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The servers are within the JRC internal firewall. They are centrally managed and adhere to all JRC security guidelines and policies.

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Automatic backups occur on the server. First samples are collected and radioactivity levels are measured by the MSs in specialized and accredited laboratories; once measurements are processed they are made available to the National Contact Points and submitted into REMdb by using a tool called REM Data Submission Tool; submitted data are checked by JRC, shown back to those who have submitted them and validated.

Finally, after validation, data are processed for the creation of a yearly monitoring report and made freely available to the public.

Environmental Radiation Monitoring Systems (ERMS) - Bertin Instruments

Once the data are gathered from the MSs, the database is conceived as a series of data records, each one containing a single measurement of a single radionuclide on a single sample, and does not include summary statistics, which have to be created ex post. At present, the total number of data records stored in REMdb exceeds 5 million. It is clear that the Chernobyl accident generated a peak in the number of measurements and created consciousness about the importance of monitoring radioactivity. Additionally, the increase in data observed from to is also associated with Chernobyl, due to the compilation of contamination data from countries or regions in Europe resulting from the radioactive material released during the accident.

The yearly evolution of measurements stored in REMdb is also influenced, as one can expect, by the number of countries which joined REMdb since its creation. Slovenia marked in orange joined in ; Slovakia, and Romania marked in yellow joined in ; Cyprus marked in light green joined in and Malta marked in dark green in REMdb contains a large and representative number of measurements for each MS, in spite of a large range of variability in the number of measurements from country to country.

Submitted data quality control is a duty of the laboratories which have to use defined procedures for tests and calibration including sampling technique. The laboratories have to participate in periodical inter-comparison tests for the specific matrix and measurement methods. Data providers and the MSs' competent authorities are responsible for their submitted data. The value of a database system is dependent on the quality of primary data, the organization and reliability of the data entry and verification systems, and the accessibility of data.

It has to be noted that continuous maintenance and frequent updates of the database are also important issues confronted on the practical end. As part of JRC control procedures, all data entered into the database are internally reviewed, shown back to the MSs as they would appear in REMdb and checked once more. By doing this, spurious or incomplete datasets are avoided before making them available to all users. Further controlled and documented releases of summarized data are timetabled such that values are not changing on a regular basis.

Measurements carried out by the MSs can be very different from each other, as they can be referred to different sample types water, air, food, soil, etc.

Anthropogenic Radionuclides in the Estuarine Environment Near a Boiling Water Nuclear Reactor

REMdb streamlines the various formats adopted in the EU for reporting routine environmental measurements. In order to bring some harmony and classify the information, some standard sample categories or types are defined and some minimum requirements of the information collected in REMdb are set. Table 1 indicates the information requested in order to be stored as a record in REMdb; not all fields are mandatory. There are three main blocks of information locations, samples and measurements , which mainly refer to source of data and information necessary to describe the procedures for sample collection, treatment, analysis and measurement as performed by the original laboratories Nweke et al.

This field is often left empty and no measurements are provided even if they were carried out because they were considered too low to be worth being reported. A detailed classification of sample types or sample categories in REMdb can be found in De Cort et al. Within this classification, it is necessary to highlight that sample types can also have subtypes, for example, water samples are subdivided into surface water samples and drinking water samples.

This figure shows how most sample types have more than a hundred records. One can observe that the largest category is airborne particulate with more than 10 6 measurements, while a considerable number of records are also available for the freshwater ecosystem surface water and drinking water. In a similar way, some nuclides were of more concern soon after the accident and gradually lost importance due to their short life e.

Lozano et al. This fact is associated with the number of monitoring stations deployed in each country reporting high-quality measurements to REMdb. In Europe, different approaches to the definition of the national environmental monitoring networks have been adopted, based on socio-economic considerations about where to install monitoring stations. The sparse network is included in the dense network, being a subset of it. There is no distinction between the structures of data stored in REMdb as a dense or sparse network: both kinds of data comply with the same requirements. While dense network refers to a monitoring network that comprises sampling locations distributed throughout the member state's territory and used by the commission to compute regional averages for radioactivity levels in the community, sparse network groups those locations in which high-sensitivity measurements are performed.

A sparse monitoring network therefore means a monitoring network which comprises at least one representative location of that geographical division for every geographical division and for every sampling medium.


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These radionuclides are therefore measured and reported thoroughly by the MSs, as can be seen in Fig. All the measured radionuclides except 90 Sr and Cs can be of either natural or artificial origin. The two exceptions are of artificial origin, mainly from past atmospheric weapons testing and from radioactive routine or accidental discharges from nuclear facilities.

Analysis of Environmental Radionuclides, Volume 11

Gross alpha and gross beta measurements are appropriate to characterize the total radioactivity of the sample. Gross beta is, by definition, the total measured beta activity in a sample; beta from tritium and in general very low energy beta emitters are normally not considered and short lived radon daughters are excluded through a sufficient delay time e.

