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The Laboratory of Natural Radioactivity (LRN) of the Department of Earth Sciences of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the University of Coimbra (FCTUC) is the first laboratory in the Iberian Peninsula to obtain ISO 17025 accreditation.

This standard is international and serves for the evaluation of all radiological parameters that enable us to respond to the overall requirements imposed by the European Union on protection against the dangers of exposure to natural radioactive substances.

This seal of reference quality awarded by the Portuguese Accreditation Institute (IPAC), the accreditation body in Portugal, results from a complex and demanding process that lasted more than two years.

"It has been a long course, with a very high degree of requirement, but this certification is the recognition of LRN as a national and international reference center, which complies with a rigorous system of quality and good practices. This means the seal of maximum confidence for the institutions that seek our services, "said Alcides Pereira, director of the Natural Radioactivity Laboratory.

On the other hand, with the accreditation now obtained, Portugal no longer has to resort to foreign laboratories to carry out some tests because "the FCTUC Natural Radioactivity Laboratory is now able to respond to all the radiological parameters that are contemplated in the legislation (Community Directives) on natural radioactivity. It is the first in the Iberian Peninsula to obtain accreditation for all the parameters imposed by the European Union ", explains the professor also professor in the Department of Earth Sciences of the FCTUC.

It also creates a pole of excellence in the area of ​​Natural Radioactivity - radioactivity that is present in the environment and which originates from natural elements (water, air, building materials, etc.), in order to contribute to the scientific and technological development of sustainable practices that protect the health of populations.

In this sense, Alcides Pereira advocates the elaboration of a risk map that identifies the most problematic zones of the country as regards the exposure of the human being to ionizing radiations of natural origin. "We are continually exposed to different sources of natural radiation, so it is necessary to understand which areas are most problematic in Portugal and propose measures to protect populations and to mitigate the impacts of this exposure. There are some studies, but they are punctual. For example, knowing that the Center region is the zone of the country most affected by the problems associated with exposure to ionizing radiation of natural origin, it is important to understand and control the level of exposure, "he said.

The FCTUC Natural Radioactivity Laboratory, which dates back to 1999, is currently involved in a pioneering work on environmental remediation of uranium mines worldwide, focused on the recovery of the dwellings of the former miners of Urgeiriça, as well as a study on radiological quality of the country's drinking water.

Source: Jornal de Notícias