GI6.7

EDI
Geoscience applications of environmental radioactivity

Natural radioactivity is ubiquitous in the environment as a result of i) cosmic radiation from space and secondary radiation from the interaction of cosmic rays with the atmosphere, ii) terrestrial sources from soils and rocks and particularly Potassium, Uranium and Thorium and their decay products among which Radon gas stands out. Artificial radionuclides from nuclear and radiation accidents and incidents makes up an additional contribution to the environmental radioactivity.
Nuclear techniques enable the measurement of radioactivity in air, soils and water even at trace levels, making it a particularly appealing tool for tracing time-varying environmental phenomena. This session welcomes contributions addressing the measurement and exploitation of environmental radioactivity in all areas of geosciences, including, but not limited to:

- geological and geomorphological surveys;
- mineral exploration;
- groundwater contamination;
- coastal and marine monitoring;
- soil erosion processes;
- Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORMs);
- geostatistical methods for radioactivity mapping;
- airborne and drones surveys;
- novel methods and instrumentations;
- atmospheric tracing, mixing and transport processes;
- public health including the EU BSS directive and Euratom-Drinking Water Directive

Co-organized by AS4/NH8
Convener: Virginia StratiECSECS | Co-conveners: Xuemeng ChenECSECS, Anita Erőss, Viktor Jobbágy, Gerti Xhixha
Presentations
| Wed, 25 May, 10:20–11:50 (CEST)
 
Room 0.51

Presentations: Wed, 25 May | Room 0.51

Chairpersons: Virginia Strati, Anita Erőss
10:20–10:25
10:25–10:35
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EGU22-9600
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solicited
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Virtual presentation
Heiko Woith

Radon timeseries typically contain a mixture of periodic and transient signals. Radon cycles can cover a broad frequency spectrum ranging from half-diurnal (S2, M2), daily (S1, O1), multiday, fortnightly, monthly, semi-annually, seasonal, to decadal variations. Physically, these variations are caused by a complex mix of meteorological parameters like air pressure, air temperature, wind, humidity, rain, snow, soil moisture, as well as pressure and temperature gradients in the ground or water level changes. In rare cases also Earth tides may modulate the radon signal. From time to time transient signals appear on top of these quasi-periodic signals – sometimes even in the form of radon bursts. These bursts are characterised by a sharp increase in radon concentration, often followed by a decay-like decrease. They last for hours, days, or months; they occur in soil, sediments, and rocks (granite, phyllite, lava), and appear in various geological environments (mofettes, mud volcanoes, volcanoes, rift systems). Spike-like bursts were also reported for other gases like methane or carbon dioxide. Deformation and related pore-pressure changes are discussed as physical origin of these transients. Spike-like anomalies are frequently claimed to be earthquake precursors. But they can also be caused by external events, like strong rainfall events, lake-level changes and even be artificially induced, e.g. by drilling activities. Thus my working hypothesis is that it is not possible to deduce the origin of a spike-like anomaly from its form and duration.

How to cite: Woith, H.: Radon bursts, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-9600, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-9600, 2022.

10:35–10:40
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EGU22-3145
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On-site presentation
Peter Bossew and Eric Petermann

Exposure to indoor radon (Rn) is recognized as a health hazard which may cause several 100,000 lung cancer fatalities per year world-wide. Physical causes are Rn generation as part of the decay chains that originate in ubiquitous uranium and thorium and its transport through the natural to the built environment, where it can infiltrate indoor air. Generation and transport of Rn constitute geogenic Rn hazard. Its geographical distribution reflects the ones of the properties of the media in which the processes occur, namely their geochemistry and physical properties such as porosity, permeability and humidity. By linking to measured indoor Rn concentration, geogenic hazard can be transformed into the expected indoor Rn concentration in a hypothetical house at a location or the probability that in the house a Rn threshold is exceeded.

Hazard turns into risk if somebody is exposed to the hazardous agent. Given a certain amount of hazard, the risk results from conditions which enable exposure (defining vulnerability and susceptibility to the hazard) and the presence of people who are actually exposed. While hazard yields a probability that somebody exposed suffers a detriment, risk quantifies the size of the detriment, e.g. the expected number of Rn induced lung cancer fatalities per unit area. Elevated risk can occur also if the individual probability of detriment is low, if the number of exposed persons is high.

Rn abatement policy which through regulation aims to reduce the detriment, should respond differently to hazard and risk. In the former case, it should reduce the probability of individual high exposure occurring, by remediation, or avoiding it to occur, by preventive action. Responding to the latter means reducing collective exposure.

