Measurements in the environment and laboratories: radiation measurement data from 2023

The Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) provides companies and private citizens, among others, with various radiation-related measurement, calibration and expert services. Some of the measurement data is obtained via an automatic monitoring network, and some are analyzed by STUK’s laboratories. 

Monitoring of environmental radiation

STUK is responsible in Finland for environmental radiation monitoring, environmental monitoring of nuclear facilities and the operation of the radionuclide laboratory which is part of the monitoring network of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. There is an automatic external radiation monitoring network in Finland which includes approximately 250 measurement stations. The radiation monitoring network produced more than 13 million external radiation dose rate measurements during 2023. In addition, the network generated approximately 1.5 million spectromety measurements, especially from stations located around domestic nuclear power plants. The particle samplers used for outdoor air radioactivity monitoring produced approximately 400,000 measurements. 

Measurement and analysis laboratory

The Measurement and analysis laboratory is responsible for the activity determination of radioactive substances and developing measurement and analysis methods for STUK’s own use. The laboratory maintains and develops a quality system related to laboratory operations. Approximately 1,100 samples from environmental radiation monitoring were analyzed last year. The laboratory performed 2,300 radiochemical and gamma spectrometry laboratory analyses as a service and performed 9,300 radon measurements of indoor air.

Dosimetry laboratory

The dosimetry laboratory maintains metrological standards for radiation dose quantities of ionizing radiation and radon activity quantities. In addition, the laboratory offers calibration of radiation meters, irradiation of passive targets, radiation meter inspections and testing of radiation equipment. In 2023, a new record was set: a total of 324 calibration and irradiation certificates were written to customers. More than 1,000 radiation meters were calibrated during the year and almost 3,000 irradiations were performed.

Regulatory control of non-ionizing radiation 

In the optical laboratory of the non-ionizing radiation monitoring unit, measuring equipment is calibrated and devices that produce ultraviolet radiation or light, including lasers, are tested. The radio laboratory checks the calibration of electromagnetic field meters and measures especially the exposure of consumer products to their users. The SAR laboratory, which is part of the radio laboratory, measures the exposure generated by devices such as mobile phones and smartwatches. Product measurements are carried out as part of market surveillance. In 2023, the SAR laboratory was utilized in the development of the mobile phone safety standard. The unit also provides services to parties that are not under STUK’s regulatory control. These typically include universities and hospitals. 

Field and situational picture laboratory

The Field and situational picture laboratory's responsibilities include field measurement operations and radiation monitoring as well as the remote and expert support they require. The laboratory provides remote and expert support in Finland to, for example, Customs and the police. 

STUK is responsible for the maintenance of radiation monitoring equipment located at Customs’ premises. The systems send real-time radiation measurement data to STUK’s central database for experts to access. In 2023, radiation monitoring equipment produced nearly 200 million automated measurements. At STUK, experts checked the origin of approximately 2,300 observations and provided remote assistance to Customs’ field operators, when necessary. Customs reported 100 radiation observations, of which approximately a quarter required contact with STUK’s expert on call  and possible further measures from STUK’s experts.

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