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Measurement of radioactivity in the environment

Objective

Specific Objectives

- Application of the analytical procedures developed during 2001 at real samples collected in radioactively contaminated environments;
- Execute synchrotron measurements, in collaboration with KFKI, Budapest, on the microstructure of radioactive particles and the determination of the oxidation state of the matrix (U, Pu) on samples collected in the framework of OSPAR, MARINA project as support to DG Env;
- Implement the database for "characterisation of particles" including different release scenarios and fate of particles. Especially in the framework on the IAEA coordinated research programme;
- Use the capillary electrophoresis system to study the speciation of radio-nuclides and to improve the understanding of transport mechanisms of radio-nuclides in the environment.
Planned Deliverables

Specific deliverables to DGs:

- Monitoring of EU policies;
- Alert function concerning new technologies related to health and safety;
- Consultancy in formulation of EU policies.

As a result of the research:
- Reports;
- Publications;
- Chemical analyses;
- Participation in advisory meetings;
- Workshops.

Summary of deliverables made by:
Summary of 2000 Deliverables: 31/12/2000
Major improvements were achieved in 2000 in the preparation of particles for trace analysis (in synergy with the institutional programme on safeguards) and on the automated evaluation of the SIMS results. Control particles of uranium oxide (1µm size) have been produced starting from reference material having certified uranium isotopic composition. A procedure for the production of particles of U/Th oxides has also been developed. These particles will be used for the implementation of methods for the localisation of radioactive particles in environmental samples as well as for safeguards.

In collaboration with DG Environment, ITU supported the MARINA project and the environmental remediation of the Karachay lake and contributed to the meeting "Protection of the Environment from the Effects of Ionising Radiation: International Perspectives", organised by the IAEA.

Output Indicators and Impact

Global output: 3 publications in refereed journals and 3 conference participation.
Summary of the project

In terms of Articles 35 and 36 of the Euratom Treaty, compliance with the requirements of environmental radioactivity monitoring is verified in-situ by the Commission. In line with the verification strategy under development at ENVIRONMENT DG, the Institute will assist ENVIRONMENT DG and adapt, as necessary, the analytical techniques for measurements of discharges, emissions and trace radio-nuclide concentration measurements in soil, vegetation, water and air under strict quality assurance principles.

The OSPAR strategies with regard to radioactive substances foresee "measures to identify, prioritise, monitor and control the emissions, discharges and losses of radioactive substances which could reach the marine environment..."

ITU has developed and implemented a programme to measure trace amounts of nuclear materials in order to detect clandestine nuclear activities.
It has also, upon request by Member States authorities and to provide evidence in court proceedings, analysed and characterised nuclear and in particular also waste materials dumped illicitely.

Rationale

Health protection in the European Union is governed by chapter III of the Euratom Treaty and different types of legislation can be adopted through regulations, directives, decisions, recommendations and resolutions. Within the European Commission ENVIRONMENT DG is responsible for the protection of the environment, for nuclear safety and civil protection.

ENVIRONMENT DG has expressed the need for assistance related to the verification of radioactive discharges and emissions from nuclear installations as well as the commitments contained in the SINTRA statement of the Ministerial Meeting of the OSPAR Commission, released on 24.7.98.

In view of the availability of competence and required expertise which is essential for the interpretation of the results obtained and the independence from national and commercial interests, the Institute appears the right place to provide assistance to ENVIRONMENT DG, as and when needed.

Funding Scheme

JRC - Joint Research Centre research

Coordinator

Institute for Transuranium Elements
Address

Karlsruhe
Germany