- What are electromagnetic fields?
- Static and low-frequency fields
- What are static and low-frequency fields?
- Reports & Evaluations
- Radiation protection relating to the expansion of the national grid
- Basics transfer of electrical power
- High-frequency fields
- What are high-frequency fields?
- Applications high-frequency fields
- Radiation protection in mobile communication
- What is mobile communication?
- Reports and evaluations
- What is optical radiation?
- UV radiation
- What is UV radiation?
- Sun but safe!
- Effects of UV radiation
- Protection against UV radiation
- UV index
- Infrared radiation
- What is ionising radiation?
- Radioactivity in the environment
- Where does radioactivity occur in the environment?
- What is the level of natural radiation exposure in Germany?
- Air, soil and water
- Building materials
- Industrial residues (NORM)
- BfS laboratories
- Applications in medicine
- Applications in daily life and in technology
- Radioactive radiation sources in Germany
- Register high-level radioactive radiation sources
- Type approval procedure pursuant to RöV and StrlSchV
- Cabin luggage security checks
- Radioactive materials in watches
- Ionisation smoke detectors (ISM)
- What are the effects of radiation?
- Acute radiation damage
- Effects of selected radioactive materials
- Consequences of a radiation accident
- Cancer and leukaemia
- Genetic radiation effects
- Individual radiosensitivity
- Epidemiology of radiation-induced diseases
- Ionising radiation: positive effects?
- Risk estimation and assessment
- Radiation protection
- Basic informations
- Occupational radiation protection
- Nuclear accident management
- What happens in an emergency?
- Federal and state tasks
- In the event of an emergency
- Measuring networks
- Exercises for emergency situations
- Nuclear accidents
- Defence against nuclear hazards
- Service offers
- Radon measurements
- Incorporation monitoring
- Biological dosimetry
- About us
- Science and research
- Research concept
- Scientific collaborations
- EU research framework programme
- BfS research programme
- Third-party funded research
- Departmental research
- Selected research projects
- Selected research results
- Professional opinions
- Laws and regulations
- BfS Topics in the Bundestag
Laboratories for the Analysis and Measurement of Radioactive Substances
With highly specialized laboratories, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) is able to detect radionuclides in virtually all media, such as water, soil, air and food. Its tasks range from emission control in nuclear power plants to environmental radioactivity monitoring, as well as trace analysis of radioactive substances in the atmosphere for the monitoring of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Analytical and measurement methods
Depending on the radioactive substance, its content in the medium to be analysed and the nature of the medium, various methods for analysis and measurement are used.
The easiest to measure are radioactive substances which emit gamma rays during decay (gamma-ray emitters). Gamma radiation penetrates the sample material and the measuring vessel and is detected by the measuring instrument, mostly special semiconductor detectors (high-purity germanium detectors).
Alpha and beta radiation
Radionuclides which only emit alpha and beta particles during their decay (alpha-ray and beta-ray emitters) cannot be measured in this way. Most or even all of the radiation is shielded by the sample material or the walls of the measuring vessel. In this case, the radiochemical processing of the sample is needed first. In the process, the radionuclides to be measured are separated from the sample material and other radionuclides interfering with the measurement by means of elaborate methods.
Suitable measurement instruments are
Proportional counters and liquid scintillation counters for alpha-ray and beta-ray emitters as well as special semiconductor detectors (silicon detectors) for alpha-ray emitters.
Advancement of analytical and measurement methods
The radiochemical methods for determining alpha-ray and beta-ray emitters are being continually advanced at the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS).Quick methods are of particular importance here. The objective is to determine the radioactive contamination of food and the environment as quickly as possible
- after incidents during which radioactive substances have been released into the environment or
- in cases of defence against nuclear hazards
in order to be able to take effective targeted countermeasures for human protection.
BfS-Laboratories: Coordinating Offices for environmental radioactivity monitoring
Half of the laboratories are also Coordinating Offices for the monitoring of environmental radioactivity. The Coordinating Offices' tasks range from measurement tasks to
- the development and determination of sampling, analysing, measurement and calculation methods as well as
- the performance of comparative measurements and comparative analyses (interlaboratory comparisons, proficiency tests).
A high value is placed on quality management and quality assurance at the BfS. All laboratories participate regularly in national and international comparative measurements (interlaboratory comparisons) or offer comparative measurements as part of their coordinating office function. A quality standard conforming to the DIN EN ISO/IEC 17205 standard is the guideline. Most of the laboratories have either already been accredited with this standard or are working towards accreditation. This proves that the laboratories maintain an efficient management system and that they have the technical and professional expertise to provide reliable measurement and analysis results.
State of 2017.05.03