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Ionising radiation

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

Ionisierende Strahlung
Germany map with ODL measuring points

Ambient gamma dose rate

The BfS, being one of the key measuring institutions, operates a national monitoring network on the basis of the Precautionary Radiation Protection Act (StrVG) for the large-scale determination of external radiation exposure by continuously measuring the ambient gamma dose rate (ODL).

Im BfS-Geoportal werden Daten aus dem Mess- und Dokumentationssystem IMIS bereitgestellt. Die geografische Herkunft der Messwerte ist in einer Kartendarstellung leicht nachzuvollziehen.

The BfS-geoportal

With the BfS-Geoportal, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection provides its own internet portal for search and visualization of spatial data (geodata) and web services (geodata services). Here, public authorities, interest groups, interested citizens as well as businesses can retrieve information: examples are artificial radionuclides (e.g. caesium-137) in food or feed or the radioactivity measured in rain. You can restrict your search results to specific periods of time or geographic areas, or you can get a general overview of Germany.

Air monitoring

In order to measure the activity concentrations of radioactive substances in the air, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) uses two methods: air monitoring and trace analysis. In air monitoring, natural and artificial radionuclides from the atmosphere are measured continuously with measurement systems. The measurement results from these methods are available within only a few hours. In trace analysis, airborne dust is collected in large-area filters over seven days, measured and then analysed in order to detect even minute traces of radioactive substances.

Trace measurements in airborne dust

Trace measurements in airborne dust are part of the Integrated Measuring and Information System IMIS. The Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB, National Metrology Institute of Germany) and the Deutsche Wetterdienst (DWD, Germany's National Meteorological Service) operate air samplers at 43 sampling locations for this purpose. Samplers allowing very high sensitivity detection of artificial radionuclides are operated at four stations.


Radiation exposure of airline passengers

Many people travel for business or pleasure reasons to their distant destinations by plane. These aircraft often fly at altitudes and latitudes, where substantially more radiation affects men than on the Earth’s surface. The energies of this high altitude radiation are so high that they can not be shielded.

Sketch of a nuclear power plant

Monitoring the emission of radioactive materials from nuclear facilities

The discharges of radioactive materials from nuclear facilities (emission) through exhaust air and waste water are regularly and permanently monitored and assessed. The resultant radiation exposure of the population is deduced from this. In addition, the atomic licensing authorities stipulate maximum values for the discharges from nuclear facilities.

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