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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 7 Mar 2001

Vol. 532 No. 2

Written Answers. - Radon Gas Levels.

Paul McGrath


199 Mr. McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Science the money allocated by his Department in each of the past two years to have remedial works carried out at primary and second level schools which had been identified as having high levels of radon gas; if he will identify the schools where these works have been carried out; and the schools where such remedial works remain to be carried out. [7034/01]

My Department commissioned the Radiological Protection Institute of Ireland to conduct a survey of radon levels in primary and second level schools in 1998 for which an amount of £290,380 had been paid as at 31 December, 1999. The survey is being carried out in three phases. The results of phase one were issued to the participating schools in January 2000. The RPII recommended that 33 of these schools should be given priority treatment. Work in 13 of these schools is now complete at a cost of £104,972 which was expended in 2000. Preliminary post-mitigation testing indicates that the mitigation systems installed are functioning successfully as radon levels in all of these schools are now below the 200bq M3 reference level.

It is expected that the cost of installing mitigation systems in the remaining schools from phases one and two that have radon levels in excess of 400bq M3 will be in the region of £1 million and will be incurred in the current year. My Department received the results of a ventilation study carried out by the building research establishment (BRE) in a number of schools with radon levels between 200bq M3 and 400bq M3. The purpose of the study was to establish whether passive ventilation measures could be used to mitigate radon levels in schools in this range. The results of the study indicate that passive ventilation methods may be effective in these schools. At present, my Department is examining methods of empowering these schools to take the necessary measures. This will result in a cost to my Department this year, but that cost has not yet been quantified.
The results of phase three of the radon survey are expected at the end of this year. As this is the case any expenditure on mitigation for the schools involved in this phase will be incurred in 2002, by which time it is hoped that almost all, if not all of, the expenditure on providing mitigation from the schools involved in phases one and two will be complete.