Gross beta activity results are always dependent on the instrument used and even if some instruments can measure low-energy beta particles, gross beta analysis does not detect weak beta emitters such as 3 H , 14 C , 35 S and I. Residual beta is the measured gross beta activity minus 40 K activity, the latter being the main natural source of activity in water. Following the contamination of the environment with radionuclides, the population is exposed through both external and internal irradiation pathways. From a radioecological point of view, the behaviour of radionuclides in the environment and the interaction uptake, excretion with food organisms plants, fungi, animals is essential for the prediction of future internal exposure due to intake of contaminated foods e.

Merz et al. Airborne particulate is measured due to its greater radiological significance. Airborne radioactive materials may occur in either gaseous or particulate form. In general, the latter is of greater potential radiological significance because it may be deposited and hence remain in the local environment. For instance, regarding emissions from Fukushima, Cs was attached in the size range of 0. Consequently, most national routine monitoring networks measure only the particulate component.

Airborne particulate sampling is carried out by pumping air through filters. In most countries filters are changed daily and analysed for total beta activity following the decay of radon decay products.

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Individual radionuclide analyses are performed weekly, monthly or quarterly. Artificial alpha-emitting aerosols are rarely measured by routine monitoring networks as they are usually undetectable, even close to the nuclear installations where they are produced. As a consequence, 7 Be is widely used as an aerosol tracer in order to study aerosol transport and removal in the troposphere by testing scavenging parametrizations e.

The presence of artificial radionuclides in aquatic environment results from global fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons tests, fallout from the Chernobyl accident, discharges of radionuclides from nuclear installations, contributions from nuclear testing sites, past dumping of radioactive wastes, nuclear submarine accidents, loss of radioactive sources, applications of radionuclides in medicine and industry, and the burn-up of satellites using radionuclides as their power source Livingston and Povinec, They pose a number of health hazards, especially when these radionuclides are deposited in the human body through drinking, and can eventually become incorporated into sediments and living species.


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  • Due to human activities, the fraction of 3 H and the presence of Cs have to be checked in this sampling media. Natural radionuclides in river water include 3 H at levels of [0. Aarkrog et al. Surface water is one of the compartments into which authorized discharges of radioactive effluents from nuclear installations are made and hence mostly rivers, but also sea water very close to the facilities radionuclides in this sampling media can be found either in the water phase or associated with suspended particles and sediments.

    For instance, the Chernobyl accident in contributed significantly mainly to Cs and Cs inventories in seawater of the Baltic and North seas, resulting in the Baltic Sea being the most highly contaminated by Cs e. Nies and Nielsen, Povinec et al. Either samples are taken continuously and bulked for monthly or quarterly analysis or alternatively spot samples are taken periodically several times a year and analysed individually or as a composite.

    Drinking water, however, is monitored because of its vital importance for humans, even though a severe radioactive contamination of this medium is unlikely. Samples may be taken from ground or surface water supplies, from water distribution networks, mineral waters, etc. Spot samples are taken a few times a year and analysed individually, or samples are taken daily and bulked for monthly or quarterly analysis.

    The number of measurements included in REMdb for this sampling media is shown in Fig. Same as for surface water, the most important natural radionuclides in drinking water are 3 H , 40 K , radium, radon and their short-lived decay products, but they vary greatly.

    Behaviour of radionucides in the terrestrial environment | Welcome to the Radioecology Exchange

    While eventual presence of 3 H may or may not be due to human activities, 90 Sr and Cs can only be a consequence of anthropogenic activities. For many contamination scenarios, especially for accidentally released radionuclides, consumption of milk and dairy products has been shown to be one of the most important pathways of radiation for the public UNSCEAR, Samples are mostly taken at dairies covering large geographical areas in order to obtain representative samples.

    They are generally taken on a monthly basis, but sometimes only during the pasture season. Generally, the concentrations of the stable elements calcium Ca and potassium K are determined because of the similarity of their metabolic behaviour with strontium Sr and caesium Cs respectively. Samples are taken as ingredients or as complete meals, mostly at places where many meals are consumed i. The trend is to sample complete meals according to food consumption statistics to give a representative figure for the contamination of mixed diet; it's also very common to analyse single foodstuffs and combine them according to local diet style.

    Knowledge of the contamination of the individual ingredients together with the composition of the national diet can also lead to a representative figure. Generally, the concentrations of the stable isotopes of calcium and potassium are determined because of the similarity of their metabolic behaviour to strontium and caesium respectively. Typical values in mixed diet are 0. Before a dataset may be published, the corresponding monitoring report must be issued first. At the time this paper is being prepared, monitoring reports up to the year were published; therefore it is possible to release datasets up to People are invited to check our data catalogue for updates.

    Datasets can be downloaded singularly as Excel files and zipped due to their dimension year by year from to by following subsequent PIDs or as a whole:. Dataset size can be up to 35 MB and contain up to lines, each line representing a single record or measurement.