Nuclear Physics

Lund University

Zero point assessment of the radiation levels around ESS


The European Spallation Source (ESS) is currently being constructed ~4 km northeast of the centre of Lund. The operation of the facility will generate a wide range of radionuclides, of which small parts are expected to be released to the environment during normal operation. 


During year 2017 and 2018 researchers from Lund University (Medical Radiation Physics, Malmö, and Nuclear Physics, Lund) performed extensive measurements of the radiation environment around ESS prior to start of operation. The aim of the measurements was to determine today's environmental radiation levels, to be able to demonstrate that future radioactive releases from ESS do not exceed the levels permitted by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (ESS). 


More than 40 sampling sites were selected within a few km of the ESS site, covering all wind directions. Special focus was dedicated to gamma-emitting radionuclides, as well as the pure beta emitters 3H and 14C, which both are commonly used as tracers in research and industry, also in the Lund area. 


The measurements included ambient equivalent dose rate measurements; in situ gamma spectrometry; gamma spectrometry of sewage sludge, bioindicators, grass, crops and forage, milk and soil profiles; tritium measurements of ground- and surface water, sewage sludge, bioindicators, crops and milk; 14C measurements e.g. of annual tree rings, grass, bioindicators and milk.


Click here to access the full report of the study.



The measurements are repeated annually in a scaled-down version.