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Lebanon’s Gamma Spectroscopy Laboratory receives ISO 17025 accreditation, with the support of the IAEA technical cooperation programme

The Gamma Spectroscopy Laboratory of the Lebanese Atomic Energy Commission (LAEC) has been accredited according to ISO standard 17025. The acknowledgement refers to the quality management system that ensures that managerial and technical procedures applied at the laboratory are in compliance with international quality requirements. The newly received ISO 17025 certificate grants the laboratory recognition at an international level and reflects confidence in its service.

The LAEC laboratory provides analytical services for the public and private sectors, and issues certificates of radionuclide content in imported and exported goods and foods, such as baby milk, juice and flour, as well as in environmental samples. The laboratory uses gamma spectroscopy to quantify radionuclides in these products, measuring radioactivity values that must fall within acceptable limits to be suitable for human use and consumption. The laboratory can therefore, determine whether the products are eligible for the food market.

The laboratory is the first analytical laboratory in the ARASIA Member States to receive ISO accreditation. The scope of accreditation covers the “Total Gamma measurements, Radionuclides identification, and Activity calculation in environmental samples (water, air and soil) and consumable products”.

The IAEA, through its technical cooperation programme, has supported the LAEC and the Gamma Spectroscopy Laboratory in particular since it was established in 1996, and has played a major role in the ISO accreditation process. The analytical laboratory was developed through two national technical cooperation projects that helped LAEC build capacities in science and technology, human resources, and overall laboratory planning. All laboratory staff have completed the IAEA’s fellowship programme either at the IAEA’s laboratory in Seibersdorf or at other laboratories around the world. “Even the head of the laboratory spent more than 8 months as a fellow in Vienna” remarked Dr. Bilal Nsouli, Director of the LAEC. In addition to the technical expertise of the staff, all laboratory equipment was acquired through the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme.

In the accreditation process, an ARASIA regional technical cooperation project on the implementation of a quality assurance system served as the gateway to achieving the ISO certification. Through the project, the IAEA provided training and supported continuous knowledge development in quality control and quality assurance through the organization of scientific visits, expert missions, and various topic related activities such as seminars and workshops. The IAEA also carried out proficiency test exercises, which were a prerequisite for the accreditation of the laboratory.

“We are very proud to have received the ISO 17025 accreditation. When it comes to delivering laboratory test certificates for goods and foods, a high level of confidence is necessary” said Dr. Nsouli. “The ISO accreditation is an international label proving your results are confident” he continued. “It ensures credibility of our services and opens international doors for this type of business. We are grateful to the IAEA and its technical cooperation programme, which helped us achieve this remarkable result, and contribute to the socioeconomic development of our country.”

Currently, two other LAEC laboratories are in the process of receiving ISO accreditation, which will further increase the credibility of LAEC’s laboratories and create a potentially bigger service market. The IAEA’s technical cooperation programme is providing support for the accreditation process in both laboratories.

Responsible/Contact: Department of Technical Cooperation | Last update: 10 Apr, 2015

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