Radiochemical Measurement

What is radiochemical measurement?

Services

Other radiochemical measurements

Charges

Contact us

The EPA provides a radiochemical measurement service to analyse the radioactivity in foodstuffs, drinking water and sealed sources of radiation.

What is radiochemical measurement? 

Radiochemical measurement is the measurement of the radioactivity of a material. Radiochemical testing is carried out at the EPA’s radio-analytical laboratory. We test a broad range of samples on behalf of the Government, food producers, industry and the public. 

This laboratory is a vital link in the Irish food safety chain as it is the official national laboratory for testing of radioactivity in foodstuffs and environmental materials. 

Why would radiochemical measurement be required? 

Radiochemical testing ensures that the food and water we consume and the sources of ionising radiation we work with are all within the limits determined by Irish and international law. 

What sort of samples are analysed? 

Radiochemical testing is commonly carried out on foodstuffs, drinking water and sealed sources of radiation. Sealed sources are commonly used to deliver a defined dose of radiation, such as that used in cancer therapy or to sterilise food and medical equipment and can be used in industry to check welds on pipelines or in level gauges. 

Services

The radiochemical measurement services provided by the EPA are: 

  • Product certification 
  • Analysis of sealed sources for leakage (wipe tests)  
  • Radon in water test 
  • Total alpha and total beta and tritium testing of drinking water

Product certification 

The EPA issues certificates to show the radioactivity content of Irish foodstuffs and other produce. Some importing countries may request certificates to show that the radioactivity content is below specific requirements. Any producer of food or drinks products for export may require a product certificate from the EPA, officially called a Certificate of Radioactivity Measurement. 

You can find more information on product certification in our Product Certification Services page. 

Product Certification Terms and Conditions are also available. 

Analysis of sealed source for leakage (wipe tests) 

A wipe test is carried out to check the integrity of a sealed source of ionising radiation.  Sealed sources are commonly used to deliver a defined dose of radiation, such as that used in cancer therapy or to sterilise food and medical equipment and can be used in industry to check welds on pipelines or in level gauges. 

Sealed radioactive sources can suffer as a result of mechanical damage or corrosion of the container. Licensees holding sealed sources are required to have them wipe tested every two years, to ensure that they are within the specified 200 becquerel (Bq) limit. The EPA can provide analysis of a wipe test carried out on a sealed source by your trained personnel. We can also provide information on how to conduct the wipe test and how to package it for analysis in our laboratory. 

Radon in water test 

You can be exposed to radioactive radon through drinking water that contains elevated levels of dissolved radon and through inhaling the gas as it is released from the water. The Reference Value for radon in Irish drinking water is 500 Bq/l. 

If you use water from a well or private groundwater supply, you can have your drinking water measured for radon. You should complete our Radon In Water Application Form and return it to us. We will then send you sample containers to collect water and instructions on how to fill the bottles. 

Contact us if you cannot find answers to your questions on our website or call our radon freephone 1800 300 600 to arrange a measurement. 

Further information about radon testing can be found here.

Total alpha and total beta and tritium testing of drinking water 

The EPA can carry out the measurement of other radioactivity concentrations in drinking water, i.e. gross alpha and beta activity. The recommended screening levels for gross alpha and gross beta activity are 100 milli-becquerel per litre (mBq/l) and 1000 milli-becquerel per litre (mBq/l) respectively. 

If the radioactivity concentrations of the water tested are below these screening levels, then the water supply complies with the Euratom Drinking Water Directive (2013/51/EURATOM). It is considered acceptable for human consumption and no action is required. 

If the radioactivity concentrations exceed these screening levels then individual radionuclide concentrations should be determined and, if necessary, the dose arising from each component calculated. The EPA will give advice on any further analysis required. 

A one-litre water sample is required for these analyses. 

 

Other radiochemical measurements 

The EPA radio-analytical laboratory is equipped for: 

  • Gamma spectrometry 
  • Alpha spectrometry 
  • Liquid scintillation counting 
  • Total alpha/beta determination 

Please contact us if you would like to have any of these measurements carried out

Charges

Current product certification charges are provided below

DescriptionUnit PriceUnit Price Inc VAT 23% (€)
Gamma Spectroscopy (Standard1) 162.00 199.26
Gamma Spectroscopy (Complex2) 302.00 371.46
Determine Gross Alpha Beta Activity 160.00 196.80
Determine Radon in Drink Water 65.00 79.95
Determine Polonium-210 324.00 398.52
Determine Tritium 60.00 73.80
Wipe Test 40.00 49.20
Issue of Product Certification3 (VAT not applicable) 59.00 N/A
  • Caesium-134 and caesium-137.
  • Other gamma-emitting radionuclides.
  • Changes to previously issued certificates are charged at the same rate.

 

Contact us

If you have any general or technical queries about radiochemical analysis that are not answered on our website, please do not hesitate to contact us

Address

Radiation Monitoring Laboratory

EPA Office of Radiation Protection and Environmental Monitoring  

McCumiskey House  

Richview  

Clonskeagh Road  

Dublin 14  

D14 YR62  

Telephone (01) 268 0100  
Opening Hours 9.00am to 5.00pm