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The Environmental Radioactivity Group (ERG) combines its research activity focus on the biogeochemical cycles of the natural and artificial radionuclides in the environment, namely in the atmospheric, aquatic and terrestrial ways with the execution of the annual environmental radioactivity monitoring programmes and the services to the community (analyses of indoor radon, analyses of radioactivity in drinking waters, etc).

Aerosols Station (HiVol 3000) for atmospheric radioactivity monitoring (58 kb, jpg).
Aerosols Station (HiVol 3000) for atmospheric radioactivity monitoring.

1. Main Activities

  • The execution of three annual Environmental Radioactivity Monitoring programmes: at National Level, on the CTN (Sacavém) and on the Regions Surrounding the Old Uranium Mines, to ensure the compliance with the Decree-Law 138/2005 of 17th August. The main goals of these programmes are:
      a) To determine the activity concentrations of natural and artificial radionuclides in the environment (aerosols, rain water, surface water, drinking water, sediments, biological material, foodstuff, soils, etc.) in order to limit the population exposure to the ionizing radiations;
      b) To verify if these values are according to the national legislation (ex. Decree-Law nº306/2007 of 27th August) and to the European Commission Directives and International Treaties (ex. Articles 35 and 36 of EURATOM Treaty).
  • To realize radioactivity trials based on normalized methods or methods developed and validated by the GRA, according to the requirements described on the guidelines NP EN ISO/IEC 17025, in the framework of the Quality System;
  • To participate periodically in interlaboratory comparison exercises organized by international organizations (IAEA, EC, CSN, WHO, etc.);
  • To ensure the operation of the Radionuclide Particulate Station (RN53) at S. Miguel (Azores) in the framework of the CTBT (Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty);
  • To participate in technical/scientific committees organized by the International Agency of Atomic Energy (IAEA) and European Commission (EC);
  • To participate in education and training (lectures, training courses, masters, theses supervision, etc).

Running projects:

  • Biomass burning and emissions of atmospheric pollutants (BIOEMI). PTDC/AMB/65706/2006. CTN Coordinator F.P. Carvalho.
  • Participation in the education web based project CAPTAR (Web site: in the field of environmental sciences. CTN Coordinator F.P. Carvalho.
  • Total column and surface ozone variability over the Iberian Peninsula: Dynamical and Chemical atmospheric factors – DYNOZONE. PTDC/CTE -ATM/105507/2008. CTN Coordinator M. Reis.

2. Technical Services

Measurements of indoor radon (13 kb, jpg).
  • Determination of indoor radon concentrations in public buildings and workplaces (Decree-Law 78/2006 of 4th April; NT-SCE-02, October 2009) and private houses. This service is also provided in the framework of the protocol established between CTN and Deco-Associação Portuguesa de Defesa do Consumidor.

Besides this, the ERG in collaboration with the Measurements Laboratories (LM) provide the following services:

  • Determination of the global alpha, global beta and tritium activity concentrations in drinking waters (Decree-Law nº306/2007 of 27th August), mineral waters, etc.;
  • Determination of radon and 226Ra activity concentrations in waters by liquid scintillation counting;
  • Determination of the radionuclides activity concentrations of the uranium (ex. 238U, 226Ra, 210Pb, 210Po) and thorium (232Th) radioactive series in waters by alpha spectrometry;
  • Determination of the natural (ex. 238U, 226Ra, 210Pb, 210Po) and artificial radionuclides (90Sr) activity concentrations in foodstuff by alpha spectrometry and liquid scintillation counting, respectively.

These services are available to all the citizens in general, public and private institutions or other entities.

Further information:

2. Equipment and Infrastructures

Laboratory of Tritium  (50 kb, jpg).
  • Laboratory of Artificial Radionuclides in Waters (LRAA);
  • Laboratory of Tritium (LT);
  • Laboratory of Natural and Artificial Radionuclides in Foodstuff (LRNAA);
  • Laboratory of Natural Radionuclides in Waters (LRNA);
  • Laboratory for Handling Radioactive Sources (LMFR);
  • Laboratory of Atmospheric Radionuclides (LRA);
  • 2 Laboratories of Radionuclides Alpha Emitters (LREA);
  • 2 Laboratories of Experimental Radioecology;
  • 2 Laboratories for preparation of samples.

Laboratory of Tritium.

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