So far, policy has mainly focused on the first, i.e. hazard reduction, while comparatively less attention has been given to the second, although the overall detriment to society depends on it. Although Rn regulation has already been developed extensively in Europe, discussion of the aspect of collective risk reduction seems to be in the beginning only.

In this presentation, we outline the problem by showing the difference between hazard and risk and addressing existing Rn abatement strategies.

How to cite: Bossew, P. and Petermann, E.: Radon hazard vs. radon risk – consequences for radon abatement policy, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-3145, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-3145, 2022.

10:40–10:45
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EGU22-6049
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Virtual presentation
Susana Barbosa, José Matos, and Eduardo Azevedo


The automatic classification of peaks in gamma radiation time series is relevant for both scientific and practical applications. From the practical perspective, the classification of  peaks is fundamental for  early-warning systems for radiation protection and detection of radioactive material. From the scientific point of view, peaks in gamma radiation are often driven by precipitation  and consequent  scavenging of airborne radon progeny radionuclides to the ground (mainly Pb-214 and Bi-214). Thus measurements of gamma radiation at the earth's surface have the potential to provide information on micro-physical processes occurring high above in the clouds, as the dominant source of radon progeny is thought to be associated with in-cloud processes – nucleation scavenging and interstitial aerosol collection by cloud or rain droplets. 

The present study addresses the classification of peaks in high-resolution (1-minute) gamma radiation time series from the GRM (Gamma Radiation Monitoring) campaign, which is being carried out since 2015 at the Eastern North Atlantic (ENA) station of the ARM (Atmospheric Radiation Measurements) programme. In addition to the gamma time series, precipitation information from laser disdrometer measurements is considered, including rain rate, liquid water content, median drop diameter and droplet concentration. Diverse machine learning algorithms are examined with the goal to identify and classify gamma peaks driven by precipitation events, and further examine the association between precipitation characteristics and the resulting gamma radiation peak on the ground.

 

How to cite: Barbosa, S., Matos, J., and Azevedo, E.: Automatic classification of peaks in gamma radiation measurements from the Eastern North Atlantic (ENA-ARM) station in Graciosa island (Azores), EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-6049, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-6049, 2022.

10:45–10:50
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EGU22-4833
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ECS
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Highlight
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Virtual presentation
Justin Tabbett, Karen Aplin, and Susana Barbosa

Radon and its progeny are well-documented sources of natural radioactivity which can be used as benchmarks for testing a novel ionisation detector. The miniaturised ionisation detector was deployed aboard the NRP Sagres on a SAIL mission in July 2021 which travelled between the Açores and Lisbon in the North Atlantic Ocean. On its voyage, the detector profiled natural background radiation and in-directly detected cosmic ray muons, providing both spectroscopic energy discrimination and count rate data. The detector was simultaneously run with a NaI(Tl) gamma ray counter and other meteorological instruments.

The small form factor and low-power detector, composed of a 1x1x0.8 cm3 CsI(Tl) microscintillator coupled to a PiN photodiode, was able to identify gamma peaks from Bi-214 and K-40, having been calibrated using laboratory gamma sources up to 1.3 MeV. This research aims to investigate the performance of the ionisation detector and behaviour of discrete gamma energies over the duration of the voyage. Additionally, we will show a comparison of the CsI(Tl) based ionisation detector against the gamma ray counter which features a larger NaI(Tl) scintillator.

How to cite: Tabbett, J., Aplin, K., and Barbosa, S.: Measuring Background Radiation with a Novel Ionisation Detector Aboard A North Atlantic Voyage, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-4833, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-4833, 2022.

10:50–10:55
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EGU22-3966
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Virtual presentation
Stefan Röttger, Annette Röttger, Claudia Grossi, Ute Karstens, Giorgia Cinelli, and Chris Rennick

In the framework of the EMPIR project 19ENV01 traceRadon(1) [1] stable atmospheres with low-level, activity concentrations of radon have to be produced for the calibration of radon detectors [2] capable of measuring the outdoor air activity concentration. The traceable calibration of these detectors at very low activity concentrations is of special interest, for the radiation protection community, as well as the climate observation community. Because radiation protection networks (like the EUropean Radiological Data Exchange Platform (EURDEP)) and climate observation networks (like the Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS)) need reliable, accurate radon activity concentration measurements, either for identification of Radon Priority Areas (RPA), for false alarm prevention or to apply the Radon Tracer Method (RTM) for the estimation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Radon gas is the largest source of public exposure to naturally occurring radioactivity, and concentration maps based on atmospheric measurements aid developers to comply with EU Safety Standard Regulations. Radon can also be used as a tracer to evaluate dispersal models important for supporting successful greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation strategies. One of the recently most applied technique for this propose is the Radon Tracer Method (RTM). To reduce the uncertainty of both radiation protection measurements and those used for GHG modelling, traceability to SI units for radon exhalation rate from soil, its concentration in the atmosphere and validated models for its dispersal are needed. The project traceRadon started in 2020 to provide the necessary measurement infrastructure [3,4]. This is particularly important for GHG emission estimates that support national reporting under the Paris Agreement on climate change.

