Argonne | Nuclear Engineering Division | IAEA Programs | Training Courses

Training Course on Rapid Assessment Methods for Environmental Radioactivity

4-15 May 2015

Background Information

The course is developed to support the interest expressed by many ALMERA laboratories to develop their rapid assessment capabilities. It is part of the specific support provided to these laboratories, which includes methodological developments, proficiency tests and targeted training. It is the second in a series of courses organised in collaboration with Argonne National Laboratory.


The course addresses the needs of ALMERA network laboratories interested in enhancing their rapid analytical capabilities supporting the assessment of environmental contamination in emergency situations. The purpose of the course is to provide participants with intensive training on selected relevant topics, including: rapid radiochemical laboratory procedure validated by ALMERA laboratories and published by the IAEA; field detection and sampling in case of environmental contamination; quality aspects of sampling and analytical work; data evaluation and management; specific applications of the RESRAD dose assessment codes.

Expected Outputs

The course will enable the participants to learn about state-of-the art methods, which they will apply in their laboratories in situations where a rapid assessment of radionuclides in the environment is required. The course will result in dissemination of these methods and harmonisation amongst ALMERA laboratories.

Scope and Nature

The course will take place over a two-week period, providing lectures, laboratory hands-on practical work and field work. Laboratory safety instruction will be provided in preparation of laboratory work. The training programme includes discussions of the materials presented and a session where the participants will briefly introduce their laboratory, their work and their expectations and goals for the training. Course materials and, where applicable, IAEA documents, will be provided on adequate information support.

Over the two-week period the following topics will be addressed:

  • Rapid determination of Pu isotopes and Am-241 in soil and sediment samples by alpha spectrometry (laboratory exercise);
  • Field detection and sampling in case of environmental contamination (field exercise);
  • Critical response elements in accidental radioactive contamination of the environment;
  • Sample chain of custody, laboratory quality assurance, data quality and data management;
  • Specific applications of the RESRAD dose assessment codes (practical exercise);
  • Evaluation of complex gamma-ray spectra of environmental samples (practical exercise).
A technical visit of selected facilities at the Argonne National Laboratory is included in the programme.