Environmental Radioactivity Laboratory - University of Stirling

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Services & Capabilities

The Environmental Radioactivity Laboratory is based within Biological and Environmental Sciences (B&ES) at the University of Stirling, UK. The laboratory is dedicated to the measurement of radioactivity of environmental materials through laboratory and in-situ based gamma spectrometry and gamma dosimetry.

The laboratory has been in existence for over 10 years and has provided analytical services for a wide range of pure and applied research and consultancy projects, including academic, public and private sector clients. The ERL operate with 7 core staff trained in various aspects of the ISO17025:2005 Quality System. The group is headed by Professor Andrew Tyler as Technical Manager with over 24 years’ experience in environmental radioactivity and Dr David Copplestone as Quality Manager with over 21 years’ experience in radioecology and risk assessment.

ERL routinely collaborates, interacts and offers advice to other ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accredited laboratories. The consistently high performance of the analytical results within national and international laboratory inter-comparison exercises has been the primary motivation behind the pursuit and continual improvement in the quality system.


The ERL ISO17025 accredited status includes work offsite for the sampling of environmental materials and the use of GPS and Differential Kinematic GPS.


The ERL’s ISO 17025 accreditation covers the testing of environmental samples and includes moisture, mass, and density determination, sample homogenisation and sub sampling.  The laboratory measures the full range of natural and anthropogenic gamma emitting radionuclides from samples of a few single grams to hundreds of grams in mass.  The laboratory operates a range of Hyper Pure Germanium Detectors providing the sensitivities required for the range of applications undertaken by the laboratory in environmental and radioecological research and monitoring. 

The detector types include low two 210Pb background LO-AX, GEM HPGe detector, three n-type 35% relative efficiency HPGe detectors and a n-type 70% relative efficiency  HPGe detector.  All detectors provide low limits of detection.  

The laboratory also has total alpha/beta determination, liquid scintillation counting and alpha spectrometry included in its capabilities. (not included in the ISO 17025 accreditation).

In-situ Dosimetry

The ERL is also ISO 17025 accredited for in-situ gamma dosimetry in through direct measurement with radiation dosimetry meters and TLD.

In-situ gamma spectrometry (not included in the ISO 17025 accreditation)

The Laboratory also specialises in in-situ gamma spectrometry with HPGe and NaI(Tl) based technologies for real time in-situ measurement of environmental radioactivity and dosimetry.  The ERL participates in a number of international intercomparison exercises and these measurements are traceable internationally.

Mobile In-situ gamma spectrometry (not included in the ISO 17025 accreditation)

The ERL has designed, built and tested a mobile gamma spectrometry system for the detection of particles and baseline contamination mapping. The system has now been deployed at Dalgety Bay and Kinloss in both hand held mode (using a 76mm x 76 mm NaI(Tl) detector and 76mm x 76 mm LaBr(Ce) detector) and vehicular with two 4 litre NaI(Tl) detectors).

EURADOS Intercomparison Exercise PTB – Braunschweig Germany.
EURADOS Intercomparison Exercise PTB – Braunschweig Germany.

Sampling in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone – Red Forest
Sampling in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone – Red Forest


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Last updated 18 January, 2017
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