As there is an overlapping need between the climate research and radiation protection communities for improved traceability at low-level outdoor radon and radon flux measurements the project traceRadon works on this aspect for the benefit of two large scientific communities.  The results at midterm of the project are presented.

[1] Röttger, A. et al: New metrology for radon at the environmental level 2021 Meas. Sci. Technol. 32, 124008, https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6501/ac298d

[2] Radulescu, I et al.: Inter-comparison of commercial continuous radon monitors responses, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A, Volume 1021, 2022, 165927, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nima.2021.165927

[3] Mertes, F et. al.: Approximate sequential Bayesian filtering to estimate Rn-222 emanation from Ra-226 sources from spectra, https://doi.org/10.5162/SMSI2021/D3.3

[4] Mertes, F. et. al.: Ion implantation of 226Ra for a primary 222Rn emanation standard, Applied Radiation and Isotopes, Volume 181, March 2022, 110093, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apradiso.2021.110093


(1) This project has received funding from the EMPIR programme co-financed by the Participating States and from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. 19ENV01 traceRadon denotes the EMPIR project reference

How to cite: Röttger, S., Röttger, A., Grossi, C., Karstens, U., Cinelli, G., and Rennick, C.: New traceability chains for the measurement of radon at the environmental level, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-3966, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-3966, 2022.

10:55–11:00
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EGU22-775
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Highlight
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Virtual presentation
M. Candelaria Martín-Luis, Pedro A. Salazar-Carballo, María López-Pérez, Xiomara Duarte-Rodríguez, and María Esther Martín González

Radon (222Rn, t 1/2 = 3.82 days) is by far the dominant radionuclide in indoor air and constitutes a health hazard in poorly ventilated environments, such as caves, mines or tunnels. In these contexts, radon gas can accumulate, reaching harmful concentrations due to the ionizing radiation from 222Rn and its progeny. To minimize the exposure risk, a radon monitoring program is required to adopt mitigation measures for the radiological protection of workers, cavers and visitors. The Directive 2013/59/EURATOM sets the recommended occupational and public effective dose limits being 20 and 1 mSv/year, respectively.

El Viento Cave is a volcanic lava tube located in the northern flank of Pico-Viejo volcano, in the Icod Valley, (Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain). It was formed during the early eruptions of the Pico Viejo volcano, 27,030 ± 430 years ago, from basaltic, plagioclase-rich pahoehoe lavas. The cave has an extraordinary complexity, with several sinuous tubes and branches in three superimposed and interconnected levels and is considered the 5th longest volcanic cavity on Earth (Carracedo and Troll, 2013). A 200 m long segment of this lava tube, named “El Sobrado Cave”, is enabled for touristic visits. Only in 2019 the cave received more than 28000 visitors.

Monthly radon profiles were obtained during one year (from 2020/10/01 to 2021/09/30) in the touristic section of the cave by using SSNTD (CR-39), installed approximately every 35 m. Besides, a RadonScout monitor (SARAD GmbH) was set up at about 100 m from the cave entrance, for continuous monitoring (integration time of 1 hour) of radon and environmental parameters (air temperature, relative humidity, and barometric pressure).

222Rn levels inside the cave ranged from 0-5.000 Bq/m3, exhibiting seasonal, diurnal and semidiurnal fluctuations. Short-period radon variations (24 and 12 h frequencies) are related to air temperature and humidity. Long-period radon fluctuations (annual-seasonal) are correlated with rainfall, with lower radon levels in winter (rainy season) and higher in summer (dry season).

Annual mean effective dose due to 222Rn gas exposure was estimated from the geometric mean of radon concentration during the studied period, assuming an average indoor occupancy of 10 working hours/week during 48 weeks/year for guides and a punctual visit of 1 hour for tourists. In these conditions, the resulting annual effective dose computed for guides is below 2mSv/year.

References:

Carracedo, J.C. & Troll, V.R. (Eds.). (2013). Teide Volcano: Geology and Eruptions of a Highly Differentiated Oceanic Stratovolcano. Active Volcanoes of the World, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 296 pp.

