Protecting European citizens from the risks of ionising radiation

Introducing the new European Metrology Network for Radiation Protection

All across the world, people are naturally exposed to environmental radiation. However, in the workplace, more than 22 million people globally are exposed to ionising radiation in addition to the average annual exposure.

As medical therapy, nuclear industry and other sectors continue to advance and technologically develop, there are increasing risks for radiation exposure to a growing number of workers.

As such, the European Union actively supports radiation protection through legislation, to protect both workers and the general public against the dangers of ionising radiation.

The EU’s Council Directive that is currently in place, for instance, outlines basic safety standards - including dose assessments, exposure limits, and reference values for activity concentrations. Recent developments have made dose assessments and exposure limits increasingly stringent, leading to some difficulties with legislation compliance.

To cover all of the aforementioned metrological challenges, EURAMET has launched a new European Metrology Network (EMN) for Radiation Protection. The network will act as a single point of contact for addressing measurement science needs related to radiation protection issues across Europe, as well as working to maintain reliable quality assurance practises. By providing a harmonised, sustainable and coordinated metrological structure through this EMN, EURAMET hopes to facilitate an on-going dialogue between metrology institutes, calibration and test labs, and stakeholders of radiation protection legislation.

In addition to these broader goals, the network will also have a special focus on contributing to the generation of new and to the revision of existing standards in the field.  

Annette Röttger, the acting chair of the network, comments:

“The accurate measurement of radiation doses is key to ensuring safety, but there are two challenges to be faced. First, new standards and reference fields are needed due to changes of living and working conditions in our rapidly changing society and economy. Second, direct communication channels are needed to ensure that information on best practice in measurements reaches the people concerned effectively and quickly.

Our EMN is addressing this issue through the identification of stakeholder research needs, by implementing a strategic research agenda and knowledge sharing activities. This will significantly strengthen the radiation protection metrology and support radiation protection measures. Our final goal is a harmonised, sustainable, coordinated and smartly specialised infrastructure to underpin the current and future needs expressed in the European regulations for radiation protection.”

Already, the network has begun to take shape and engage with key stakeholders in the radiation protection sector. So far, the EMN has held a successful stakeholder workshop attended by a high-level audience, and network members have also presented at a BIPM online seminar on radiation protection to several worldwide leading experts. Additionally, at the General Assembly of the European Radiation Dosimetry Group (EURADOS), over 800 participants had the opportunity to hear about future plans for collaboration between EURAMET and EURADOS - a prominent player in promoting European cooperation in the field of ionising radiation dosimetry.

The network also more recently held its kick-off meeting on 29 September 2021, with participation from globally renowned stakeholders such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM). Vincent Gressier from the BIPM provides a stakeholder perspective of the new network:

“We are continuing to showcase the complementary role of the EMN to the CCRI (Consultative Committee for Ionising Radiation) and encouraging close collaboration between the two entities.”

For more information, please visit the website of the EMN Radiation Protection >>

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