International Co-operation

Although differences in the procedures and the legal framework relating to radiation protection, nuclear safety and waste management exist in many countries, the international exchange of experience and information is essential to provide for protection of both population and environment. International co-operation takes place in all BfS departments.

Although differences in the procedures and the legal framework relating to radiation protection, nuclear safety and waste management exist in many countries, the international exchange of experience and information is essential to provide for protection of both population and environment. International co-operation takes place in all BfS departments.

BfS' co-operation with international organisations

The Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) co-operates with scientific organisations and regulatory bodies on both the national and international level in the field of Radiation Protection.

The most important goals of international co-operation are:

International co-operation to develop standards and regulations

Radiation protection limits and standards are implemented in Germany based on international recommendations and regulations as in most other countries. For ionising radiation, the related procedure can be outlined as follows: Based on scientific reports on radiation exposure and radiation effects as well and their review by UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation), the ICRP (International Commission on Radiation Protection) issues recommendations to update, consolidate and further develop the regime of radiation protection.

The European Commission (EC), or the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna then apply these recommendations within the framework of the EURATOM Treaty or of international agreements, respectively, to convert basic parts into directives, regulations and other rules. The procedures to be performed in the different areas (ionising radiation, non-ionising radiation) are similar.

EU Directives have to be implemented into national legislation

The ICRP Report No.103 was published at the end of 2007. The IAEA has implemented this recommendation in the Radiation Protection and Safety of Radiation Sources: International Basic Safety Standards, published at the end of 2011 as No. GSR Part 3.

On December 5, 2013 the European Directive 2013/59/EURATOM (EURATOM-Directive) was adopted, which must be converted into national law by the Member of States in 2018.

Status of implementation in Germany

In Germany, this Directive was embodied into national law by the Radiation Protection Act (StrlSchG) passed on May 12, 2017. A further specification will be made by the end of 2018 by a new Radiation Protection Ordinance in which the provisions of the currently valid Radiation Protection Ordinance and X-ray Ordinance will be transposed. The separation into Radiation Protection ordinance and X-ray ordinance will therefore not be continued.

First parts of the Radiation Protection Act, which relate to emergency and environmental radioactivity monitoring, have entered into force on October 1, 2017. The relevant part of the Radiation Protection Act for the users as well as the new Radiation Protection Ordinance will enter into force on December 31, 2018.

International exchange of experience

Although differences in the procedures and the legal framework relating to radiation protection, nuclear safety and waste management exist in many countries, the international exchange of experience and information is essential to provide for protection of both population and environment. The BfS, in agreement with BMU and other Federal Ministries, is represented in all relevant international bodies, in order to contribute the German expertise and appropriately represent the national interests.

An international platform is provided by the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). NEA supports several senior expert committees in the fields of law, radiation protection, nuclear regulatory activities, safety of nuclear installations and waste management, as well as additional expert and working groups in each committee.

In addition to the international framework, there are bilateral agreements with the neighbouring states of Germany for routine consultations and intensive exchange on the expert level.

Arguments for the BfS' co-operation with international organisations

Extensive co-operation between the BfS and international organisations is based on the following arguments:

International tasks of the BfS

The BfS is a WHO (World Health Organization) International Collaborating Centre for Ionizing and Non-Ionizing Radiation and Health, thus actively contributing to the work done by the WHO. The BfS tasks of a Collaborating Centre cover following subject areas:

The tasks which BfS shares with the WHO have increased steadily since the beginning of the cooperation. The new Cooperation Agreement 2018 also includes the areas of "Emergency Preparedness" and "Risk Communication".

Within the scope of control of the nuclear test ban treaty, coordinated by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in Vienna, BfS operates the only measurement station for radioactivity in Central Europe. Currently, the worldwide measuring network consists of 67 stations; at a later stage of expansion, there will be 80 highly sensitive measurement systems for radioactivity in the air, stationed all over the world.

BfS gives the Federal Foreign Office and the Permanent Mission by the United Nations Office advise on radionuclide technology, evaluates the data from this network and cooperates closely with international experts in the technical working groups with the purpose to establish and further development in the verification system of the CTBT.

