Accident dosimetry


In the aftermath of a severe radiological or nuclear accident, methods allowing a fast reconstruction of the absorbed dose incurred by radiological workers and members of the public are necessary.

Since the majority of the exposed people will not be equipped with standard, accredited dosimeters, other methods for dose estimation are necessary. In such cases objects worn by or in the vicinity of victims that possess a certain sensitivity for ionizing radiation are necessary.

Main activities

Sensitivity of cell phone components

The sensitivity of various cell phone components (glass display, resistors, chip cards) to irradiation, has already been proven by several laboratories, making these devices suitable as accident dosemeters. Understanding and defining the dosimetric properties of chip cards and cell phone components using optically stimulated luminescence is one of the most important activities.

Since research in this field is conducted simultaneously in several laboratories among Europe, collaboration via the Eurados WG10 network is highly supported at SCK•CEN. The Eurados network tries to achieve a common approach for dose assessment and uncertainty estimation through intercomparison exercises.

Applications on smartphones

Since the Fukushima accident, public mistruth in the nuclear industry has grown dramatically together with the urge to know the truth about the consequences of nuclear accidents. Several applications on smartphones using the detection properties for ionizing radiation of the CMOS sensor were developed. For a few euros, it is now possible to turn a smartphone into a radiation detector.

It is important to evaluate the quality and the reliability of measurements performed by such since in case of a large scale accident, the big amount of data measured by the public with smartphones applications could be possibly helpful for the authorities to manage such crisis.


Large scale nuclear accidents affecting the population do not occur very often. Therefore, one of the most important applications in the field of accident dosimetry is preparedness. Dosimetric properties of everyday objects, such as cell phone components and chip cards, must be known in order to propose a protocol suitable for the measurement and assessment of the radiation dose.


  • Assessing the dosimetric properties of chip cards and cell phone components together with the preparation of a protocol to keep the laboratory ready for intervention in case of a mass casualty event.
  • Determining the radiation detection properties of smart phones for active dose rate measurements.


Filip Vanhavere

Cell phone resistors (enlarged) sensitive for radiation and optical stimulation.

Chip extracted from a chip card.