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Radon Hazard In Permafrost Conditions: Current State Of Research

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In this paper, we review both practical and theoretical assessments for evaluating radon geohazards from permafrost landforms in northern environments (>60º N). Here, we show that polar amplification (i.e. climate change) leads to the development of thawing permafrost, ground subsidence, and thawed conduits (i.e. Taliks), which allow radon migration from the subsurface to near surface environment. Based on these survey results, we conjecture that abruptly thawing permafrost soils will allow radon migration to the near surface, and likely impacting human settlements located here. We analyze potential geohazards associated with elevated ground concentrations of natural radionuclides. From these results, we apply the main existing legislation governing the control of radon parameters in the design, construction and use of buildings, as well as existing technologies for assessing the radon hazard. We found that at present, these laws do not consider our findings, namely, that increasing supply of radon to the surface during thawing of permafrost will enhance radon exposure, thereby, changing prior assumptions from which the initial legislation was determined. Hence, the legislation will likely need to respond and reconsider risk assessments of public health in relation to radon exposure. We discuss the prospects for developing radon geohazard monitoring, methodical approaches, and share recommendations based on the current state of research in permafrost effected environments. 

About the Authors

Andrey V. Puchkov
N. Laverov Federal Centre for Integrated Arctic Research of the Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

109 Severnoj Dviny Emb., Arkhangelsk, 163000

Evgeny Yu. Yakovlev
N. Laverov Federal Centre for Integrated Arctic Research of the Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

109 Severnoj Dviny Emb., Arkhangelsk, 163000

Nicholas Hasson
Water and Environmental Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks
United States

1731 South Chandalar Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99775

Guilherme A. N. Sobrinho
Institute of Radiation Protection and Dosimetry

Av. Salvador Allende s/n – Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, CEP – 22783-127

Yuliana V. Tsykareva
Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after M.V. Lomonosov
Russian Federation

17 Severnaya Dvina Emb., Arkhangelsk, 163002

Alexey S. Tyshov
N. Laverov Federal Centre for Integrated Arctic Research of the Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

109 Severnoj Dviny Emb., Arkhangelsk, 163000

Pavel I. Lapikov
N. Laverov Federal Centre for Integrated Arctic Research of the Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

109 Severnoj Dviny Emb., Arkhangelsk, 163000

Ekaterina V. Ushakova
Yuri Gagarin State Technical University of Saratov
Russian Federation

77 Politechnicheskaya street, Saratov, 410054


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For citations:

Puchkov A.V., Yakovlev E.Yu., Hasson N., Sobrinho G., Tsykareva Yu.V., Tyshov A.S., Lapikov P.I., Ushakova E.V. Radon Hazard In Permafrost Conditions: Current State Of Research. GEOGRAPHY, ENVIRONMENT, SUSTAINABILITY. 2021;14(4):93-104.

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