From its base in Cornwall, UK Radon Ltd provides radon advice, consultation and remediation for properties across England and Wales.
Radon is a naturally occurring, colourless, odourless, radioactive gas that is formed from the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium, which is present at varying concentrations in virtually all soils, rocks and waters. However, higher concentrations are present particularly in granites that are common across Cornwall and south Devon. At higher concentrations, radon exposure can increase the risk of lung cancer and respiratory health problems. Hence it is critical to understand where radon is present, at what levels, and how one can mitigate higher concentrations.
The core business of UK Radon Ltd is the installation of different types of sump systems, using either decreased pressure or increased air flow to reduce radon levels in domestic and commercial buildings. With Deep Digital Cornwall support and funding, UK Radon Ltd secured the opportunity to input their radon monitoring data to assess the effectiveness of each sump system. The business has been working with Dr Rich Crane and Dr Nick Harper at Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter, since early 2022, and was awarded an Innovation Voucher (£4,956) to conduct this study.
Analysis was undertaken by the team on UK Radon Ltd data to compare the percentage drop in radon to air flow speed and pressure drop, with further detail provided on the effectiveness of individual fan types as well as their effectiveness in different building types. Two key outputs from these analyses are:
- Fan speeds greater than 6m/s provide no discernible improvement in the percentage drop in radon levels, which is important for energy efficiency
- Less radon is removed at pressure drops greater than 250Pa
UK Radon Ltd have also told Deep Digital Cornwall that the result connected to the fan speed and percentage drop in radon level has led to a change in company approach, so that now UK Radon Ltd reduces the power on all fan sump systems to keep fan speeds below 6m/s.
The results of all these analyses were used by UK Radon Ltd in a presentation that was given by the company director at the European Radon Association Conference, Bergen, Norway, on 27th–28th September 2022. UK Radon Ltd told Deep Digital Cornwall that the presentation was a success with the potential for follow-up work, e.g., comparing study outputs with those of the Canadian government and a contractor in Norway. Further, UK Radon Ltd will make these data available for exploration in the Deep Digital Cornwall Visualisation Suite and are considering at least one research paper with Dr Rich Crane based on these results. UK Radon Ltd have also made the conference presentation slides available on the Deep Digital Cornwall website.