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14th Technical Discussion on the Monitoring of Environmental Radioactivity

29.05.2009

From March 24 to 26, 2009, the 14th Technical Discussion on the Monitoring of Environmental Radioactivity took place at the Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg. It was organized together with the Federal Office for Radiation Protection, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and the Ministry for the Environment of Baden-Württemberg and was held under the title "IMIS - Integrating System for Environmental Monitoring and Emergency Provisions". As the "Integrating Measuring and Information System (IMIS)" is used by all measuring laboratories and authorities involved as a central information technology tool for measurement data acquisition, validation, reporting and situation report, the Technical Discussion met with the great interest of the approx. 250 participants of which some came from neighbouring countries with which an agreement for data and information exchange has been concluded (Austria, Switzerland, France, Netherlands). To underline the character of a discussion with the IMIS users and the IMIS measuring laboratories, 8 workshops were offered in addition to the approximately 50 scientific plenary lectures. In these workshops, the current state of special partial fields of work was discussed and possibilities for a further development investigated by the representatives of measuring laboratories, control centres and authorities dealing with those subjects. On the last day of the event, the results of the workshops were presented in a brief lecture held by the host of the workshop on the occasion of a meeting especially organized for that purpose. For the proceedings, which will be published in autumn, detailed workshop reports are in preparation.

Under metrological aspects it is remarkable that in the course of the Technical Discussion the IMIS users and workshop participants expressed the desire for a further unification and/or harmonization of the measurements and their assessment. This does not only apply to electronic data exchange forms, e. g. for the European early-warning system within the scope of the data exchange platform EURDEP, or the harmonization of dose limiting values in emergency management. Need for harmonization was also seen for analysis and measurement procedures to allow a better comparison of measurement results at the international level, e. g. within the scope of reporting in accordance with articles 35 and 36 of the EURATOM contract. Closely related with this is the performance of intercomparisons for quality assurance of the measurements, for which a separate workshop "Intercomparisons" was organized which was presented by a representative of PTB. This workshop took place subsequent to the workshop "Radiochemical Separating Procedures" so that great part of the approx. 25 participants participated in both workshops.

There was agreement among the participants that regular intercomparisons as an objective evidence of reliable measurements of radioactive substances in the environment, backed-up by quality management systems, are indispensable. The number and the frequency of the intercomparisons performed within the scope of the environmental monitoring in accordance with the Radiation Protection Precaution Act (StrVG - Strahlenschutzvorsorgegesetz) was regarded as adequate. The control centres should perform the intercomparisons in a comfortable time schedule so that there will be no accumulation of different intercomparison materials in the laboratories. The performance of approx. one intercomparison per year is regarded as appropriate. For the organization, performance and assessment (measurement uncertainties, outlier tests), and the evaluation (acceptance criteria, outlier handling) of the results of the intercomparisons, an adaptation to the current international standardization was desired in order to improve international comparability, e. g. with results from other EU countries. Intercomparisons performed in accordance with international standards are a central element when proof of an internationally recognized quality system is to be furnished. For maintenance and updating of the radionuclide decay data used in the spectrometry programs, the data of the "Decay Data Evaluation Project" currently offered by the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM, Paris) in the Internet were recommended: www.nucleide.org/DDEP_WG/DDEPdata.htm.

After conclusion of the 14th Technical Discussion, which the participants, the control centres and the representatives of the exhibiting companies assessed as having been very successful, the control centres of the Federal Government responsible for the monitoring of radioactive substances in the environment and the external dose are now called to adequately implement the desires and suggestions of the IMIS users. In connection with the intercomparisons, PTB has assumed the task to elaborate a proposal for harmonization of the intercomparisons in accordance with the international standardization. Further information about the control centres, the analysis and measurement procedures can be found under the link: www.bmu.de/strahlenschutz/ueberwachung_der_umweltradioaktivitaet/leitstellen/doc/38038.php on the Internet server of the Federal Ministry of the Environment.