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International networking in radioecology research

The Federal Office for Radiation Protection (Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz, BfS) is cooperating with international organisations in the field of radioecology.

It is a founding member of the radioecology platform (European Radioecology Alliance) and is also networking by participating in European Research projects, such as STAR, COMET and TERRITORIES and international working groups, such as ALMERA, BIOPROTA and MODARIA.

BfS cooperation partners in the field of radioecology

*multidisciplinary research and intervention team specialised in sustainable development issues and governance of high-risk activities to society at territorial, national and international levels

European Radioecology Platform Alliance

In June 2009, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz, BfS) and seven other European organisations agreed to strengthen cooperation on radioecology research and established the European Radioecology Alliance.

The cooperation aims at interlocking and coordinating the research and development programs at national and international levels. Three EU-funded projects, STAR, COMET and TERRITORIES were initiated to put this guiding principle into practice.

Network of Excellence STAR (2011-2015)show / hide

The pilot project for networking in European top-level research on radioecology was the Network of Excellence STAR (Strategy for Allied Radioecology, 2011-2015).

The central element was the development of a joint long-term research strategy at European level (Strategic Research Agenda). Further elements were

  • joint use of research infrastructure,
  • modern knowledge management using web-based technology,
  • education and training, as well as
  • exchange of scientific personnel.

Under the leadership of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz, BfS), European long-term study areas have been established for radioecological field research (Radioecological Observatories) in the Upper-Silesian Coal Basin and in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

EU-Project COMET (2013-2017)show / hide

The EU project COMET (Coordination and Implementation of a Pan-European Instrument for Radioecology) has strengthened the international network on radioecology since June 2013. An enlarged consortium of thirteen partners from ten European countries and Japan is going to develop a roadmap to reach efficiently the goals prioritized in the Strategic Research Agenda.

The project establishes links to the research platforms in the fields of emergency response (NERIS), low-dose effects (MELODI) and dosimetry (EURADOS), thus also supporting the integration of various disciplines of radiation protection research.

TERRITORIES-Project (2017-2019)show / hide

Eleven partners from eight European countries are involved in the TERRITORIES project (To Enhance unceRtainties Reduction and stakeholders Involvement TOwards integrated and graded Risk management of humans and wildlife In long-lasting radiological Exposure Situations, 2017-2019) also networking with the research platforms for radioecology (ALLIANCE) and emergency response (NERIS). The target is an integrated and graded management approach for existing long-term exposures due to nuclear accidents or NORM legacy.

Based on the requirements of the new European Basic Safety Standards the TERRITORIES-focus is set on reducing uncertainties in dose and risk assessments. Taking into account lessons learnt by the Fukushima accident and input of all stakeholders a decision-making process guideline is to be developed ensuring and updating the protection humans and wildlife.

BfS expertise will help quantifying variability and reducing uncertainties in exposure assessments by optimizing the characterization of exposure scenarios, the use of monitoring data, and model selection.

The three projects STAR, COMET and TERRITORIES provide the basis for sustainable networking in international research on radioecology and further developing the European Radioecology Alliance as an international research platform.

Worldwide Co-operations

ALMERAshow / hide

ALMERA (Network Providing Accurate Measurements for Monitoring Radioactivity in the Environment) is a network of laboratories specialized in measuring environmental samples. It was founded by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Association) in 1995 with the goal to continuously improve in a combined effort sampling and measurement methods. The radioecology laboratory of the BfS has joined this network in 2014.

The BfS takes part in the ALMERA inter-laboratory proficiency tests and thus proves the high quality standard of its measurements. The development of new analytical methods and validation methods are further focal points of the radioecology laboratory. Integrated in ALMERA, it contributes to further develop the state of science and technology.

BIOPROTAshow / hide

BfS is taking part in international forum BIOPROTA (biosphere aspects of the assessment of the long-term impacts of potential contaminant releases associated with solid radioactive waste disposal). BIOPROTA focuses on modeling the long-term impacts of potential contaminant releases into the biosphere associated with solid radioactive waste disposals. These collaborative efforts aim at finding the best site-specific models for risk and dose estimates as required for licensing radioactive waste repositories.

Challenging issues such as choosing evaluation methods for system characterization and description, ways for modelling potential system evolution are discussed, data supporting the assessment assumptions and fit for purpose model parameter selection are reviewed in specialized working groups. As part of BIOPROTA, latest research results are exchanged but also, on a regular basis, all participants receive the latest publications on biosphere modelling. Organizations from Europe as well as from Northern America and Asia are participating in BIOPROTA.

MODARIA IIshow / hide

The objective of the IAEA-initiated MODARIA II (Modelling and Data for Radiological Impact Assessments) working groups is to improve the simulation of radionuclide transfer processes in the environment. Thus facilitating more accurate assessments of the radiation exposure to humans and the environment due to natural and man-made sources.

The nearly 150 participants come from 47 countries. MODARIA is a forum for the exchange of ideas, experiences and research results with bi-annual meetings. The progress made will be published in peer-reviewed journals and eventually leads to IAEA basic safety standards updates.

State of 2018.02.13

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