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Ionising radiation

Environmental Radioactivity - Medicine - Occupational Radiation Protection - Nuclear Hazards Defence

Ionisierende Strahlung

How does IMIS work?

Organisational structure IMIS - StructureOrganisational structure: The three levels of IMIS

The task of IMIS is to continuously monitor the environment and thus be able to detect small changes in environmental radioactivity in a fast and reliable manner, as well as to recognize long-ranging trends. More than 60 German Federal and State laboratories participate in this measuring program.

Measuring networks that operate continuously are equipped for monitoring radioactivity on the ground, in the atmosphere, in the federal waterways and in the North and Baltic Seas. Moreover during routine operation, more than 10.000 individual measurements are performed each year all over Germany, in air, water, soil, food and animal feed.

All results are merged, evaluated, refined and presented in well-arranged documents. Every year the results are summarised in the report "Environmental Radioactivity and Radiation Exposure".

Establishing IMIS: consequence of nuclear disaster in Chernobyl

The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster showed that the preparations for a large-scale contamination of the environment were insufficient at the time: Measurements were not performed systematically and not co-ordinated. The dose assessments, as well as the exchange of data via fax and typewriter, were time-consuming and difficult. At best, results were displayed in terms of charts. Drawing up clear graphics was complicated and thus practically not exercised. Therefore, politicians judged the situation in many different ways, which caused significant uncertainty among the public.

As a consequence of these experiences, the Precautionary Radiation Protection Act (StrVG) was adopted in 1986. It is the legal basis for establishing the "Integrated Measuring and Information System for the Surveillance of Environmental Radioactivity" (IMIS).

Quick capture of the radiological situation

Electronic Situation Display for Emergency Preparedness (ELAN) Electronic Situation Display for Emergency Preparedness (ELAN)Schematic presentation of the functionality of the „Electronic Situation Display for Emergency Preparedness“ (ELAN)

IMIS is primarily designed for the quick capture of the radiological situation in case of an accident. In order to be able to make decisions on protective measures, IMIS must provide three types of information in a fast and reliable way:

  • Which areas are affected, and to what extent?
  • Which radionuclides play a role?
  • What is the current and anticipated level of exposure to the public in the affected areas?

Organizational structure

IMIS consists of several interlocking, harmonized components. A differentiation between three levels can be made within IMIS (see the above picture):

  • measurements of environmental contamination and prognostic dose assessments,
  • consolidation, evaluation, preparation and depiction of the results,
  • transmission of the results to the Federal Ministry for the Environment's (BMU) decision-making level.

Current measuring data

State of 2016.08.03

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