a citizen science approach for data collection, in which the public (in this case school students) assist scientists in their research. The participation of schoolchildren in the habitat security control can be regarded as a national educational project providing important information to the public about the “radon problem”. We expect that in the future the residents themselves, public organizations, insurance companies, as well as representatives of the authorities of different levels will be the initiators of indoor radon tests. Thus, the Radon Map will be continuously updated with adding new data, increasing the coverage of surveys in Israel . Thus, the radiation dose from radon obtained by building occupants and workers will be estimated more accurately, and buildings with high radon concentrations, which require mitigation, will be easier identified.