The presence and dosimetry of radon and thoron in a historical, underground metalliferous mine

Author ORCID Identifier

Ross Kleinschmidt 0000-0001-7530-9721

Drew Watson 0000-0002-1915-9367

Miroslaw Janik 0000-0001-8022-3973

Gavin Gillmore 0000-0003-0190-0783


A combination of long term passive, and short term active radon-222, radon-220 and respective progeny measurements were conducted in both traverse and longitudinal axes of a historical metalliferous underground mine in North Queensland, Australia. While the passive monitor results provided average radon and thoron air concentrations over periods of 70–90 days, active measurements over a four day period provided significantly more detail into the dynamics of radon and progeny concentrations in the naturally ventilated mine environment. Passive monitor concentrations for radon and thoron ranged between 60 and 390 Bq m−3 (mean: 140 ±55 Bq m−3) and 140 and 2600 Bq m−3 (mean: 1070 ±510 Bq m−3) respectively, with passive thoron progeny monitors providing a mean concentration of 9 ±5 Bq m−3EEC. Active measurement mean concentrations for radon, thoron, radon progeny and thoron progeny in the centre of the mine drive were 130 ±90 Bq m−3, 300 ±100 Bq m−3, 20 ±20 Bq m−3EEC and 10 ±10 Bq m−3EEC respectively. It was identified that thoron passive detector placement is critical in establishing reliable monitoring data, and is the reason for the discrepancy between the active and passive thoron results in this study. Site specific progeny measurements are required for the accurate estimation of dose to persons entering the mine. Based on short term active measurements and passive thoron progeny monitor results, the dose contribution from thoron and progeny in the mine was observed to contribute up to 80% of the total radon/thoron inhalation dose, and therefore should not be underestimated in monitoring programs under similar conditions.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.