How to cite: Martín-Luis, M. C., Salazar-Carballo, P. A., López-Pérez, M., Duarte-Rodríguez, X., and Martín González, M. E.: Radon monitoring in a volcanic cave: El Viento Cave (Canary Islands, Spain), EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-775, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-775, 2022.

11:00–11:05
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EGU22-2684
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ECS
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Highlight
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Virtual presentation
Eleonora Benà, Giancarlo Ciotoli, Chiara Coletti, Antonio Galgaro, Volkmar Mair, Matteo Massironi, Claudio Mazzoli, Corrado Morelli, Pietro Morozzi, Livio Ruggiero, Laura Tositti, and Raffaele Sassi

Radon (222Rn) is a radioactive gas widely considered an indoor air pollutant due to its harmful effects on human health (WHO, 2009). The Geogenic Radon Potential (GRP) quantifies what “Earth delivers” in terms of radon and represents the most important contributor to Indoor Radon Concentrations (IRC) indicating the potential risk over an area (Bossew 2015). This is the special case of some municipalities in Pustertal/Pusteria Valley (Bozen/Bolzano, North-Eastern Italy) which display a high IRC, based on Indoor measurements carried out by Minach et al. (1999), exceeding the threshold value recommended by EURATOM 59/2013. These municipalities are located along a wide brittle-fracture zone between the Pusteria Line (PL, the eastern part of Periadriatic Lineament) and the Deffereggen-Anterselva-Valles (DAV) faults. This fractured zone may act as preferential pathway for radon transport and migration by carrier gases (mainly CO2 and CH4), strongly contributing to its geogenic component. A GRP map of the study area has been developed based on field measurements of radon, thoron (220Rn) and other soil gases (CO2, CH4, H2, O2, H2S) according to a sampling grid in an area of 6x10 km, and along three profiles crossing above mentioned fault lines in Terenten/Terento, Mühlen/Molini and Pfalzen/Falzes specific areas. The GRP map was constructed by using soil gas radon data and other proxy variables in a spatial regression model. Soil gas measurements have been supported by high-resolution gamma-ray spectrometry on 16 rock samples belonging to the main outcropping lithologies in the study area i.e. granite, orthogneiss, micaschist-paragneiss, phyllite. The preliminary radon map highlights a wide area of radon anomaly located to the North of the Periadriatic Lineament. The global trend of these radon anomalies follows the structural trend of the brittle fracture zone between PL and DAV faults and tends to close from the eastern part (Pfalzen/Falzes) toward the western part (Terenten/Terento) of the study area. In particular the easternmost sector of the map displays a wide north-south area of radon anomaly related to a wide brittle-fracture zone probably composed by a system of sub-parallel faults. The spatial distribution of radon anomalies confirms the key role played by the Pustertal/Pusteria fault system in the fluid degassing processes enhancing geogenic radon potential of the Pustertal/Pusteria Valley.

 

Keywords: Natural Radioactivity, Geogenic Radon Potential, Indoor Radon, Periadriatic Lineament

 

References:

Bossew Peter.  Mapping the Geogenic Radon Potential and Estimation of Radon Prone Areas in Germany. Radiation Emergency Medicine 2015 Vol. 4, No.2 13-20.

Council Directive 2013/59/EURATOM. Basic safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to ionising radiation.

Minach L., Verdi L., Marchesoni C., Amadori C. Radon in Südtirol. Environmental Protection Agency. 1999.

WHO 2009. Zeeb H. and Shannoun F. (eds.) WHO handbook in Indoor Radon - a public health perspective. ISBN 978 92 4 1547672.

How to cite: Benà, E., Ciotoli, G., Coletti, C., Galgaro, A., Mair, V., Massironi, M., Mazzoli, C., Morelli, C., Morozzi, P., Ruggiero, L., Tositti, L., and Sassi, R.: The role of Pusteria fault zone (North-Eastern Alps, Italy) on enhancing the Geogenic Radon component, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-2684, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-2684, 2022.

11:05–11:10
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EGU22-9563
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ECS
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Highlight
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Virtual presentation
Raffaella Silvia Iovine, Monica Piochi, Rosario Avino, Emilio Cuoco, Carmine Minopoli, Alessandro Santi, Stefano Caliro, Antonio Piersanti, and Gianfranco Galli

