Martin Downing Presents at the National Radon Forum

Earlier this week, Associate Director Martin Downing from our Edinburgh office, gave a presentation on the management of radon gas during underground construction works at the National Radon Forum. The Forum was organised by Public Health England and brought together nearly 100 experts in radon from across the UK. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas and can be a significant health hazard in mines and tunnels due to its association with lung cancer.

Martin’s presentation focused on the work that had been necessary to reduce the very high levels of radon encountered in the 16km long Milwr Tunnel in North Wales during underground repair works. Martin was closely involved in the project that was successfully completed earlier this year. Access is via a very wet 200m deep vertical shaft and the tunnel itself drains an extensive system of old mine workings with a continuous flow of waist deep water. As such, the project required some innovative solutions to the radon hazard, which Martin explained in the presentation. He explained how barometric pressure and surface temperature effected the generation and transport of radon along the tunnel and how the gas was continuously monitored to ensure that safe working levels were achieved by forced ventilation. Radiation doses for all underground personnel were monitored for the duration of the project and were well within the target level on completion.

Martin also coordinated an interactive session at the Forum to allow the other delegates to obtain a better understanding of the challenges of dealing with radon in an underground environment.

For more information on the Milwr Tunnel project, click here.

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