Unit of Radiological Protection and Safety
The Laboratory of Radiological Protection and Safety (LRPS) is the only scientific department in the country with technical capability, experience and know-how in radiological protection. The department ensures the monitoring of radioactive contamination in food and environment, the monitoring of radioactivity in the uranium mining regions, the dosimetry of workers professionally exposed to radiation and radioisotopes, and the safety control of facilities, radiation emitting equipment and radioactive sources.
Quality Management System
It was implemented a Quality Management System (QMS) based on the Portuguese Standard NP EN ISO/IEC 17025. See more information.
This laboratory inherits the legacy and experience of the Department of Radiological Protection created in 1964 in the Nuclear Energy Commission and, later, successively transferred to the National Laboratory of Engineering and Industrial Technology and the Ministry of the Environment.
According to the Decree 311/98, its mandate includes:
- To carry out scientific research and training in the areas of radiological protection and nuclear safety;
- To carry out radiological risk assessment for workers and populations, as well as to the environment, of facilities or activities which may cause radioactive contamination or discharge of artificial radioisotopes or alteration of the concentration of naturally occurring radionuclides;
- To carry out the safety assessment of nuclear facilities and nuclear equipments;
- To propose corrective measures to protect workers as well as the population of exposure to ionising radiation;
- To assess and to check safety transport of nuclear fuel, fresh or irradiated, and radioactive waste from nuclear facilities;
- To follow up the installation and operation of nuclear facilities built outside the country but that might affect the environment and population in the national territory;
- To ensure the implementation of radioecological monitoring and environmental surveillance actions;
- To perform radioecological impact assessment studies;
- To collect, pack and properly ensure the temporary storage of solid radioactive waste originated in the country;
- To ensure the metrology of ionizing radiation and calibration of instruments and measurement devices.
1. Research Activity Groups
Comprises the following research groups:
- 1.1. Dosimetry and Radiobiology
- 1.2. Environmental Radioactivity
- 1.3. Radioprotection and Radioactive Waste
- 1.4. Laboratories of Measures
- 1.6. Metrology Laboratory of Ionising Radiation
2. Technical Services
Provides to the country a wide variety of technical services to the community. These services are often performed under contract with companies, following the request of other Institutes or Government organizations, and in support to emergency action of Fire Brigades, Civil Protection and Customs. Some of the more frequently asked services are:
- radioactivity analysis of water samples;
- radioactivity analysis of goods and foodstuffs to export;
- analysis of scrap-iron and junk commercialized abroad for recycle;
- dosimetry of radiation workers of hospitals, clinics, industry, etc;
- calibration of equipment used in medicine or industry to measure radiation;
- measurement of radon in indoor atmosphere;
- safety assessment of facilities and equipment producing or using radiation;
- specialized medical control of radiation workers;
- training of personnel in radiological protection.
All citizens, companies, laboratories, ecological associations and any other kind of organization may request the technical support of the URPS.
- Visit each research activity group indicated above for specialized offers.
Here you may find some examples of the LRPS actions:
- Extensive monitoring and screening of foodstuffs following the radioactive contamination caused by the Chernobyl nuclear accident. This action allowed for ensuring that all the foodstuffs available in the market could be safely consumed.
- Periodic monitoring of the Iberian international rivers and of the atmosphere to detect any accidental radioactivity release from nuclear power plants across the border.
- Following the generalized public concerns originated by dumping of radioactive wastes in the North-east Atlantic, the Unit carried out thorough studies and concluded that there is no meaningful radioactive contamination of seafood and of the marine environment in Portuguese waters.
- The increasing use of radiation and isotopes in medicine and industry reflects on a growing number of workers potentially exposed to radiation. The Unit currently ensures the dosimetry control of more than 8500 radiation workers.