Radon is an inert radioactive and radiogenic gas whose exposure is considered harmful for human health. Radon migrates in the hydrogeological systems and discharge into air when water is exposed to the atmosphere. In hydrothermal and geothermal settings of quiescent volcanoes, the surveillance of dissolved 222Rn can be useful to define the hydrological setting and to track fluids’ dynamics. The quantity of dissolved 222Rn depends on different factors such as the characteristics of the aquifer, water-rock-gas interactions, water residence time, radioactive supply. The present study provides measurements of radon concentration levels in 20 thermal waters at the Campi Flegrei volcanic caldera, an important geothermal system with hydrothermal manifestations in the Neapolitan area. We used a Radon-in-air detector (RAD7®, Durridge Co.) equipped with Big Bottle RAD H2O and DRTYSTICK accessories. Water samples are taken from subsurface thermal groundwater, springs, lakes, pools and one submerged thermal spring with different chemical-physical conditions. They are mostly chlorine to bicarbonate waters, with the exception of few sulphate, sampled nearby gas vents of Solfatara and Pisciarelli, with temperature and pH values ranging from 18.1 to 91.3 °C and from 2 to 8 respectively. The hottest and most acidic sulphate waters refer to a small boiling pool at the hydrothermal discharge area of Pisciarelli and have nearly zero Rn levels.

Dissolved radon concentrations vary from 0.1 ± 0.1 to 910 ± 9 Bq/L with an average value of 122.7 Bq/L, using the CAPTURE program, the default RAD7 data acquisition program. Similar values in radon concentration are obtained using the method proposed in De Simone et al. (2015), ranging between 0.1 ± 0.1 and 1037± 60 Bq/L with an average value of 133.0 Bq/L.

The 222Rn levels from this study not exceed the additional reference level of 1000 Bq/L that can be used in specific situations for the protection of human health.

No correlation has been observed between temperature, pH, major anions and radon concentration values, nor between rock composition since it is almost homogeneous at the study sites. Rn levels therefore appear to reflect the local sedimentological, structural or hydrogeological setting.

These results are the first of our investigation of dissolved Rn at the Campi Flegrei caldera, acquired in the ongoing “Pianeta Dinamico” project focused on the hydrothermal system functioning of the quiescent volcanoes and financed by the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia. The final goal will be to define the natural Rn fluctuations in relation to the background levels and eventual anomalies in the hydrogeological system, also for public health safety monitoring. Therefore, a future step in this framework will be integrating more dissolved radon measurements in the Campania territory using the same research approach adopted in this study.

 

De Simone G., Galli G., Lucchetti C., Tuccimei P. (2015) Calibration of Big Bottle RAD H2O set-up for radon in water using HDPE bottles Radiat. Meas., 76, pp. 1-7.

How to cite: Iovine, R. S., Piochi, M., Avino, R., Cuoco, E., Minopoli, C., Santi, A., Caliro, S., Piersanti, A., and Galli, G.: 222Radon (222Rn) levels of Thermal Waters in the geothermally active Campi Flegrei volcanic caldera (Southern Italy) using a RAD7 radon detector, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-9563, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-9563, 2022.

11:10–11:15
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EGU22-13477
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ECS
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On-site presentation
Alessandra Briganti, Mario Voltaggio, Paola Tuccimei, and Michele Soligo

Groundwater age can differ when determined by radioactive tracers due to different retardation factors. According to Krishnawami et al. 1982, Radon isotopes supply to groundwater is considered as a measure of the supply of Radium isotopes. This assumption considerably affects the estimation of the Ra retardation factor. Briganti et al. 2020 reports how the different groundwater supply mechanisms of Ra and Rn should be considered in order to avoid a relevant variation between the real water residence time and the age calculated. In the same work an alternative method for estimating Ra retardation factor is proposed without using Rn data as a comparison term. A synthesis of the main results of laboratory tests is presented in order to describe possible applications of the method.

References

Briganti A., Voltaggio M., Tuccimei P. & Soligo M. 2020. Radium in groundwater hosted in porous aquifers: estimation of retardation factor and recoil rate constant by using NAPLs. SN Appl. Sci. 2, 1934 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42452-020-03610-4

Krishnaswami S., Graustein W.S., Turekian K.K., Dowd J.F. 1982. Radium, thorium and radioactive lead isotopes in groundwaters: application to the in situ determination of adsorption-desorption rate constants and retardation factors. Water Resour. Res. 18:1633–1675.

How to cite: Briganti, A., Voltaggio, M., Tuccimei, P., and Soligo, M.: Residence time of groundwater in porous aquifers by estimating Ra retardation factor, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-13477, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-13477, 2022.

11:15–11:20
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EGU22-10471
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Virtual presentation
Bence Molnár, Petra Baják, Katalin Csondor, Viktor Jobbágy, Bálint Izsák, Márta Vargha, Tamás Pándics, Ákos Horváth, and Anita Erőss

As groundwater is an important source of drinking water, its quality is of great importance. In recent years, following the EU regulations, radioactivity parameters are also included among the quality measures. 

