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News article19 May 20173 min read

One step closer to better standards

Truck passing through a radiation portal monitor
© EU

JRC takes part in the revision and development of International Standards for equipment to enhance nuclear security and to increase the interoperability of data acquisition systems used in nuclear measurements. From 24 until 28 April 2017, JRC hosted the interim meetings of two working groups and one project team of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The experts discussed and agreed on six international standards.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)

Next to ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and ITU (International Telecommunication Union), the IEC is one of the three organisations that develop international standards that act at the global scale. IEC is the world’s leading organisation for the preparation and publication of international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. Official liaisons have been established between the Joint Research Centre and several of the IEC’s Technical Committees, which allows the JRC to participate in the development of international standards by the provision of comments, based on test results, scientific knowledge or pre-normative research.

JRC hosts IEC interim meetings

From 24 until 28 April 2017, the JRC hosted the interim meetings of Technical Committee 45, Working Group 9 (TC 45/WG 9) and Subcommittee 45B, Working Group B15 (SC 45B/WG B15). These working groups develop standards for nuclear instrumentation and for radiation protection instrumentation, respectively. JRC collaborates with both working groups.

Development of a standard for list-mode data

For IEC/TC 45/WG 9, JRC leads the development of a new International Standard, IEC 63047, which specifies the data format for list-mode digital data acquisition systems used in radiation detection and measurement. The pre-normative research, performed by the JRC ERNCIP thematic group on radiological and nuclear threats to critical infrastructure in the frame of Commission mandate M/487 to the European Standardisation Organisations, has led to the creation of a consortium of EU member state laboratories receiving funding through H2020. The National Metrology Institutes of the participating member states and SME’s that develop such data acquisition systems work together with JRC to establish the new data format standard.

On 24 April, the comments from the IEC/TC 45 National Committees on the first committee draft were discussed and agreed upon. JRC will now prepare the second committee draft. The forecast publication date of the standard IEC 63047 is planned for March 2019.

Revision of standards against illicit trafficking of radioactive and nuclear material

Experts appointed by the IEC/SC 45B member countries gathered to discuss the revision of a series of international standards that specify performance criteria and test procedures for equipment used to intercept illicit trafficking of radioactive and nuclear material. Such equipment is widely used at border control checkpoints, at seaports and in airports. When used effectively, the equipment allows front-line or customs officers to seize materials that possibly cause a nuclear safety or security threat. For that, the correct performance of the equipment is critical. For example, the equipment shall be sensitive enough to find and identify small amounts of threat material, but also shall not produce false alarms which hinder the flow of vehicles, goods or persons.

In the Illicit Trafficking Radiation Detection Assessment Program (ITRAP+10), the European Commission Directorate General for Home Affairs (EC-HOME), the Joint Research Centre (EC-JRC), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (US-DHS DNDO), the U.S. Department of Energy (US-DOE), and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) agreed to collaborate on the conduct of a major test campaign to assess the performance of instruments against the standards. The vast amount of test data acquired in the project is extremely valuable in the revision process of the International Standards, and is being used by IEC/SC 45B/WG B15, in support of the consensus-making process, which is essential to the development of standards.

The working group discussed the revision of the standards IEC 62401 for Personal Radiation Devices, IEC 62327 for Radioisotope Identifiers and IEC 62244 for Radiation Portal Monitors. The group also discussed the development of a new standard for vehicle-mounted mobile radiation monitors and the new standard IEC 62957-1 for data injection tests.



Publication date
19 May 2017