RA­DIOAC­TIVE GAS AT BANK

Base­ment de­tec­tion ‘no dan­ger to staff or cus­tomers’:

Caernarfon Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Owen Hughes

ABANKING gi­ant has de­tected “un­safe lev­els” of a ra­dioac­tive gas in one of its North Wales branches.

Test­ing was re­cently un­der­taken at the HSBC branch in Caernar­fon when the high level of radon was de­tected.

The area with un­safe lev­els was in the base­ment and HSBC is now tak­ing ac­tion to rem­edy the sit­u­a­tion.

The bank said it was closely mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion but said it was con­fi­dent there is no risk to cus­tomers or staff.

A spokes­woman said: “We have iden­ti­fied slightly higher than av­er­age lev­els of radon in our branch in Caernar­fon. We are closely mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion, and plans are in the works for re­me­di­a­tion.

“We take the safety and se­cu­rity of cus­tomers and staff very se­ri­ously, and are con­fi­dent that there is no risk to cus­tomers or staff.”

The branch has re­mained open. It is not known if staff reg­u­larly ac­cess the base­ment area.

Our sis­ter pa­per the Daily Post con­tacted the bank af­ter find­ing a re­port into planned re­me­di­a­tion works at the site.

A state­ment sub­mit­ted to Gwynedd coun­cil plan­ners said: “Fol­low­ing a recent radon test­ing, it has been brought to light that there are un­safe lev­els of radon within the base­ment area.

“There­fore, we are propos­ing to in­stall a pos­i­tive pres­sure sys­tem in the base­ment area, along with as­so­ci­ated pipework, to al­low ven­ti­la­tion.”

Radon is a colour­less, odour­less ra­dioac­tive gas that oc­cur nat­u­rally in all rocks and soils. Parts of North Wales are classed as radon ‘hotspots’ with high lev­els of the gas.

Ev­ery build­ing con­tains radon but the lev­els are usu­ally low.

Pub­lic Health Wales said the ra­dioac­tive el­e­ments formed by the de­cay of radon can en­ter our lungs, where they con­tinue to de­cay and emit al­pha par­ti­cles. These cause lo­calised dam­age that can lead to lung cancer.

Radon causes over 1,100 deaths from lung cancer each year in the UK.

The HSBC branch in Cas­tle Square, Caernar­fon

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