The European Commission’s DG Home praises EURAMET and ERNCIP collaboration

Workers collecting hazardous material

Collaboration with EMPIR project ‘Standard for Digital Data Format for Nuclear Instrumentation’ singled out for praise at nuclear safety workshop

At the November 2019 workshop ‘Supporting the science/policy interface for secure and resilient societies’ held in Brussels, a collaboration between EURAMET and the Radiological and Nuclear Threats to Critical Infrastructure Thematic Group (ERNCIP RN TG) was singled out for praise by Directorate General Home. The Digital Data Standard project team (working with several industrial stakeholders and the ERNCIP RN TG) formulated and published the new IEC 63047 standard which the Commission representatives have described as “an excellent example of collaboration”.

In the Horizon 2020 EMPIR project ‘Standard for Digital Data Format for Nuclear Instrumentation’, (14SIP07, Digital Standard) a consortium of four EU Member State Metrology Institutes (NMIs) in collaboration with project primary supporter Joint Research Centre (JRC), addressed the need for a normative standard. JRC were also the leader of the ERNCIP RN TG, which has been highlighted by European Commission representatives as “the most successful ERNCIP thematic group ever”.

Over the past few years, the use of digital data acquisition in radiation detection has rapidly increased and NMIs are upgrading analogue instrumentation with more robust and faster digital devices, sampling directly from radiation detectors, along with time-stamps for each detected event. These systems offer the ability to re-play and re-analyse all raw data using different parameters or algorithms so helping to ensure the reliability of complex coincidence measurements, while providing transparency to the results. The ability to combine digital radiometric data with additional information such as highly accurate positioning information from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) is an important consideration in automating instrumentation used by emergency responders, and facilitating the use of robotic, unmanned systems for radiometric data collection for use in hazardous environments following a nuclear ‘incident’. The harmonised data format allows data analysis to be performed ‘off-site’ at a number of independent analysis locations.

However, until the publication of IEC 63047 (2018) there was no standard to specify the format for this data which hindered interoperability between hardware for data acquisition and software for data analysis – an essential component in remote emergency radionuclide detection.

Not only will the new standard enable the improved international harmonisation and traceability of nuclear measurements, including nuclear data measurements, but also give greater confidence to measurements made in a number of fields, including environmental monitoring, nuclear decommissioning, radiation protection and nuclear security.

This EMPIR project is co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States

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