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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 39  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 53-61

Role of the IAEA's ALMERA network in harmonization of analytical procedures applicable worldwide for radiological emergencies

1 International Atomic Energy Agency, Environment Laboratories, Seibersdorf, Austria
2 International Atomic Energy Agency, Environment Laboratories, Monaco

Correspondence Address:
Aurelien Pitois
International Atomic Energy Agency, Environment Laboratories, 2444 Seibersdorf
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-0464.190396

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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) coordinates and provides analytical support to the worldwide network of Analytical Laboratories for the Measurement of Environmental Radioactivity (ALMERA). The goal of ALMERA is to provide timely and reliable measurement results of environmental radioactivity in routine monitoring and emergency situations. Finding and choosing the most adequate analytical procedures for environmental monitoring can be a challenge for laboratories due to a wide variety of technologies available and the rapid developments in this field. To respond to this challenge, the IAEA has included within its ALMERA activities, the development and validation of a set of procedures for the determination of natural and anthropogenic radionuclides in environmental samples, for both routine and emergency environmental monitoring. Methodological harmonization, in turn, leads to enhanced worldwide comparability of environmental radioactivity measurement results. The respective analytical procedures are developed by expert groups from ALMERA member laboratories and validated through several ALMERA laboratories worldwide according to a comprehensive methodology. In addition to sequential analytical procedures for routine environmental monitoring, rapid procedures applicable for radiological emergencies have been developed and validated for the determination of americium and plutonium radioisotopes in soil and sediment samples, radiostrontium in milk, and radium isotopes in drinking water. Currently, the development of rapid procedures for radiostrontium analysis in soil and seawater is underway, partly prompted by the interest for high throughput procedures following the analytical burden of laboratories after the Fukushima Daiichi NPP accident.

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