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Ionising radiation

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

Ionisierende Strahlung

Emissions monitoring of nuclear facilities

Radioactive materials are contained in the discharges from nuclear facilities. The Radiation Protection Ordinance therefore prescribes the continual monitoring of these discharges by the operator so that the amount of emitted radioactive materials can be deduced. Samples of the measurements taken by the operator are also checked quarterly by an independent measurement body. The annual radiation exposure for the population is then derived from the annual discharges.

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.

Calculation of radiation exposure

The radiation exposure to the population in the vicinity of every nuclear installation is calculated by means of the assessed discharges provided by the operator. The calculations relate to a reference person: a hypothetical individual, whose behaviour in regard to location and consumption habits results in the highest possible exposure to radiation.

exemplary analysis result of the interlaboratory of waste 2013

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

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


The dispersion model ARTM is used for the calculation of the radiation exposure on the population in the surrounding of nuclear facilities. As necessary input parameters, ARTM requires time series of meteorological measurements as well as the emission data of radioactive substances from the exhaust stack. The additional radiation exposure on the population caused by the artificial emission must be reported annually to the German parliament since 1974.

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