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Detection of internal contaminations

The Anthropogammametry lab of SCK CEN measures internal radioactive contaminations in people, not only on a regular basis for its own employees, but also during routine checks of employees in the nuclear sector. The lab has disposal of extensive infrastructure for this. An incident beyond the site of SCK CEN? You can count on our experts and mobile devices to measure and rapidly evaluate people on the spot.

The laboratory of SCK CEN measures internal contamination directly through a total
body count, by measuring the lungs or a wound or through a thyroid measurement.
Filip Vanhavere
SCK CEN - Antropogammametrie (2019)

Our equipment

  • Five heavily shielded rooms with a low background radiation
  • Two set-ups for a total body count
  • Two set-ups for lung measurements
  • Set-up for wound or thyroid measurements
  • Mobile devices (for WBC and thyroid monitoring)

Accredited measurements

All our measurements have been accredited by the Belgian Accreditation Organisation (BELAC 015-TEST). Furthermore, we regularly take part in international comparison exercises to ensure the quality and validity of our analysis results.

What is the risk?

If you work with open radioactive sources or in a potentially contaminated environment, you run the risk of swallowing, inhaling or absorbing radioactive particles, for instance when contaminated gloves come into contact with the mouth. In this way, particles will enter the lungs and the digestive system and be (partly) absorbed into the blood.

A direct measurement of the body or an organ gives a rapid and easy estimate of the activity present in the body. This enables us, in combination with the results of a stool analysis, to assess the established effective dose for an internal contamination.

If it concerns radionuclides emitting gamma rays, we can detect this on the outside of the body as gamma radiation penetrates skin and tissue. Based on the energy and amount of radiation that is detected, we can establish which and how much radioactive substance has entered the body. In our Anthropogammametry lab, we measure, amongst others, internal contaminations with cesium-137, cobalt-60 or iodine-131.

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