International co-operation focuses on the scientific exchange of knowledge

Finally, international co-operation is not only a matter of scientific exchange; it is an overall concept, on the one hand providing incentives for our staff members, that is, opportunities to work at other organisations, on the other hand providing benefits for the delegating organisation. In the foreground there is the International co-operation with focus on the scientific exchange of knowledge and promoting of science and technology in joint research projects (see also EU Research Framework Programme).

State of 2018.04.03

OPERRA – Open Project for the European Radiation Research Area

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OPERRA (Open Project for the European Radiation Research Area) has been funded within the EU framework programme FP7. The project (2013-2017) has been successfully completed on 31 May 2017. The objective of the project was to support the Multidisciplinary European Low Dose Initiative (MELODI) in building an umbrella structure for the long-term integration of radiation protection research in Europe.

The umbrella structure covers the main areas of radiation protection:

Here, MELODI is responsible for the low dose research area and takes the lead in developing and implementing the umbrella structure. For this, MELODI made arrangements with the other radiation protection research platforms. The work being done in OPERRA is an important basis for the execution of the CONCERT project.

The results of OPERRA can be found on the homepage.

State of 2018.07.09

To the topic

MELODI: Multidisciplinary European Low Dose Initiative

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In its final report, the "High Level Expert Group on European Low Dose Risk Research" (HLEG) recommends to set up a European Platform dedicated to low dose risk research. The platform was given the acronym Multidisciplinary European Low Dose Initiative (MELODI) and became a registered association according the French law.

Five of the national institutions responsible for radiation protection in their countries which have been participating in the HLEG have signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) in order to initiate the process of setting up the MELODI platform. The process is described in an introductory document.

The purpose of MELODI is

Development of MELODI

Since the initiation of MELODI the number of the partners is continuously growing. End of 2010 MELODI became a registered association with 15 members according the French law. A list of all partner organisations engaged in the MELODI platform and further documents related to MELODI are to be found on the MELODI website.

The development of MELODI is mainly promoted by annually held workshops.

Workshops

The Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), on behalf of the MELODI signatories, organized the First Open MELODI Workshop in Stuttgart on September 28 and 29 2009. 156 scientists, representatives of regulatory bodies and interested stakeholders from 23 European countries, the USA and Japan took an active part in the workshop and discussed the future development of low dose radiation research in Europe.

The second MELODI workshop was held in Paris from 18 to 20 October 2010, jointly organized and sponsored by Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire, IRSN and Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives, CEA.

The third workshop took place in Rome from 2 to 4 November 2011 sponsored by Istituto superiore di Sanita, ISS and Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, L´energia e lo Sviluppo Economico Sostenibile, ENEA.

The fourth International MELODI Workshop was organised from 12 to 14 September 2012 in Helsinki, Finland. Presentations given during the workshops are available on the MELODI website.

The fifth workshop MELODI-2013 was organised by SCK-CEN and took place from 8 to 10 October 2013 in Brussels, Belgium.

The sixth workshop MELODI-2014 organised by the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology, Barcelona (CREAL), the University of Madrid and the Rovira i Virgili University, Tarragona, took place from 7 to 9 October 2014 in Barcelona.

The seventh workshop MELODI-2015, themed "Next Generation Radiation Protection Research", was organised by the Helmholtz Zentrum München (HMGU) and took place from 9 to 11 November 2015 in Munich, Germany.

Building on and extending the highly successful MELODI workshops and in the light of an increased integration of European research on radiation protection, in 2016 the first Radiation Protection Week (RPW2016) brought together complementary strands of radiation protection research, with the established European platforms MELODI, EURADOS, NERIS and ALLIANCE as co-organisers, along with other relevant areas for the first time. The RPW2016 took place in Oxford, UK, held in the Mathematical Institute of Oxford University.

The 2nd European Radiation Protection Research Week of the 5 European research platforms (MELODI, ALLIANCE, EURADOS, NERIS and EURAMED) was held in conjunction with the 4th International Symposium on the System of Radiological Protection of ICRP in Paris, France between 10-12 October 2017.

