Ionizing Radiation - strategic overview

BIPM work programme - Ionizing Radiation Metrology

Ensuring the safety of patients and radiation workers, and protecting the environment world-wide



Ionizing radiation has many applications in healthcare and industry but exposure to ionizing radiation is also a health risk. Accurate metrology ensures that ionizing radiation can be controlled and used in a way that does not put patients, radiation workers, the general public or the environment at risk.


The aim of our work is to maintain and develop services for comparing primary measurement standards for radiation dosimetry and the measurement of radioactivity. These centralized international services enable metrology institutes to demonstrate the accuracy of their primary standards easily and efficiently. Calibration services are also available for radiation dosimetry.

The work in radiation dosimetry is focused on low- and medium-energy x-rays, gamma rays and high-energy photons. The services use specialist instrumentation, developed in-house; external facilities are used to produce the radiation beams where necessary. In radionuclide metrology, the emphasis is also on high-precision instrumentation for comparing standards.

Development and continuous improvement of the instrumentation and the analysis of results is a theme of the work, adopting new technologies and new approaches to data management.


Strategic overview

  • Provide the high-precision / high accuracy services that enable metrology institutes to compare or calibrate national standards that underpin global metrology for healthcare and radiation protection dosimetry, with an increased emphasis on supporting emerging metrology institutes and dosimetry for new treatment modalities such as radionuclide therapy.
    • To expand the use of the comparison and calibration dosimetry services for low-, medium- and high-energy photons and for brachytherapy, particularly for emerging metrology institutes.
    • To coordinate comparison services for NMIs in the emerging field of dosimetry for radionuclide therapy.
  • Work with the CCRI and the RMOs to develop new services to demonstrate the equivalence of standards of new radionuclides for nuclear medicine and difficult-to-measure radionuclides. For existing services, the focus is on improving operational efficiency.
    • To develop new high-precision comparison services to cover difficult-to measure radionuclides such as electron capture radionuclides and radionuclides in complex decay chains, designing new instrumentation where existing instruments are not suitable.
    • To work with Regional Metrology Organizations to introduce regional implementations of the SIRTI and exploit recent developments in portable TDCR, to provide a regional network of instruments to ensure comparability of radioactivity standards.
  • Work with stakeholders including other international organizations and RMOs to provide capacity building / knowledge transfer opportunities, particularly for countries and economies with emerging metrology systems.
    • To expand the service for coordinating / co-piloting comparison exercises, particularly for developing institutes and where access to major external facilities is needed (for example proton therapy, mass spectrometry, quantitative imaging).
  • To work with stakeholders (such as the IAEA and the RMOs) to develop a comprehensive capacity building / knowledge transfer programme for ionizing radiation metrologists.
  • To continue the programme of secondments including the use of part-time virtual secondments.


Ionizing Radiation - service BUTTONS

Ionizing Radiation - link department

work programme FOOTNOTE

For more details please see:

BIPM strategic plan