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Ionising radiation

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

Ionisierende Strahlung

Interlaboratory comparison and proficiency testing of passive radon measuring devices

  • Since 2003 the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) regularly performs interlaboratory comparisons for passive radon measurement devices.
  • National and international laboratories can apply for the interlaboratory comparisons.
  • The current interlaboratory comparison of passive radon measurement devices will take place in the 1st quarter of 2019. The completed application form has to be submitted by January 15, 2019.

Since 2003 the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) regularly conducts interlaboratory comparisons of passive radon measurement devices such as

  • solid state nuclear track-etch detectors (SSNTD) or
  • electret ionisation chambers

in order to assure the quality of radon measurements. This is part of the tasks and responsibilities of the Federal coordinating office for questions of monitoring of the radioactivity at enhanced natural radioactivity (ENORM). The measurement devices will be exposed in the calibration chambers of the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection. The BfS Radon Calibration Laboratory is accredited by the German accreditation body Deutsche Akkreditierungsstelle GmbH (DAkkS) for measuring the activity concentration of radon-222 in air and the potential alpha energy concentration of short-lived decay products. From 2019 on, an additional proficiency testing is offered to comply with the provisions of the new Radiation Protection Ordinance.

Participants

  • Radon measuring services according to §169 of the Radiation Protection Act, which hand out measurement devices for monitoring occupational radiation exposures to radon or radon decay products in Germany may be obliged to take part regularly in the interlaboratory comparisons.
  • Laboratories or bodies that are approved or have applied to be approved for the measurement of the Radon-222 activity concentration according to §155 of the new Radiation Protection Ordinance are obliged to take part regularly in BfS measures for quality assurance (in this case the interlaboratory comparison and proficiency testing).
  • We recommend participation also for radon measuring services which quantify radon activity concentration indoors and outdoors and are not associated with occupational radiation exposures. Participation should enhance confidence in performed measurements and results.
  • Laboratories which possess or wish to acquire an accreditation for measuring the activity concentration of radon-222 fulfil the obligation to validate their measuring method in accordance with DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025 by participating in the interlaboratory comparison.

National as well as international laboratories can apply for participation. Due to limited capacities in the BfS Radon Calibration Laboratory there will be a limited number of participants also in 2019. Radon measuring services according to §169 of the Radiation Protection Act as well as bodies that are approved or demonstrably strive to be approved for the measurement of the Radon-222 activity concentration according to §155 of the new Radiation Protection Ordinance will have preferred access to the interlaboratory comparison.

Implementation

Applicants should download and complete the application form and submit it via e-mail to comparison-radon@bfs.de. After confirmation of participation the participants send their devices to BfS. Submitted sets will be divided at random into a number of exposure groups and will be exposed at different radon-222 activity concentrations of up to 10 kilobecquerel per cubic metre at normal room conditions (temperature: 20 to 25 degrees Celsius, relative humidity: 30 to 60 per cent). The exposures to radon reach values of up to 3,500 kilobecquerel-hours per cubic metre.

A supplementary group is used to determine the effects of transportation and storage during the interlaboratory comparison (transit group). The devices will be returned after all exposures have been accomplished.

Evaluation

The participants will evaluate their devices and report the measurement results to the Federal Office for Radiation Protection. BfS prepares the final assessment after it has received all measurement results. To this end, the measurement results are compared with the reference exposures.

Subsequently, proficiency testing is performed by evaluating the deviations of the individual measurement results from the reference exposures.

Participants in the interlaboratory comparison will receive

  • an individual report containing the measurement results as well as the corresponding reference exposures,
  • upon request a written confirmation on their result in proficiency testing,
  • a final report which includes the results of all participants in anonymous form with detailed information on the conditions of exposure.

BfS is committed to treating the data received and established confidentially.Results will be disclosed exclusively in anonymous form.

Details on measurement devices and exposure data

Number of devices which have to be sent in
SSNTD radon monitorsElectret radon monitors
Number of exposure groups43
Number of devices which have to be submitted for each type and by each participant3524
Exposure data
SSNTD or electret radon monitors
Duration of exposure7 to 21 days
radon-222 activity concentrationup to 10 kilobecquerel per cubic meter
radon-222 exposureup to 3,500 kilobecquerel-hours per cubic meter

The German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) conducts the next interlaboratory comparison for passive radon measurement devices using track-etch detectors (SSNTD, in diffusion chambers) or electret ionisation chambers in the 1st quarter of 2019. The completed application form has to be submitted by January 15, 2019.

State of 2018.11.21

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