EMPIR radon project holds successful scientific workshop and training courses

Group photo of participants attending the first day, in front of the Vieweg Building at PTB, where the Scientific Workshop and the two Training Courses were held. Copyright @ PTB

EMPIR project traceRadon held a successful workshop and two practical training courses including lab tours and a hands-on session

The project

Radon is a radioactive element that is naturally found in trace amounts in the atmosphere and is almost evenly emitted as a gas from ice-free land. It is vital that radon activity concentration is observed to ensure the radioactive exposure of the public is minimised. Additionally, the unique characteristics of radon make it an excellent tracer for quantifying and determining the sources of greenhouse gas emissions: This method is known as the Radon Tracer Method.



EMPIR project Radon metrology for use in climate change observation and radiation protection at the environmental level (19ENV01, traceRadon) developed traceable methods of quantifying outdoor radon activity concentrations and radon fluxes. New radon sources and monitors were developed that can be used as transfer standards. This made measurement validations with lab-based and field-based intercomparisons possible to ensure measurement traceability.

This allowed the project to develop a standardised protocol for the Radon Tracer Method and create dynamic radon and radon flux maps. These advances in the radon measurement infrastructure will support radiation protection measures and greenhouse gas emission models, using the Radon Tracer Method. The effectiveness of radon radiation protection policies will also be improved by providing a new tool in locating radon priority areas.

The workshop and training courses

Almost 40 scientists from across Europe came together for the Scientific Workshop and two Training Courses that were held at PTB in Braunschweig. Here, climate researchers and radiation protection experts heard about the results from the traceRadon project.

Dr. Annette Röttger, coordinator of the traceRadon project and member of the presidential board of PTB, described the beginning of the traceRadon project during her opening talk to the first Training Course:

‘A while ago, I attended a meeting on radon and all the talks were about how radon and its progeny are the leading natural cause of lung cancer. Then Claudia Grossi started her presentation and said: ‘You may think radon is the bad guy in radiation protection, but for us in climate research radon is the good guy. We use it to trace greenhouse gases.’ It was this discussion in EURADOS that initiated the idea of traceRadon - bringing both communities together with their needs of improved radon measurements.’

Together the delegates spent two days working to improve the radon and radon flux measurements they perform all over Europe. Discussions and many networking opportunities gave the participants and presenters plenty of time to discuss ideas and their implementation. 

The Training courses gave practical guidance on the improvement of radon measurement, including a hands-on session for the application of the Radon Tracer Method. Laboratory tours were also included and showed measurement devices and measurement fields. This gave the participants a unique opportunity to get a closer understanding for the needs of transfer standards and the required laboratory equipment. Visiting the reference field for outdoor radon and radon flux measurements gave the participants an insight into the challenges of outdoor measurements.

Access the presentations

Further information can also be found on the traceRadon twitter account:


Dr. José-Luis Gutiérrez Villanueva from the company Radonova made a short video on the Scientific Workshop and the Training Courses, with the support of his 10-year-old son.

This EMPIR project is co-funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and the EMPIR Participating States

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