Nonequilibrium radiation diffusion problems are described by the coupled radiation diffusion and material conduction equations. Because of the highly nonlinear, strong discontinuous, and tightly coupled phenomena, solving this kind of problems is a challenge. We construct two finite volume element schemes for the equations. One of them is monotone on many kinds of meshes, which is proved theoretically and verified by numerical tests. The other one is hard to satisfy the monotonicity, but this defect can be corrected by different repair techniques. Numerical results show that these new methods are practical and efficient on distorted meshes.Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.