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Title: Radon-hazard potential of Utah

Abstract

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas formed by decay of uranium, and occurs in nearly all geologic materials. Although radon has been shown to be a significant cause of lung cancer in miners, the health hazard from accumulation of radon gas in buildings has only recently been recognized. Indoor-radon hazards depend on both geologic and non-geologic factors. Although non-geologic factors such as construction type, weather, and lifestyles are difficult to measure, geologic factors such as uranium concentration, soil permeability, and depth to ground water can be quantified. Uranium-enriched geologic materials, such as black shales, marine sandstones, and certain granitic, metamorphic, and volcanic rocks, are generally associated with a high radon-hazard potential. Impermeable soil or shallow ground water impedes radon movement and is generally associated with a low radon-hazard potential. A numerical rating system based on these geologic factors has been developed to map radon-hazard potential in Utah. A statewide map shows that the radon-hazard potential of Utah is generally moderate. Assessments of hazard potential from detailed field investigations correlate well with areas of this map. Central Utah has the highest radon-hazard potential, primarily due to uranium-enriched Tertiary volcanic rocks. The radon-hazard potential of eastern Utah is moderate to high,more » but is generally restricted by low uranium levels. Western Utah, where valley basins with impermeable soils and shallow ground water are common, has the lowest radon-hazard potential.« less

Authors:
;  [1]
  1. (Utah Geological Survey, Salt Lake City, UT (United States))
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
5430939
Report Number(s):
CONF-9305259--
Journal ID: ISSN 0016-7592; CODEN: GAAPBC
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs; (United States); Journal Volume: 25:5; Conference: 89. annual meeting of the Cordilleran Section and the 46th annual meeting of the Rocky Mountain Section of the Geological Society of America (GSA), Reno, NV (United States), 19-21 May 1993
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES; GEOLOGIC DEPOSITS; NATURAL RADIOACTIVITY; RADON; RADIOECOLOGICAL CONCENTRATION; RISK ASSESSMENT; UTAH; HEALTH HAZARDS; RADIATION MONITORING; RADIONUCLIDE MIGRATION; DEVELOPED COUNTRIES; ECOLOGICAL CONCENTRATION; ELEMENTS; ENVIRONMENTAL TRANSPORT; FLUIDS; GASES; HAZARDS; MASS TRANSFER; MONITORING; NONMETALS; NORTH AMERICA; RADIOACTIVITY; RARE GASES; USA 540230* -- Environment, Terrestrial-- Radioactive Materials Monitoring & Transport-- (1990-); 580000 -- Geosciences

Citation Formats

Black, B.D., and Solomon, B.J. Radon-hazard potential of Utah. United States: N. p., 1993. Web.
Black, B.D., & Solomon, B.J. Radon-hazard potential of Utah. United States.
Black, B.D., and Solomon, B.J. 1993. "Radon-hazard potential of Utah". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_5430939,
title = {Radon-hazard potential of Utah},
author = {Black, B.D. and Solomon, B.J.},
abstractNote = {Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas formed by decay of uranium, and occurs in nearly all geologic materials. Although radon has been shown to be a significant cause of lung cancer in miners, the health hazard from accumulation of radon gas in buildings has only recently been recognized. Indoor-radon hazards depend on both geologic and non-geologic factors. Although non-geologic factors such as construction type, weather, and lifestyles are difficult to measure, geologic factors such as uranium concentration, soil permeability, and depth to ground water can be quantified. Uranium-enriched geologic materials, such as black shales, marine sandstones, and certain granitic, metamorphic, and volcanic rocks, are generally associated with a high radon-hazard potential. Impermeable soil or shallow ground water impedes radon movement and is generally associated with a low radon-hazard potential. A numerical rating system based on these geologic factors has been developed to map radon-hazard potential in Utah. A statewide map shows that the radon-hazard potential of Utah is generally moderate. Assessments of hazard potential from detailed field investigations correlate well with areas of this map. Central Utah has the highest radon-hazard potential, primarily due to uranium-enriched Tertiary volcanic rocks. The radon-hazard potential of eastern Utah is moderate to high, but is generally restricted by low uranium levels. Western Utah, where valley basins with impermeable soils and shallow ground water are common, has the lowest radon-hazard potential.},
doi = {},
journal = {Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs; (United States)},
number = ,
volume = 25:5,
place = {United States},
year = 1993,
month = 4
}

