IAEA Labs Impart Radiation Monitoring Best Practices in Fukushima

Radiation safety experts from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) in Japan visited two IAEA laboratories in Vienna and Seibersdorf, Austria and learned about the IAEA's upgraded techniques for radiation monitoring of workers.

"Radiation monitoring of occupationally exposed workers at FDNPS and the environment is essential to determine that radiation levels are safe in accordance with the IAEA safety standards," said Rodolfo Cruz Suárez, Head of the IAEA Radiation Safety Technical Services Unit, adding that "IAEA laboratory experts share best practices for measuring radioactivity in humans and the environment as well as for calibrating radiation measuring equipment."

During the visit on 12 and 13 February, TEPCO experts visited the accredited IAEA Radiation Safety Technical Services laboratory where they observed methods for identifying radionuclides in the human body, including chemical separation techniques to isolate radionuclides of interest, as well as methods for dose assessment and internal monitoring. Accreditation enhances the IAEA's aspiration to serve as a model for its member countries who wish to establish and maintain a quality management system for testing services in radiation protection, including individual and workplace monitoring.  

TEPCO experts also toured the IAEA Terrestrial Environment Radiochemistry laboratory, where IAEA experts advised on state-of-the-art analytical methods for chemical treatment, and detection and measurement of radioactive elements in environmental samples such as soil and water. Discussions were also held on the range of reference material available to IAEA member countries, and their use in validating laboratory methods.

The technical visit was designed to support TECPO in setting up comprehensive on-site facilities to conduct radiation monitoring and measurement that will further enhance the safety of workers at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS), during planned and emergency exposure situations.

The IAEA currently cooperates with Japan on the safe release of Japan's advanced liquid processing system (ALPS) treated water into the surrounding sea, and with Fukushima Prefecture in the area of radiation monitoring and remediation, based on a long standing agreement in which the IAEA provides concrete guidance on radiation safety to support those living in the area.

IAEA laboratories will continue to verify the individual monitoring services for external and internal radiation exposure of workers at FDNPS. They have also implemented a comprehensive interlaboratory comparison scheme with TEPCO, to evaluate the performance of dosimetry service providers and to validate the effectiveness of radionuclide testing methods, which is aimed at providing the international community with an objective and science-based safety review.

Learn more about the IAEA laboratory services here

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