Nuclear calibrations

The Laboratory for Nuclear Calibrations (LNK) of the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK•CEN) is the designated metrology laboratory in Belgium for the ionizing radiations, sub-field of dosimetry, and is performing secondary standard calibrations and irradiations with ionizing radiations following the requirements of the ISO 17025 quality assurance standard.  

LNK is member of the Belgian Metrology Network (BELMET) since 2012. In 2013 it became member of EURAMET. LNK is also member of the IAEA/WHO Network of Secondary Standards Dosimetry Laboratories (SSDL Network).

Our offer

LNK performs calibrations of a wide range of dosimetry equipment, from personal dosemeters to radiotherapy ionization chambers.  

The laboratory has several radioactive sources that provide g-rays (137Cs and 60Co), X-rays up to 320 kV, neutrons (252Cf and Am-Be) and also β-particles. These sources can also be used when very precise dose/dose rate irradiations are needed for research purposes.

The laboratory is accredited by the Belgian Accreditation Organization (BELAC) for most of calibration/irradiation methods (see the detailed ISO-17025 accreditation scope of LNK in the field of ionizing radiation on the website of BELAC). The calibration of all radioactive sources of LNK is traceable to primary standards by means of secondary standard instruments (NE2571 and NE2575 ionization chambers, Studsvik 2202D neutron monitor, golden Siemens EPD’s).

LNK provides services to other SCK•CEN research groups and to external customers like the nuclear power plants, research facilities, radiotherapy departments at hospitals, industry …

Calibrations are preferably performed when an appointment is made in advance. All equipment needs to be at our disposal for about 1 week.

Applications

The activities of LNK may be related to following examples of applications:

  • Radiation protection in all nuclear installations including research centers, power plants and hospitals.
  • Reference dosimetry in the radiotherapy departments of the hospitals for all beam qualities (e.g. 60Co, MeV photons, electrons, proton or 12C beams).
  • Irradiation of biological samples for studies related to cancer treatment (radiobiology) or environment protection ( radioecology).
  • Tests of new types of dosimeters and radiation detectors.
  • Dosimetry measurements in space and on the International Space Station (ISS).
  • Material testing.
  • Characterization of radiation detectors used for safeguards and non-proliferation measurements.

Our equipment

The irradiation setups of LNK consist of (reference date 2013-10-01):

  • 2 252Cf sources  and 1 Am-Be source as neutron sources with ambient dose rate equivalent up to 1.1 mSv/h for 252Cf and 0.3 mSv/h for Am-Be, respectively (ISO 8529);
  • 1 60Co and 1 137Cs sources placed in a panoramic setup with possibility of simultaneous irradiation of multiple dosemeters  and Kair up to 33 mGy/h  for 60Co and 360 mGy/h for 137Cs;
  • 3 60Co and 3 137Cs sources placed in a collimated horizontal set-up with 20o beam opening  and Kair up to 1.5 mGy/h  for 60Co and 14.1 mGy/h for 137Cs (ISO 4037);
  • 1 60Co source placed in a collimated vertical setup with 20o beam opening  and Kair up to 1.1 Gy/h;
  • A dual tube X-ray generator with energy up to 320 kV;
  • An Siemens EPD irradiator containing 241Am and 36Cl sources;
  • A Theratron 780 radiotherapy unit (installed on the site of Univ. Gent) containing a 60Co source for calibration of radiotherapy  ionization chambers in terms of Kair and absorbed dose to water Dw with a 20.5 Gy/h at 100 cm in a 10 X 10 cm field (TRS-398 protocol).

The horizontal set-up with 2 sources of 60Co and 3 sources of 137Cs.
The X-ray generator of LNK with a automatic filter wheel. The panoramic set-up allows simultaneous irradiation of many dosemeters in a 2π geometry.

Contact

Cristian Mihailescu, Vanhavere Filip, nuclearcalibrations@sckcen.be