Thursday May 25 , 2017
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Radon exposure management

Between September 2009 and January 2010, EAN performed a survey on the national management of radon exposure. The 5 following questions were sent to the participants to the network.

  1. Is there a specific radon policy in your country?
  2. If so, when was it implemented?
  3. Have action levels (ICRP 60) or reference levels (ICRP 103) been fixed? For workplaces? For domestic dwellings?
  4. How far is this policy implemented?
  5. We would also be interested in documentations related to this policy (even if it is not in English).
In total, answers from the 17 following countries were received: Armenia, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK.

pdf.pngDownload the results of the survey (pdf)

Short summary of the answers

In most countries, regulations are currently based on EC Directives 96/29/EURATOM for workplaces and EC recommendation 90/143/EURATOM for dwellings.

For workplaces, action levels are defined either in terms of radon concentration (Bq/m3) or in radon concentration-hours (Bq.h/m3), which take into account the duration of exposure. The range of levels varies respectively between 400 and 3000 Bq/m3 (most of the time 400 Bq/m3) and between 800 and 2000 kBq.h/m3.

For dwellings, actions levels are defined only in terms of radon concentration (Bq/m3): and range between 100 and 1000 Bq/m3 (most values are 200 or 400 Bq/m3).

In September 2009, the WHO published the WHO Handbook on Indoor Radon, which proposes new levels for managing radon in dwellings. The WHO now recommends a reference level of 100 Bq/m3 to minimize health hazards due to radon. If compliance with this level cannot be achieved, the reference level should not exceed 300 Bq/m3, which represents approximately an effective dose of 10 mSv/year.

Many countries have initiated a process to revise the regulation or recommendations, in particular after the publication of the WHO Handbook in September 2009. It is the case in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland and the UK. Other countries, e.g. Italy, which had no regulation on radon in dwellings, after the publication of the WHO Handbook decided to start a process to set up a regulation based on the WHO recommendations.

The following table summarizes the national action levels for workplaces and dwellings.

Country
Regulation
Action levels for workplaces
Action levels for dwellings
Austria

Recommendation Austrian RP Commission (1992)

NORM Ordinance (2008)

Action level: 400 Bq/m3 (maximal 20 mSv/a including all NORM exposures)

Existing buildings: 400 Bq/m3

New buildings: 200 Bq/m3

ArmeniaUnder development
Belgium

Federal RP regulation (2001)

FANC radon action plan (2005)
3 mSv/y or 800 kBq.h/m3 (compulsory)

Existing buildings: 400 Bq/m3

New buildings: 200 Bq/m3

Croatia
No formal official policy defined yet
Czech Republic

Governmental decision (1999)

Decree of the SONS (2002)

Action level: 1000 Bq/m3

Existing buildings: 400 Bq/m3

New buildings: 200 Bq/m3 

Denmark
For dwellings: Building Code
Action level: 400 Bq/m3

New buildings: 100 Bq/m3

Existing buildings: 100 Bq/m3 for simple remedial measures and 200 Bq/m3 for more comprehensive and costly measures

Finland

Decision of Min. of Social Affairs & Health 944/1992

Radiation Act 592/1991

Action level: 400 Bq/m3

Existing buildings: 400 Bq/m3

New buildings: 200 Bq/m3

France

Public buildings: Code of Public Health (2007)

Ministerial Order 07/2004

National radon action plan (2005-2008)

Workplace: Ministerial Order 08/2008

Dwellings: Law (07/2009)

400 Bq/m3

1000 Bq/m3


Existing public buildings: 400 Bq/m3 (simple corrective actions within a 2-year time), 1000 Bq/m3 (radon diagnosis and implementation of remediation actions)

New buildings: 200 Bq/m3 (recommended value)

Germany

Dwellings: only recommendation

Workplace: legislation (RP ordinance 2001)

2.106 Bq.h/m3

(20 mSv/y <=> 6.106 Bq.h/m3)

Voluntary action level: 100 Bq/m3 (annual mean value)
Greece

RP Regulations 2001

Recommendation 90/143/EURATOM

400 Bq/m3

Existing buildings: 400 Bq/m3

New buildings: 200 Bq/m3

Ireland
RP Act, 1991 - (IR) Order 2000 (for workplaces)
400 Bq/m3 (since 2000)

Homes (since 1990): 200 Bq/m3

Schools (since 1998): 200 Bq/m3

Italy
Decree May 2000

Workplaces: 500 Bq/m3 (annual average)

NORM industries, spas and mines: 1 mSv/y of total effective dose (see full text for details)

Decided to be set-up on the basis of the WHO recommendations
Lithuania
HN 85:2003

Existing buildings: 400 Bq/m3 a or 800 Bq/m3 b

New buildings: 200 Bq/m3 a or 400 Bq/m3 b

Existing buildings: 400 Bq/m3

New buildings: 200 Bq/m3

Slovenia
Ionizing Prot. & Nuc. Safety Act

1000 Bq/m3

3200 Bq/m3 (category A workers)

400 Bq/m3

Recommended value: 200 Bq/m3

Spain

Royal Decree 783/2001

Specific criteria defined in 2007

Action level for remedial actions: 400 Bq/m3

New buildings: 200 Bq/m3

Action level for remedial actions: 400 Bq/m3

New buildings: 200 Bq/m3

Sweden
Radon program since 1980
400 Bq/m3200 Bq/m3 (existing and new buildings)
Switzerland
RP Ordinance June 22, 1994
3000 Bq/m3

Compulsory remediation: 1000 Bq/m3

New construction and remediation programmes: 400 Bq/m3

UK
Initial advice in 1987, updated in 1990
400 Bq/m3 (annual average)
200 Bq/m3 (annual average)

..................
currently under revision or recently revised

a. if more than 80% of working time is spent in the building
b. if less than 80% of working time is spent in the building