Strategic Research Agenda (SRA)

A major activity of MELODI is the establishment and updating of a long-term Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) for research on low dose risk for radiation protection in Europe. The SRA is intended to guide the priorities for national and European research programmes and serve the preparation of competitive calls in the area of radiation protection at the European level. The full current and former SRAs as well as associated documents can be downloaded from the MELODI website.

Network of Excellence "DoReMi" (2010-2016)

Complementary to the MELODI process, the EC-funded Network of Excellence "Low Dose Research towards Multidisciplinary Integration (DoReMi)", was set up in 2010 for a period of six years. Its aim was to address key research questions and needs in the field of low dose risk research and to support the establishment of the MELODI platform.

OPERRA Open Project for the European Radiation Research Area (2013-2017)

The Open Project for the European Radiation Research Area (OPERRA), set up in 2013 for a period of four years, aimed at supporting MELODI to build up an umbrella structure for the integration of radiation protection research in Europe.

CONCERT - European Joint Programme for the Integration of Radiation Protection Research (2015-2020)

In 2015, a European Joint Programme on radiation protection research has been established for a period of 5 years at EU level with the CONCERT project. CONCERT is a joint project of the EU and its member states for the integration of radiation protection research on a European level carrying out open research calls on the strategic research agendas of the European research platforms

The Federal Office of Radiation Protection (BfS) in Germany coordinates CONCERT.

State of 2017.10.11

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High Level and Expert Group on low dose risk research

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The High Level and Expert Group (HLEG) was an initiative of representatives of six national bodies with a policy interest or substantial research activities in low dose risk research and the EC EURATOM research programme. They were assisted by experts from the research community to identify research priorities and training needs.

The Secretariat functions of the HLEG were carried out by BfS.

The results of the HLEG

The final HLEG report (January 2009) is available on the EU website.

State of 2018.03.16

Further information

Network of Excellence: Low Dose Research towards Multidisciplinary Integration (DoReMi-NoE)

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There are still uncertainties when it comes to the assessment of risk following low doses of ionizing radiation and their contribution to cancer and non cancer diseases. To fill this knowledge gap is subject to interdisciplinary scientific studies as well as to sustainable fastening of research in the low dose area in Europe. This includes the identification of research needs and the initiation of respective scientific research projects as well as the safe-guarding of necessary infrastructure and the knowledge management in following generations.

It was the aim of the DoReMi Network of Excellence (DoReMi-NoE) to develop research strategies, that allow for effective investigations of fundamental questions in radiation research. There is urgent need to develop a long-term strategy due to the existing uncertainties in the assessment of radiation risk in the low dose area. This aspect has fundamental impact on radiation protection due to the fact that all population groups are exposed to low doses of radiation within their private surroundings and to some extend additionally in their professions or during medical examinations. The open questions of principle have already been identified by the “High Level Expert Group” (HLEG) and are related to:

Besides those scientific topics the network focused on:

The network coordinated research activities that were related to those topics on European level and will allow for efficient and long range research integrating different research areas like biology, epidemiology, physics and modelling. The survey on existing radiation related infrastructure in Europe, such as irradiation facilities, epidemiological cohorts and biobanks, will enable for an optimal usage of such fittings and to avoid unnecessary expenses. Moreover, the encouragement of students and young scientists will additionally help to maintain a sustainable basis for future radiation research.

Above all, the ongoing development of an interdisciplinary long-term stategic research agenda (SRA) will guarantee the sustainability of the basic approach. In this context, the DoReMi-NoE was significantly involved in the development of the Multidisciplinary European Low Dose Initiative MELODI.

The DoReMi project started in 2010 with 12 core partner organisations including the BfS. Beginning of 2015 this number increased to 37 partners, spread over whole Europe and Japan. The project had a run time of 6 years and was funded within the 7th framework program of the EU (grant agreement no. 249689).

