Analyzes of radioactivity in different types of sample material

IFE’s Department for Environmental Safety and Radiation Protection carries out analyzes of radioactive substances in various types of sample materials (environmental samples, foodstuffs and other commercial products) and has laboratories and measuring equipment for the analysis of samples with very small amounts of radioactivity.

The laboratory is one of Norway’s largest in this field and is a qualified member of the IAEA’s ALMERA (Analytical Laboratories for the Measurement of Environmental Radioactivity) network. To be a qualified member here, the laboratory must participate with good results in the ALMERA proficiency tests organized by the IAEA.

The department offers analyzes of anthropogenic and natural radionuclides in many different types of sample material in connection with emission control, environmental monitoring, research projects, as well as on behalf of external customers:

  • Environmental samples (e.g. water, soil, sediments, bedrock, vegetation)
  • Non-nuclear (LRA, produced water etc.) and nuclear waste
  • Industrial products
  • Foodstuffs, drinking water, urine, stool/faeces

The laboratory can carry out analyzes of e.g. 3H, 40K, 55Fe, 60Co, 63Ni, 90Sr, 134Cs, 137Cs, 210Pb, 210Po, 226,228Ra, 234,235,238U, 228,230,232Th, 238,239,240Pu and 241Am.

Plutonium, strontium, thorium, uranium and low concentrations of radium are analyzed by chemical separation and alpha spectrometry or beta counting. The detection limit for these nuclides is in the order of millibecquerel (mBq) per sample or lower.

For 55Fe and 63Ni, the detection limit can vary somewhat depending on the amount of material analyzed, but is usually around 5 Bq per sample.

For gamma-emitting nuclides, the extent of the sample treatment will vary with the shape of the sample and the desired detection limit. The detection limit will typically be around 1 Bq per kilogram (kg) and can be improved by longer counting time or concentration of analyte before counting.

Contact the laboratory by email