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News article18 February 20221 min read

JRC data in revised IEC standard on nuclear instrumentation

Best practice for measuring gamma-rays established in a revised IEC standard with JRC input

HPGe-detector and the new standard, will help protection the citizens against the dangers of ionising radiation.
The HPGe-detector (to the right) is used for measuring radioactivity in environmental samples like food, feed, soil, water, air. The new standard (left) for operating modern HPGe-detectors.
EU, 2022

Monitoring of radioactivity in the environment is increasing in importance with the aims of

  • Protecting the citizens against dangers of ionising radiation
  • Enabling scientists to understand natural and industrial processes better
  • Establishing baseline values of radioactivity to enable monitoring of accidental radioactivity discharges and their radiological impact.

Today, the workhorse in all radioactivity laboratories for such work is the High Purity Germanium detector (HPGe-detector). It was conceived in the 1960s. In recent years, these detectors improved through new great developments in the complex process of producing high purity germanium. Therefore, the number of detectors in laboratories has increased drastically and there was a need to revise the outdated international standard IEC 61452 of 1995 on the operation and calibration of such detectors.

JRC contributed to Working Group 9 of the IEC Technical Committee 45 on nuclear instrumentation, in charge of revising this standard. The revised standard IEC 61452:2021 includes five figures from data recorded with gamma-ray spectrometers in the JRC radionuclide metrology laboratory and in the underground laboratory HADES.

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Publication date
18 February 2022