Radionuclides of natural origin may accumulate in different industrial waste materials and by-products. The use of coal bottom ash or coal-slag as building material in Hungary is widespread. Because of the elevated radium content of coal-slag, high radon concentration has been detected in buildings containing coal-slag as building material. In two towns, where buildings contain coal-slag with almost the same radium concentration, the indoor radon concentrations have been found to differ significantly. In order to investigate the cause of the difference in the emanation coefficients, slag samples from the two locations were examined for grain-size distribution, density, pore volume, and specific surface. The applied methods were: gamma spectrometry for the radium concentration of the samples; Lucas cell method for the radon emanation; nitrogen absorption-desorption isotherms analyzed using the BET theory and mercury poremeter for the specific surface and pore volume. It was found that the great difference in the emanation coefficients (1.35 ± 0.13 % and 14.3 ± 0.92 %) of the coal-slag samples is primarily influenced by the pore volume and the specific surface.
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