Metrology for radiation protection: a new European network in the foundation phase

Anette Röttger, Attila Veres, Vladimir Sochor, Massimo Pinto, Mihail-Ravzan Loan, Robert Bernat, Amra Sabeta, Christelle Adam-Guillermin, João Henrique Gracia Alves, Denis Glavič-Cindro, Steven Bell, Britt Wens, Linda Persson, Milos Zivanovic, Reetta Nylund

Research outputpeer-review


More than 23 million workers worldwide are occupationally exposed to ionizing radiation and all people in the world are exposed to environmental radiation. The mean exposure, that is the mean annual dose of per person, is dominated by medical applications and exposure to natural sources. Due to recent developments in healthcare, e.g. the increasing application of ionising radiation in medical imaging with relative high doses like CT, and modern high dose applications (for example CT angiography), the exposure due to medical application has risen. Additionally, the changes in living conditions increase the exposure to natural radioactivity also: More living time is spent in buildings or in an urban environment, which causes higher exposure to Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) in building materials and higher exposure to radon. The level of radon activity concentration in buildings is far higher than in the environment (outdoor). This effect is often amplified by modern energy-efficient buildings which reduce the air exchange and thus increase the radon indoor activity concentration. In summary both medical application of ionizing radiation and natural sources are responsible for the increase of the mean annual exposure of the population.
The accurate measurement of radiation dose is key to ensuring safety but there are two challenges to be faced: First, new standards and reference fields are needed due to the rapid developments in medical imaging, radiotherapy and industrial applications. Second, direct communication channels are needed to ensure that information on best practice in measurements reaches effectively and quickly the people concerned.
It is therefore necessary to allow for an international exchange of information on identified problems and solutions. Consequently, a European Metrology Network (EMN) for radiation protection under the roof of EURAMET is in the foundation phase. This network EMN for Radiation Protection is being prepared by the project EMPIR 19NET03 supportBSS. The project aims to prepare this EMN by addressing this issue through the identification of stakeholder research needs and by implementing a long-term ongoing dialogue between stakeholders and the metrology community. The EMN will serve as a unique point of contact to address all metrological needs related to radiation protection and it will relate to all environmental processes where ionising radiation and radionuclides are involved.
A Strategic Research Agenda and two roadmaps are in development, covering the metrology needs of both the Euratom Treaty and the EU Council Directive 2013/59/EURATOM pinning down the basic safety standards for protection against the dangers arising from exposure to ionizing radiation. Furthermore, long-term knowledge sharing, and capacity building will be supported and a proposal for a sustainable joint European metrology infrastructure is under way. This will significantly strengthen the radiation protection metrology and support radiation protection measures. The final goal of the network project is a harmonised, sustainable, coordinated and smartly specialised infrastructure to underpin the current and future needs expressed in the European regulations for radiation protection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalAdvances in Geosciences
StatePublished - 17 Nov 2021

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