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Ionising radiation

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

Ionisierende Strahlung

Verification of licencee's monitoring of radioactive effluents from nuclear power plants

  • The BfS is verifying the reliability and quality of the licencee’s monitoring of radioactive effluents by nuclear power plant operators.
  • Key instruments for quality assurance are a control measurement programme and interlaboratory comparisons. It is mandatory for the operators of nuclear installations or for their contracted measurement laboratories to participate in these interlaboratory comparisons.
  • To this end, the BfS - in its capacity as an expert appointed by the competent supervisory authorities - performs control measurements.

For more than 30 years, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) and its predecessor authority respectively, have been verifying the reliability and quality of the licencee’s monitoring of radioactive effluents by power plant operators.

exemplary analysis result of the interlaboratory of waste 2013 Interlaboratory comparison waste waterExample: Analysis result of the interlaboratory of waste 2013

Instruments for quality assurance

Key instruments for quality assurance are a control measurement programme and interlaboratory comparisons. To this end, the BfS - in its capacity as an expert appointed by the competent supervisory authorities - performs control measurements.

Control measurement programme

All samples used for assessment are submitted to the BfS by the operators. The BfS selects random samples among those submitted samples and performs its own activity determinations.

Monitoring the emissions of a nuclear power plant: Annual control measurement programme exhaust air / waste water
Exhaust air-
Radionuclide / radionuclide groupFrequency and type of control measurement for each nuclear power plant
Gamma emitters10 per cent of the weekly samples
iodine isotopes10 per cent of the weekly samples
strontium isotopes4 quarterly mixed samples
alpha emitters4 quarterly mixed samples
carbon-14at least 1 quarterly mixed sample
tritiumat least 1 quarterly mixed sample
radioactive noble gaseson-site comparative measurements every three years
Waste water-
Radionuclide / radionuclide groupFrequency and type of control measurement for each nuclear power plant
total alpha1 quarterly mixed sample
iron-55 / nickel-631 annual mixed sample
radioactive noble gaseson-site comparative measurements every three years

Exhaust air sample Exhaust air sampleExhaust air sample

Interlaboratory comparisons

Together with the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB, National Metrology Institute of Germany), the BfS organises an annual

Waste water samples for interlaboratory comparison measurements Wate water samplesWaste water samples prepared for interlaboratory comparison measurements

It is mandatory for the operators of nuclear installations or for their contracted measurement laboratories to participate in these interlaboratory comparisons.

The interlaboratory comparisons allow the objective evaluation of the quality of the measurement values determined in the framework of licencee's monitoring.

In recent years, the participation of international measurement laboratories has increased..

Expert talks

Expert talks in the fields of "exhaust air" and "waste water" are held regularly by the BfS. All competent supervisory authorities and operators of nuclear power plants participate in the talks.

At the talks, the BfS provides information on current problems identified during control measurements. Furthermore, expert talks are a significant contribution to communicating the state of the art of science and technology in the field of emission monitoring.

State of 2017.06.26

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