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„It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature.“ (Niels Bohr: „Atomic Theory and the Description of Nature“, 1931)

Sampling, field works

IAF has significant technical and human resources for field work, sampling and in-situ measurements, in order to help our clients solve radiation-related problems at their sites, for example:

Continued professional training and development of our staff in the fields of radiological protection, health and safety, and the provision of state-of-the-art personal protective (PPE) guarantee compliance with highest safety standards. IAF is licensed under Art. 15 of the German Radiation Protection Ordinance (StrlSchV, English and German) to carry out works in external facilities of third parties. If required, we can provide trained and certified H&S Co-Ordinators for fieldworks.

Measurements on radiological legacy sites, at workplaces, clearance and release measurements

We support our clients at their sites deploying highly qualified experts with the best-suited equipment to site investigation, measurement and monitoring campaigns. Typical examples include the following:

  • Radiological site investigation and characterisation
  • Preparation of radiological expert statements for real estate properties, including an assessment of the radon risk of existing buildings and newbuilds, recommendations on „radon-proof“ construction
  • Monitoring and radiological measurements prior, during and after remediation works at mining, processing and waste management sites (uranium, thorium and other minerals, NORM industries), on-site radiological surveillance of demolition, construction and remediation activities, final measurements to confirm remediation success
  • Radiological workplace assessment
  • Investigation and assessment of facilities, plants and industrial sites with regard to radioactive contamination
  • Dust collection (active, passive) and radiological analysis of dust samples (e.g., long-lived alpha emitters)

IAF is known for its unique, seamless end-to-end workflow from sampling and fieldwork to radionuclide laboratory analysis to interpretation and detailed feedback on the results to our client. This way, we understand the technological processes at our clients’ sites and can provide precise advice on sampling strategies, prevention and mitigation measures. Over many years we have won the trust of our clients – by giving fair, professional and impartial advice, supported by in-house radionuclide analytics of highest quality.

Workplace and environmental monitoring programs

IAF plans and implements workplace and environmental monitoring programs. We take care of logistical details, equipment selection and installation, sampling and analysis, assessment of the results, interpretation and consulting regarding dose reduction where necessary. Depending on client-specific needs and circumstances, monitoring programs may include the following:

Ambient gamma dose rate

  • Measurement and radiological characterisation of dust and long-lived alpha emitters
  • Radon and progeny (and thoron if required)
  • Activity concentration in discharges, production water and other material flows and stocks
  • Specific activity of raw materials, intermediate and final products as well as residues and wastes

If non-radiological parameters must be included (e.g., mercury in oil/gas production for waste acceptance declaration procedures, heavy metals and others), we collaborate closely with laboratories that are accredited for these parameters in accordance with the ISO 17025 standard.

Decommissioning of nuclear facilities, nuclear medicine and research facilities, and radiological laboratories

IAF assists clients in planning, implementation and supervision of sampling and analytical programs, including the planning of PPE and medical check-ups for necessary Permissions To Work. Our significant experience covers a wide range, for example:

  • Nuclear medicine facilities
  • Research facilities and laboratories that have dealt with radioactive substances
  • Nuclear power plants
  • Mining and processing facilities for uranium and thorium.

IAF is licensed under Art. 15 of the German Radiation Protection Ordinance (StrlSchV) to work in external/third party facilities and employs trained radiation technicians (including medical check-ups of workers‘ respiratory fitness).

NORM industries

For more than two decades, IAF has supported clients in various NORM industries (for example, see Annexes XI and XII of the German Radiation Protection Ordinance (StrlSchV, English and German) or Annex VI of the EU-Basic Safety Standard 2013/59/Euratom), including the following:

  • Oil/gas production and transportation
  • Mining and mineral processing
  • Resource industries, metallurgy, smelters
  • Coal-fired power plants
  • Recycling of scrap and other secondary resources (e.g., mercury recovery from oil/gas residues).

Our unique advantage lies in the seamless, end-to-end workflow from sampling, on-site measurements and documentation by highly trained fieldwork personnel through to problem-specific analysis of samples, scientific interpretation and bespoke advice and feedback to our clients. The IAF approach not only helps avoid misunderstandings but pays off in subsequent phases such as the preparation of permit application (e.g., for the disposal of wastes) and interaction with regulators.

Examples of on-site services include the change of filter cartridges, accompanying dust measurements and sampling of filter dusts at industrial air filter (e.g., smelters, coal-fired power plants) and natural gas transportation (compressor and filter stations), preparation and supervision of transportation under ADR class 7 of NORM residues, or the contamination clearance measurement prior to release of materials from regulatory control after sorting/cleaning.

High-efficiency clearance/release measurements of scrap and other potentially contaminated materials

In order to release large amounts of scrap and other potentially contaminated materials from regulatory control, checking each piece would be very time-consuming and inefficient, without providing adequate gain of information. Therefore, IAF in collaboration with German uranium miner Wismut have developed a highly efficient method to screen large amounts of scrap for compliance with clearance and release criteria. The method that is accepted by the regulatory authorities combines statistically optimised field measurements with laboratory-based quality control. In particular, the method avoids typical errors resulting from Pb-210 and Po-210 that cannot be detected by gamma detectors.

The method has been successfully applied to the clearance and release of more than 70% of the scrap arising from decommissioning Wismut’s uranium mining large legacy sites in Saxony and Thuringia (Eastern Germany). A summary of the method can be downloaded here. It must be emphasised that this method requires site-specific adaptation; there are no off-the-shelve „recipe book“ solutions. Please contact us for further information.

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