Study of baseline radon levels in the context of a shale gas development

Zornitza Daraktchieva*, Jaroslaw Wasikiewicz, Christopher Howarth, Catherine A. Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study reports the results from continuous measurement of indoor and outdoor radon concentrations in the area surrounding an unconventional shale gas exploration site in North Yorkshire, England, prior to the commencement of hydraulic fracturing. Public Health England has monitored the baseline radon levels in homes and in outdoor air in the Vale of Pickering since 2015. The statistical analysis presented here includes three full years (November 2015- –December 2018) of indoor and four and half years (October 2015 – April 2019) of outdoor radon measurements. Stratified sampling was used to select 171 dwellings in four areas, with two different radon potential. Statistical analysis confirms that homes in Kirby Misperton and Little Barugh and those in Yedingham are situated in areas with low radon potential, as was predicted by the UK radon potential map. On the other hand, both Pickering and Malton are confirmed as radon Affected Areas. Radon was measured continuously in the outdoor air using a newly developed outdoor kit containing passive radon detectors. The monitoring points were set up at 36 locations in the same local areas as those selected for the indoor monitoring. The results from statistical analysis show that outdoor radon had a different seasonality pattern to indoor radon. The monitoring of outdoor radon levels over the four and half years indicates a year-to-year variation in outdoor radon concentrations with levels fluctuating between 3 and 9 Bq m−3. There was a very good agreement between long-term average radon concentrations measured using passive detectors and using an active AlphaGUARD monitor.

Original languageEnglish
Article number141952
JournalScience of the Total Environment, The
Volume753
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank colleagues within PHE for their assistance with this BGS-led environmental baseline monitoring project being carried out following a grant award ( GA/18F/017/NEE66117R ) from Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, UK Government (BEIS).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020

Keywords

  • Baseline monitoring of radon levels
  • Hydraulic fracturing
  • Radon
  • Shale gas

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