The radon element is the heaviest and the only naturally occurring radioactive noble gas. As a member of uranium and thorium decay chains, it is formed instantaneously and belongs to the naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM). The long-lived radon isotope, the 222Rn, is radiobiologically the most important one. It is present in subsoil and groundwater and permeates to the surface, where it may become health risk during the long-term inhalation. Proper testing of drinking water and building materials is also required to monitor radon concentrations below legal limits. Thus, the need of radon determination as well as the preparation of its isotopes arises for its use as a calibration source for the environmental and workplace monitoring in the NORM as well as other industries. Further, the radon isotopes currently appear in various research fields, including radionuclide progeny preparation and their use is experiencing renaissance. An overview of radon characteristics, its physical and chemical properties, as well as radon isotope preparation methods including the radionuclide generators and their use is given here. Radon isotope use for tracing, medical, geochemical and other purposes is also discussed.
Part of the book: Radon