State of 2018.04.05

Further information

NERIS - European Platform on preparedness for nuclear and radiological emergency response and recovery

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The mission of the NERIS Platform is to establish a forum for dialogue and methodological development between all European organisations and associations taking part in decision making of protective actions in nuclear and radiological emergencies and recovery in Europe.

Objectives of the Platform NERIS

Activities

The Platform has been established in 2009/2010 as a follow-up activity of the European research project EURANOS.

The Platform is managed by a Board of 10 members. The presidency is hold by Centre d’étude sur l’Evaluation de la Protection dans le domaine Nucléaire (CEPN), the Vice-President is from Federal office for radiation protection (BfS).

Until July 2016, 54 organisations have signed the Letter of Intent to join the Platform and constitute the Partners. Membership of the Platform is open to all European organisations concerned with nuclear and radiological emergency response and recovery preparedness having expressed interest in the activities of the Platform and having signed the present Terms of Reference.

State of 2017.08.10

Further information

Dose Datamed 2

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EU Member States are committed to determine data on the population dose from medical radiation exposures (Medical Exposure Directive MED from 1997, Art. 12; EU Basic Safety Standards from 2013, Art. 64). At the end of 2004, an EU-funded project called DOSE DATAMED was set up with regard to the implementation of the MED. DOSE DATAMED covered ten European countries with national experiences in conducting surveys on medical radiation exposures.

The aims of DOSE DATAMED were

The guidance developed by the DOSE DATAMED working group, together with best available survey data from the ten participating countries was published by the European Commission as Radiation Protection 154: European Guidance on Estimating Population Dose from Medical X-ray Procedures (RP154).

In 2011, a follow-up project was launched addressing also EU countries with less or no experiences concerning this matter: Dose Datamed 2 (duration: January 2011 - March 2013). The objectives of the Dose Datamed 2 project (DDM2) were:

To achieve the above objectives, the study aimed at:

The Dose Datamed 2 project estimated European population doses from radiodiagnostic procedures based on comprehensive data collections from 36 European countries. Taking all 27 EU countries and three EFTA countries (Norway, Iceland and Switzerland) as a group, the mean effective dose from X-ray procedures / from nuclear medicine procedures was on average 1.07 mSv / 0.06 mSv per head of population. More results of the Dose Datamed 2 project can be found in a final report.

State of 2018.06.25

To the topic

Towards a European Network of Excellence in Biological Dosimetry (TENEB)

Subsequent to a large-scale radiation accident or a terrorist attack with radiation sources or radioactive material, a substantial number of persons could have been exposed to ionising radiation.

In order to provide optimal medical care to the exposed individuals and to identify non-irradiated persons a reliable dose reconstruction is of utmost importance. This can be realized by several measures within the emergency management system. In addition to the medical emergency treatment and to physical dose assessment biological dose reconstruction can contribute to an adequate individual care.

To meet the requirements of biological dosimetry after an accident with a large number of potentially exposed persons it is necessary to integrate the resources of several specialised biological dosimetry laboratories in Europe, since the capacity of a single laboratory is not sufficient and quick results are needed.

Pan-European survey on laboratory capacity

As part of the research project TENEB, a pan-European survey of existing resources in the member states was conducted. It was asked,

Of the 28 member states of the EU

In total 24 laboratories have the capability to perform biological dosimetry; they have expressed their interest in creating a network of excellence. This kind of network is also favourised by 18 leading European radiation protection organizations, which signed corresponding letters of intent for a sustainable integration of research in the field of biological dosimetry.

Realising a European Network of Excellence in biological dosimetry

In the meantime it was possible to start with realising the European Network in Biological Dosimetry (RENEB) based on the results of the TENEB project.

These statements together with the long term expertise and the integration of the laboratories in their national structures make it highly probable that a network will be sustained beyond the period when EC funding has ceased.

State of 2017.09.27

More information

European Network on Education and Training in Radiation Protection (ENETRAP)

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Everywhere in Europe, a decrease in radiation protection competency can be observed, since experienced experts retire and young people do no longer consider this field to be their intended career. New initiatives are to counteract this development. It is intended to concentrate the available resources through a "Europeanisation" of those parts of training and education that are not bound to national regulations.

