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Second Training Workshop on Method Validation and Quality Control for X-Ray Fluorescence Laboratories Participating in the Proficiency Test Scheme

5 – 9 Jun 2023
Seibersdorf, Austria
Event code: EVT2205743

Over the last 20 years the Nuclear Science and Instrumentation Laboratory (NSIL, formerly NSAL and Instrumentation Unit) has played a leading role worldwide in the effective use of nuclear instrumentation and nuclear spectrometry techniques, including the development of X-ray fluorescence (XRF) techniques and portable systems and analytical methodologies for in situ radiological and materials characterization in Member States priority areas, such as on-site environmental assessment, mineral prospecting and the study of cultural heritage objects.

NSIL also operates a beam line in Institute Ruđer Bošković (Zagreb, Croatia) and an Ultra High Vacuum end-station at Elettra Synchrotrone (Trieste, Italy) and facilitates the access of IAEA Member States investigators for experimental work and adaptive research at such facilities. Supplementing these research activities and backstopping TC projects training in nuclear instrumentation have been provided to hundreds of fellows. NSIL has extensive experience in providing training and recommendations for Quality Management and Quality Assurance to laboratories implementing nuclear spectrometry techniques. Two relevant training materials (IAEA-TCS-33/CD and IAEA-TCS-53/CD) have been published in the IAEA Training Course (CD-ROM) series to provide recommendations to laboratories working towards implementing Quality Management systems and seeking formal accreditation. More recently, an introductory course on Quality Assurance of X-ray Fluorescence Analysis of Airborne Particulate Matter has been developed and made available in the IAEA Open Learning Management System.

Since 2002 NSIL has organized proficiency tests annually to enhance capability of interested MSs in effective utilization of nuclear and related analytical techniques and analytical services in industry, human health, agriculture, and in monitoring and evaluation of environmental pollution. The proficiency tests are designed to identify analytical problems, to support IAEA MSs laboratories to improve the quality of their results, to maintain their accreditation and to provide a regular forum for discussion and technology transfer in this area. About 90 laboratories using x-ray fluorescence techniques in more than 50 IAEA Member States have participated in these exercises. Since 2015 the PTs coordinated by NSIL comply with ISO 17043:2008 concerning the organization and terminology adopted when running an interlaboratory exercise, and since 2020 the data of the NSIL PT are processed in compliance with ISO 13528:2015. A review of the accuracy of the results submitted within the last five exercises indicate that some XRF laboratories still face difficulties during the implementation and validation of the used analytical procedures and require additional training to improve the accuracy of the reported results. One of the recommendations from ISO 17043 is that of “where appropriate for the purpose of the proficiency testing scheme, the proficiency testing provider shall provide expert commentary on the performance of participants”.

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