In the area of the city Sopron (Hungary), groundwater resources are used for drinking water supply. The area had been actively researched for fissile materials, and previous studies measured high radon activity for example in the geophysical observatory (500–1000 kBq m–3)  and in natural springs (up to 220 Bq L–1).

Natural springs bear important information about their parent flow systems, about the transit time and the rock-water interactions along the flow paths. The aim of the study was to investigate the natural springs of the Sopron Mountains and to measure not only the physico-chemical properties (discharge rate, pH, electrical conductivity, temperature, dissolved oxygen content, redox potential, major ion content), but also to determine the uranium, radium and radon activity concentration of the springwaters. 

The measurements revealed low discharge rate (< 5 L min–1), low dissolved solid content (< 450 mg L–1 TDS) and temperature (10–12°C) for the majority of the springs, which indicate that the waters travel in the subsurface along local flow systems. Two springs, which are situated in the foothills, i.e. at lower elevation, show higher dissolved solid content (1115 mg L–1, 481 mg L–1) and higher temperature (15.6°C, 16°C). Their uranium content was also higher, 86–93 mBq L–1. In the case of these springs, the physico-chemical parameters suggest longer travel time, i.e. more time for rock-water interactions which is reflected in their higher dissolved solid and uranium content.

Radon exceeding the 100 Bq L–1 activity concentration was measured in two springs. For the other springs, the radon concentrations were 2-79 Bq L-1.

As all the springs are situated in the regional recharge area of groundwater resources of the area, the study delivered important information regarding the rock-water interactions and the improvement of groundwater quality during subsurface reactions.

 

How to cite: Molnár, B., Baják, P., Csondor, K., Jobbágy, V., Izsák, B., Vargha, M., Pándics, T., Horváth, Á., and Erőss, A.: Natural radioactivity and rock-water interactions in the springs of Sopron Mountains (Hungary), EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-10471, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-10471, 2022.

11:20–11:25
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EGU22-10090
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ECS
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Presentation form not yet defined
Bo Lei, Frédéric Perrier, and Frédéric Girault

Radon-222 (222Rn) is a well-known tracer of atmospheric, environmental and geological processes. In a recent reviews of radon-222 flux (RF) from ground surface at continental scale, or in recent observations of RF in association with earthquakes, the question of the influence of vegetation cover emerges repeatedly. In this study, a total of 58 RF flux (RF) measurement were performed from ground surface in September 2021 at the Sapine drainage in the Mont Lozère (French Central Massif). The micro-observations site was located at the south slope of the granitic context between a forest and pasture. No significant difference was observed between the RF in pasture (225±63 mBq m-2 s-1) and forest (247±80 mBq m-2 s-1). These results are compared with other recent RF results obtained in granitic areas in France, and to experimental evidence on radium-226 distribution obtained in soils and in vegetation. Other systematic effects on RF, such as soil humidity, soil pH or soil temperature, and their potential consequences on transport processes are discussed, as well as their impact on various problems in geosciences.

How to cite: Lei, B., Perrier, F., and Girault, F.: Forest versus pasture radon-222 flux in a granitic context: the Sapine drainage basin at Mont Lozère, France, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-10090, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-10090, 2022.

11:25–11:30
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EGU22-10082
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ECS
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Virtual presentation
Misa Yasumiishi and Taku Nishimura

Artificial radionuclides emitted into the environment have become tools to understand the physical processes in the last half-century and model future geophysical phenomena. In the case of a high contamination event such as a nuclear accident, it is challenging to capture the three-dimensional subsurface migration behavior of radionuclides during the most dynamic and crucial period shortly after the initial fallout because of the risk to human observers. Thus, geophysical models often rely on stabilized radionuclides, hypothesizing the radionuclide mobility in the initial phase. This study aims to demonstrate the rapid changes of vertical profiles of Cs-137 in short years after initial depositions, using soil samples collected in a forest and on abandoned farmland in Fukushima, Japan, five to seven years after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Accident in 2011.

The subsurface migration profiles, including the actual migration head depth of Cs-137, were examined against local topographic indices. Some of the preliminary results show that actual subsurface migration of the FDNPP-derived Cs-137 was equal to or deeper than 30 cm depth in nine forest soil samples; the confirmed deepest migration was at 38 cm. Meanwhile, the actual migration depths in abandoned crop fields were less than 15 cm. Along a 500 m hillslope, deposition was observed at five locations. The interaction of the timing of deposition and erosion depths was deciphered from Cs-137 vertical profiles and surrounding topography. The findings from this study demonstrate the implications of radionuclides behavior during a dynamic migration period to natural and artificial environmental radioactivity analysis. To accurately estimate the activities of radionuclides years later, these initial losses and gains of target radionuclides in the soil need to be considered with temporal progress, along with nuclear decay.