The ENETRAP project (ENETRAP = European Network on Education and Training in Radiation Protection) in which BfS was in charge of one work package, was discontinued at the end of 2007, after it had successfully developed and had shown good results such as the establishment of a study course "European Master in Radiation Protection". It had become apparent during the course of the project that a number of important issues needed further investigation. Therefore representatives of large European radiation protection authorities or, respectively, research and training centres from Belgium, Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Hungary, and Romania, submitted a proposal for further improvement of education and training in radiation protection in Europe within the scope of the RP7: the ENETRAP II project.

ENETRAP II

The generic objectives of this initiative are:

These objectives are achieved through further expanding the European education and training network and performing competence-preserving measures such as joint training activities in modular form and with varying venues, new ways to communicate knowledge (such as e-learning) and to standardise contents.

The following work packages of the ENETRAP II project contribute to further harmonising education and training in radiation protection in Europe:

  1. Coordination of the project
  2. Define requirements and methodology for recognition of RPEs
  3. Define requirements for RPO competencies and establish reference standards for RPO training
  4. Establish the reference standard for RPE training
  5. Develop and apply mechanisms for the evaluation of training material, events and providers.
  6. Create a database of training events and training providers (including OJT) conforming to the agreed standard
  7. Develop some course material examples (text book, e-learning modules)
  8. Organise pilot sessions, test proposed methodologies and monitor the training scheme effectiveness
  9. Introduction of the training passport and mutual recognition system of RPEs
  10. Bringing together initiatives to attract young researchers

ENETRAP II has been completed end of 2012. Reports on the findings and results of the project can be found on the ENETRAP Homepage.

ENETRAP III

The ENETRAP III project started in June 2014. New topics have been included in the work programme, such as for example the implementation of ECVET (European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training). Moreover a train-the-trainers strategy was developed. More information can be found on the ENETRAP homepage.

State of 2018.03.06

To the topic

European ALARA Network

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The European ALARA Network (EAN) aims at optimising practical radiation protection through integrating the know-how of European radiation protection authorities, users in industry, medicine, research and teaching, and of national radiation protection associations and international organisations.

The objectives of the EAN are

The objectives are oriented towards the necessities of the practical implementation of the optimisation principle at the national and the European level. The EAN regularly conducts workshops on current radiation protection topics and publishes the ALARA newsletter twice per year.

State of 2017.11.29

To the topic

European Medical ALARA Network (EMAN)

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The main objective of the EMAN project was to establish a sustainable European Medical ALARA Network (EMAN) where different stakeholders within the medical sector will have the opportunity to discuss and to exchange information on different topics related to the implementation of the ALARA principle in the medical field.

Three specific topics were selected as focus areas for the project:

In addition EMAN aimed to:

Results

The main objective of the EMAN project, i.e. to establish a sustainable network where different stakeholders within the medical sector would have the opportunity to discuss and to exchange information related to the implementation of the ALARA principle in the medical field, has been successfully achieved. The European Society of Radiology (ESR), the European Federation of Medical Physics Organisations (EFOMP) and the European Federation of Radiographer Societies (EFRS), representing altogether more than 150.000 professionals in the medical sector, have agreed to continue collaboration in medical radiation protection optimization within the European Medical ALARA Network in order to sustain and improve the network established under the EC tender project.

The EMAN project has been completed end of 2012. Information on the results can be found here.

State of 2018.01.09

Further information about the project

To the topic

European Radiation Dosimetry Group (EURADOS)

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It is the aim of EURADOS, to support the scientific understanding and the technical development of methods of dosimetry of ionising radiation in the fields of radiation protection, radiobiology, radiotherapy, and medical diagnostics. This is achieved by cooperation between European institutions, especially from EU countries. BfS is involved in dose assessment for persons occupied in the medical field and in the "Internal Dosimetry” and "Retrospective Dosimetry" working groups.

State of 2016.03.17

Further information