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  • 1 Division of Geology and Mineral Waters, Faculty of Geoengineering, Mining and Geology, Institute of Mining, Wrocław University of Technology, Wybrzeże S. Wyspiańskiego 27, 50-370 Wrocław, Poland
  • | 2 Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology, ul. Dorodna 16, 03-195 Warszawa, Poland
  • | 3 Laboratory of Radiometric Expertise, Henryk Niewodniczański Institute of Nuclear Physics, Polish Academy of Science, ul. Radzikowskiego 152, 31-342 Kraków, Poland
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Abstract  

The article presents new Polish probes SRDN-3, developed at the Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology in Warsaw, equipped with a semi-conductor detector used for continuous measurements of 222Rn activity concentration. Due to a relatively high lower detection limit, the device is dedicated for use in underground spaces—caves, adits, mines, tourist routes in strongholds, pyramids, etc. Its structure allows for difficult conditions in which the device is transported to the measurement site, as well as hard operating conditions caused chiefly by large ambient relative humidity, reaching up to 100%. The authors present calibration results of these appliances, as well as the results of their work in a cave and an adit in the Sudetes (SW Poland). After almost 2 years of working in difficult conditions, the probes displayed high reliability. No defects of the semi-conductor detectors or the electronics were observed, which ensured problem-free communication of the probe-programmer-PC set. Thanks to this, the authors have a 2 year stock of data, recorded hourly by five probes, at their disposal. The only element that did not withstand the test of extreme operating conditions was one of the combined relative humidity and temperature sensors. No powering problems were observed either, and the batteries were replaced once a year, before the winter season. Also the programmer functioned faultlessly, enabling data transmission to a PC, which, being much more sensitive to operating conditions, had been placed away from the site of probe exposure. After using more sensitive temperature, relative humidity and pressure sensors, SRDN-3 probes will certainly prove an excellent tool for microclimate measurements (including measurement of air-atmosphere exchange) in caves and other underground sites. Even nowadays they are already a satisfactory tool for monitoring 222Rn concentration in underground spaces.