How to cite: Yasumiishi, M. and Nishimura, T.: Learning from subsurface migration profiles of an artificial radionuclide during a volatile migration period, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-10082, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-10082, 2022.

11:30–11:35
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EGU22-11835
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ECS
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On-site presentation
Matteo Albéri, Daniele Cabras, Enrico Chiarelli, Luca Cicala, Tommaso Colonna, Matteo Corbo, Mario De Cesare, Antonio Ferraro, Jacopo Givoletti, Enrico Guastaldi, Andrea Maino, Fabio Mantovani, Massimo Morichi, Michele Montuschi, Kassandra Giulia Cristina Raptis, Filippo Semenza, Virginia Strati, and Franco Vivaldi

Vertical take-off and landing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for Gamma-Ray Surveys (GRS) provide a cost-effective and timely approach tool for environmental radioactivity mapping. The UAV technique combines the advantages of ground and airborne measurements:  there is no need for an airport for take-off and landing, and high spatial resolution surveys can also be performed in dangerous areas without endangering the operators.

The main limitation of existing UAVs for GRS is the lack of software and hardware integration between avionics systems and radiation detectors. RadHawk fills this gap with an advanced mechanical, electronic, and software connection between a specifically developed quadcopter and a digital Multi-Channel Analyzer GammaStream (GS). The GS is coupled with a 2” CeBr3 scintillator having spectral energy resolution ~60% better than that of a NaI for 137C detection. Communication between the GS onboard microcomputer and the drone’s autopilot Pixhawk is achieved through a custom protocol which allows sharing telemetry updates and executing commands.

The best spatial resolution of radiometric data is achieved through a list mode real-time processing that generates, with optimized acquisition time, energy calibrated georeferenced gamma spectra. A radio frequency transceiver module sends data to a control station, where the user can easily control the flight path and check the artificial radionuclides warning for real-time identifying of hotspots.

A post-processing algorithm based on a Full Spectrum Analysis – Maximum Likelihood Estimation was developed to enhance the identification capability of anthropogenic radionuclides and to produce maps of the K, Th and U abundances of the investigated areas.

How to cite: Albéri, M., Cabras, D., Chiarelli, E., Cicala, L., Colonna, T., Corbo, M., De Cesare, M., Ferraro, A., Givoletti, J., Guastaldi, E., Maino, A., Mantovani, F., Morichi, M., Montuschi, M., Raptis, K. G. C., Semenza, F., Strati, V., and Vivaldi, F.: RadHawk: a smart UAV for hunting radioactivity, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-11835, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-11835, 2022.

11:35–11:40
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EGU22-12872
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ECS
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Presentation form not yet defined
Benedikt Preugschat, Malte Ibs-von Seht, Christian Kunze, Robert Arndt, Felix Kandzia, Benjamin Wiens, Sven Altfelder, and Clemens Walther

Uranium mining legacies still pose a significant risk to human health and the environment in certain Central Asian regions. Drone-based methods are well-suited for mapping radionuclides of contaminated sites and for planning, monitoring and quality assurance of remediation measures. In the DUB-GEM project (Development of a UAV-based Gamma spectrometry for the Exploration and Monitoring of Uranium Mining Legacies), which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), a German interdisciplinary consortium led by the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) is developing a drone-based detector system for the investigation of contaminated uranium mining and processing legacy sites. The project is co-funded by the Coordination Group for Uranium Legacy Sites (CGULS) program of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). CGULS coordinates cooperation among IAEA Member States affected by ULS and national and international organizations involved in the management, remediation, or regulatory oversight of ULS. CGULS supports the Central Asian partner countries of DUB-GEM to participate in activities of the DUB-GEM consortium.

The applicability of the system is to be tested in the DUB-GEM partner countries Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Some of the uranium legacy sites (ULS) in Central Asia, especially those in Kyrgyzstan, are difficult to access due to the mountainous topography. Once fully developed, the system will allow the efficient and safe mapping and monitoring of radioactive contamination at such sites without requiring experts to trek through difficult terrain with heavy equipment, exposing themselves to potential physical and radiological risks.

As part of the DUB-GEM project, two specially designed scintillation detectors were used, each of which can be mounted on the heavy-lift drone which was also custom-built for the project and has a maximum take-off mass (MTOM) of 25 kg. The drone-based gamma spectrometry system was successfully tested at different sites in Germany in autumn 2020 and late summer 2021. In autumn 2021, the system was tested for the first time in Kyrgyzstan (Mailuu Suu) and Kazakhstan (Muzbel’). Despite the technical and logistical challenges, drone surveys with the gamma spectrometers could be flown at three sites. The count rates of the detectors were transmitted in real time to a ground station so that hotspots could be detected during flight.

