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DETERMINING RADON-RELATED INDECES OF SITES

Radioactive radiation  is a natural phenomenon in the environment. With respect to the possible harmful effects of such radiation on living organisms, it is being measured to evaluate health risks.  Radon (222Rn), source of alpha radiation, amounts to approximately 50% of the total dosage of absorbed radiation from natural sources.

Radon is a gas formed due to changes of radionuclides in soil and rock formations from which it spreads into soil air.  If no effective measures are taken, radon penetrates from subsoil into buildings. In residential houses, where concentrations of radon are high, there are higher health risks (e.g. lung cancer).

In the Czech Republic, Act No. 18/1997 Coll. (Atom Act) and relevant regulations are the normative documents concerning nuclear radiation and its use.

Legislation concerning determination of the radon-related index in sites is found in Section 6, paragraph 4 of the Atom Act:

Whoever proposes siting of construction with living or accommodation rooms or applies for a construction permit for such a construction, shall ensure the determination of radon-related index of the site and submit the results to the construction office. If such construction is placed on a site with a radon-related index higher than low, the construction shall be protected preventively against radon penetration from the subsoil. The terms for execution of preventive measures shall be set down by the construction office in a decision on the construction siting or in a construction permit.

Determination of radon-related index is based on an assessment of values of radon volume activity in soil air and an assessment of gas permeability of soil. The higher radon volume activity in soil air and the greater permeability of layers of soil, the higher the risks that significant amounts of radon would penetrate into the construction.

When assessing sites smaller or equal to 800 m2, radon levels are measured in at least 15 points spread all over the building site and its vicinity.

Specification for measuring and assessing radon levels is given in Section 94 of Decree 307/2002 Coll. The guidelines for measuring and determining radon-related index of sites are in keeping with the Recommendations of SÚJB (State Office for Nuclear Safety), Radiation protection, Metodika pro stanovení radonového indexu pozemku (Guidelines for determining radon-related index of sites), SÚJB, Prague March 2004.



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