Emergency Preparedness and Radiation Monitoring
The emergency preparedness and radiation monitoring is a mandatory requirement to uphold the safe use of radioactive material. SLAEB operates as the leading technical and scientific authority to assist responding any radiation hazard in the country. Also, upgrading and maintaining the baseline radioactivity data of the country is done by the RPTS.
Nuclear Disaster Early Warning System
Even though Sri Lanka does not have any nuclear facility, neighboring countries such as India and Pakistan maintains a number of operational nuclear power plants (NPPs). NPPs are extremely safe in normal operational conditions and virtually emission free. However, in an unlikely emergency event like an accident, small radioactive particles and fuel fragments can be released into the atmosphere. Such cases have been experienced in Chernobyl NPP accident (Russian Federation, 1986) and Fukushima-Daiichi NPP accident (Japan, 2011). These released particles can be blown into the country with wind and fall onto the earth with rain.
These falling-out radioactive particles can create radioactive contaminated areas, elevating the background radiation level. Such an area is known as a “hot spot”. It is important to immediately identify the occurrence of such cases to take remedial actions, ensuring the safety of people and environment.
This identification is being done through continuous measurements of the natural background radiation level using a network of high-sensitive area monitoring probes. This system is known as the “National Nuclear Disaster Early Warning System” and in operation from 2012. It has been established as a joint venture of SLAEB with Sri Lanka Navy and Disaster Management Center.
The system is equipped with 08 fully automated remote detector stations and is being expanded continuously. Periodic data collected by the stations are sent to the central server/alarm station at the SLAEB headquarters. The system also functions as a long-term radiation monitoring network around the country.
The maintenance, alarm assessment and monitoring of the National Nuclear Disaster Early Warning System (NDEWS) is performed by the RPTS.
Technical Assistance and HR Development for an Event of a Radiation Accident
RPTS operates as the leading technical assistance provider in a case of a radiation accident. Radiation accidents can occur in a radiation facility by an unexpected event such as fire, flooding or misuse of material. SLAEB provides services to assess the effects of a radiation or nuclear emergency ensuring the safety of public, environment and the security of the radioactive material.
Training of emergency response and assessing teams for In-situ gamma spectroscopy, contamination monitoring and dosimetry is also being done by RPTS.
Baseline Environmental Monitoring Programme
As mentioned in the Nuclear Disaster Early Warning System section, SLAEB holds the responsibility of performing environmental measurements after a nuclear/radiation disaster and identify any contaminated areas with elevated radiation level. In order to perform this evaluation, the existing natural radiation level should be known. This natural radiation data serve as the reference/baseline of the radiation level in that respective area. Therefore, RPTS conducts baseline environmental monitoring programs for,
- Gamma dose and activity in Soil, Air, Water and Flora
- Radon monitoring in Soil, Air and Water
Services on Radiation Measurements
RPTS provide services to assess environmental radiation levels using In-situ Gamma spectroscopy, Radon monitoring and ambient dose rate measurements. These measurements can be used for evaluate the radiation dose received by residents or workers in a house, facility. Description of each measurement are as follows,
- Ambient dose rate measurements: Ambient dose rate measurements are performed to assess the radiation exposure and background dose levels.
- In-situ Gamma Spectroscopy: Gamma spectrometry can be used to detect radioisotopes and their concentration in environment. This is especially important for identifying contamination and dose assessment.
- Radon monitoring: Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas emerging from soil or other mineral material. It is produced in decaying of natural Radium, which is abundant in natural environment. Radon is one of the most influential factors recognized for causing lung cancers (first factor is smoking). Radon is accumulated in enclosed spaces such as closed houses, dungeons, mines and basements.
All the measurements are performed with calibrated instruments as per ISO standards.
Certification of Performance
Services are also provided by the RPTS to provide certificates of verification of performance for shielding material (leaded doors, leaded glasses).