The resulting maps presented here show the distributions of dose rates and radionuclides of the uranium-238 series, thorium-232 series and potassium-40. Comparison with samples from the ground was used to calibrate the instruments.

The extensive data sets from both detectors offer a multitude of further evaluation possibilities, which are currently being evaluated.

A further airborne survey campaign in Central Asia is planned for late summer 2022 to map legacies in Uzbekistan.

How to cite: Preugschat, B., Ibs-von Seht, M., Kunze, C., Arndt, R., Kandzia, F., Wiens, B., Altfelder, S., and Walther, C.: Drone-Based Investigation of Uranium Mining Legacies – Recent Developments in the DUB-GEM Project, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-12872, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-12872, 2022.

11:40–11:45
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EGU22-13202
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Highlight
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Virtual presentation
Jens Fohlmeister and Bernd Hoffmann

Depending on their concentration, naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) used for the construction of walls in living rooms may contribute elevated levels of radiation exposure for inhabitants. The main path of exposure by building materials is thought to be due to gamma radiation of 40K and the progenies of the 238U and 232Th decay chains. Many efforts have been focused on developing computational methodologies to evaluate and predict the indoor gamma dose rate. Those studies investigated factors such as concrete density or wall thickness of the material as well as factors relating to the dimensions of the room with respect to gamma ray exposure.

Here, we re-implemented a well-established room model (Mustonen, 1984). This model approximates the gamma ray exposure at any point in a model room by accounting for the source strength, radiation absorption by concrete including build-up factors and the 1/r2 decrease due to the distance to the source. The results of our re-implemented model compare well with other models, which focus on the radiation exposure in the midpoint of the room. In addition to concrete density and wall thickness, we focus our investigation on a non-homogenous distribution of NORM in walls, ceiling and floors. We compare different configurations of NORM distributions with respect to the radiation exposure in the room centre and with the average received within the room at a height of 1.25m.

References:

Mustonen, R. (1984). Methods for evaluation of radiation from building materials. Radiation Protection Dosimetry 7, 235-238.

 

How to cite: Fohlmeister, J. and Hoffmann, B.: Investigating a redistribution of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) in dwelling walls, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-13202, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-13202, 2022.

11:45–11:50
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EGU22-2868
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On-site presentation
Leticia Gaspar, Trenton Franz, Ivan Lizaga, and Ana Navas

Gamma ray spectroscopy (GRS) and cosmic ray neutron sensors (CRNS) have become promising proximal soil moisture sensing techniques at intermediate scale in recent years. The high efficiency and relatively good spectral resolution provided by Sodium Iodide (NaI) detectors allow gamma-ray surveys for monitoring the spatial and temporal distribution of terrestrial radioelements like 40K, which is inversely proportional to the volumetric soil water content SWC (m3/m3). Cosmic ray neutron sensors detect and count the number of neutrons in the soil and the air just above the soil. Dryer soil has more fast-moving neutrons, while wetter soil has fewer because more hydrogen from water is available to absorb energy.

The objective of this study is to test the response of the proximal gamma ray spectroscopy and the cosmic ray neutron sensor in an agricultural field under dry and wet soil conditions to infer the information of soil water content in the first 30 cm. For the first time in Spain GRS and CRNS sensors have been assayed on a test site of aprox. 40 × 80 m2 (41º 43’ 37’’ N, 0º 48’ 46’’ W) at the experimental farm of the Estación Experimental de Aula Dei (EEAD-CSIC, Zaragoza, Spain). The experimental setup is equipped of a Cosmic Ray Neutron Sensor placed at 2 m above the ground located at the middle of the field, and a proximal gamma-ray equipment composed by sodium iodide scintillator detector (NaI). The CRNS provided continuous data every 15 min, while NaI detector supplied data at selected sites before and after a 16-liter rain episode. In this contribution, we present the preliminary results under dry and wet conditions of the distribution of 40K (cps, Bq m-2) and analyse the SWC after performing GRS and CRNS measurements. Our results were also compared with soil moisture estimated by volumetric field sensors showing high sensitivity to the different status of soil moisture, highlighting the promising of the use of these nuclear techniques for environmental and agricultural purposes.

How to cite: Gaspar, L., Franz, T., Lizaga, I., and Navas, A.: Testing the response of proximal gamma ray spectroscopy and cosmic ray neutron sensors to dry and wet conditions in an agricultural field (Spain), EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-2868, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu22-2868, 2022.