Conference:
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  • Indoor-radon levels in the Beaver basin of southwestern Utah are the highest recorded to date in Utah, ranging from 17.5 to 495 picocuries per liter (pCi/L). Because the U.S. Environment Protection Agency considers indoor-radon levels above 4 pCi/L to represent a risk of lung cancer from long-term exposure, the Utah Geological Survey is preparing a radon-hazard-potential map for the area to help prioritize indoor testing and evaluate the need for radon-resistant construction. Radon is a chemically inert radioactive gas derived from the decay of uranium-238, which is commonly found in rocks and soils. Soil permeability, depth to ground water, andmore » uranium/thorium content of source materials control the mobility and concentration of radon in the soil. Once formed, radon diffuses into the pore space of the soil and then to the atmosphere or into buildings by pressure-driven flow of air or additional diffusion. The Beaver basin has been a topographic and structural depression since late Miocene time. Paleocene to Miocene volcanic and igneous rocks border the basin. Uraniferous alluvial-fan, piedmont-slope, flood-plain, and lacustrine sediments derived from the surrounding volcanic rocks fill the basin. A soil-gas radon and ground radioactivity survey in the Beaver basin shows that soils have high levels of radon gas. In this survey, uranium concentrations range from 3 to 13 parts per million (ppm) and thorium concentrations range from 10 to 48 ppm. Radon concentrations in the soil gas ranged from 85 to 3,500 pCi/L. The highest concentrations of uranium, thorium, and radon gas and the highest radon-hazard-potential are in the well-drained permeable soils in the lower flood- plain deposits that underlie the city of Beaver.« less
  • The evaluation of radon concentration measurements in newly developing geothermal reservoirs with the objective of determining the ability of measured changes in noncondensible gas components, such as radon, to predict changes in the thermodynamic properties of the reservoir is described. This ability would be especially useful in liquid-dominated resources, where changes in steam fraction are sensitive to changes in reservoir temperature and fluid enthalpy. Radon measurements were made in samples separated by phase at the outlets of a prototype rotary separator turbine. The data were examined in relation to the thermodynamic properties of the geofluids supplied by the test well.
  • There is little correlation between radon concentrations in soil and radon concentrations in homes. One explanation is that the soil radon concentration does not fully characterize the soil as a radon hazard. A mathematical model for the determination of important soil parameters for characterizing the flow of radon into a basement has been analyzed. We have identified important soil properties by mathematically modeling ventilated air enclosed in basement walls of thickness T (through which radon convects) and surrounded by soil of infinite extent (through which radon diffuses). The radon instantaneously mixed uniformly with the basement air and is lost frommore » the basement air by ventilation ({lambda}{sub v}) and decay ({lambda}). It was found that not only the soil pore gas radon concentration, C{sub s}, but also the radon gas diffusion length, L{sub 3}, and the soil porosity, {epsilon}{sub 3}, are important to characterize the soil as a radon hazard. A model for determining the parameters C{sub s}, L{sub 3}, and {epsilon}{sub 3} has also been analyzed. It was found that it is possible to measure in situ these important soil parameters by monitoring the radon gas concentration time history of two cavities of different radii formed in the same soil.« less
  • Air Chek, Inc., maintains an extensive database of more than one million radon test results. These test results can be sorted, mapped and studied by zip code and, in most cases, by street address. A study was conducted comparing this radon testing data with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Radon Potential Map. The EPA Potential Map assigns each of the 3141 counties in the United States to one of three different priorities. The data in the Air Chek database was sorted by zip code, assigned to the appropriate county and then compared with the EPA Radon Potential Map.