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Improving the Calibration of Radiation Monitoring Instruments in Latin America and the Caribbean

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A technician positions the neutron source for the calibration of monitors at the Neutron Laboratory at the Brazilian Institute for Radiation Protection and Dosimetry at the National Nuclear Energy Commission. (Photo: E. Zappia/IRD/CNEN)

Radiation monitoring is essential for an effective radiation protection programme, ensuring that neither the operating personnel nor the public receives radiation doses above permissible limits. “Instruments for detecting nuclear radiations play a key role in modern life, as they are used in various sectors, from industry to medicine and energy production,” said IAEA expert Roberto Bedogni. “Calibrating these devices is far more than just applying a procedure; it requires solid scientific basis and cutting-edge equipment.”

The IAEA recently conducted two webinars targeting radiation metrologists working at Secondary Standards Dosimetry Laboratories (SSDLs). SSDLs provide traceable calibration of radiation monitoring instruments, such as survey meters and reference irradiations of personal dosimeters. The webinars focused on calibration of radiation protection dosimeters and workplace monitoring instruments, as well as calibration using neutron sources at SSDLs.

Though neutron radiation is frequently encountered in the energy, industrial and medical sectors, not many SSDLs with neutron calibration capabilities have been developed worldwide. Consequently, establishing the technical basis for neutron calibrations at SSDLs is a key to strengthening these sectors.

Instruments for detecting nuclear radiations play a key role in modern life, as they are used in various sectors, from industry to medicine and energy production
Roberto Bedogni, IAEA expert

“The webinar on calibration of radiation protection dosimeters was based on the new ISO 4037 standard of 2019, which deals with reference photon radiation,” said Milos Zivanovic, IAEA expert leading the first webinar. “There are many important novelties presented by this standard, especially regarding the use of X-ray. The laboratories learned about the procedures and related new equipment requirements.”

75 participants from 17 countries attended the webinars, which included interactive elements that allowed the participants to engage in live quizzes and technical discussions with international experts, IAEA staff and peers in the region. The courses are available in Spanish on the website of the Network for the Optimization of Occupational Radiation Protection in Latin America and the Caribbean (REPROLAM).

The webinars were organized in the framework of the IAEA Technical Cooperation project “Strengthening Regional Capabilities of End Users and Technical Support Organizations on Radiation Protection as well as Emergency Preparedness and Response in Line with IAEA Requirements” covering thematic safety area related to occupational radiation protection, radiation safety in the medical practice and radiological emergency preparedness and response.

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