Radioactivity monitoring network

Radioactivity monitoring stations in the North Sea and Baltic Sea Radioactivity monitoring stations

The Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) is monitoring the radioactivity of seawater, marine suspended matter and marine sediment in the North Sea and Baltic Sea, including coastal waters. This is part of the overall task of "monitoring environmental radioactivity", which is carried out by federal and state authorities. This task is regulated in the Radiation Protection Act (StrSchG) and the associated IMIS Jurisdiction Ordinance (IMIS-ZustV).

The "Integrated Measurement and Information System for Monitoring Environmental Radioactivity (IMIS)", which is operated by the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), is a nationwide measurement programme. The BSH is the Federal Coordinating Office for seawater, marine suspended matter and marine sediment and acts as a federal monitoring network head-end station for the North Sea and Baltic Sea.

Tasks of the BSH in IMIS

  • Monitoring for accidental high activity concentrations in the sea
  • regular determination of nuclide-specific radioactivity in the sea (in seawater, marine suspended matter and marine sediment)
  • Prognosis of distribution in the event of an incident

Measuring stations

The radioactivity monitoring network consists of 7 offshore stations, 6 coastal stations and 3 mobile ship stations:

The offshore stations are operated in connection with the oceanographic measuring network of the BSH. They are mounted on unmanned equipment carriers (lightship replacement systems, buoy, lighthouse, measuring pile).

The coastal stations use fixed facilities on the coast (harbour pier, water gauge shaft, sea-brigde). The alarm sampling is carried out there, if necessary, by permanently accessible personnel.

In addition, three ships of the BSH are equipped as mobile stations with measuring network equipment in order to be able to locate and measure "spots" of high radioactivity or radioactivity sources in the sea in the event of an incident.

Data evaluation

The computers of the Federal Coordinating Office in the BSH automatically collect the data from the measuring network stations. Trained specialists evaluate the data and forward them daily to the central federal office (ZdB) in IMIS at the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS). If the set alarm criteria are fulfilled, an internal alarm is triggered. The increased measured values are checked again by an analysis of the alarm sample. If necessary, a warning message is sent to the ZdB.