International radiation mapping system launched by IAEA

10 June 2016

A new international radiation monitoring information system launched by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will collect and display data to help countries respond rapidly in nuclear or radiological emergencies.

The web-based International Radiation Monitoring Information System (IRMIS) collects radiation monitoring data and maps areas of potential impact. The maps can then be used to help countries to take appropriate actions.

One of the main sources of information in IRMIS is gamma dose rate data, voluntarily reported from fixed monitoring stations worldwide, said Elena Buglova, Head of the IAEA Incident and Emergency Centre. The data received is integrated with geographic coordinates and then visualised on a map. At the same time, IRMIS is also capable of accepting emergency gamma dose rate data collected through temporary stations, hand-held measurements or mobile monitoring systems, such as backpack systems, vehicle or aerial systems. This allows the data to be mapped, visualised and assessed against the area where protective actions, such as evacuation, sheltering and food restrictions, can be taken.

The system has specifically pre-designed colour coded palettes that can differentiate displayed radiation levels. It allows for the evaluation of radiation measurement trends over a selected time period and the display of near real time results at a given location.

IRMIS is a tool to help nations decide on the appropriate response to an emergency. It not an early warning system that automatically reports when there are significant deviations in radiation levels or when values are detected above certain levels. "The data can be used to assist emergency responders determine where and when to take necessary actions to protect the public," Buglova said.

IRMIS supports the IAEA's Unified System for Information Exchange in Incidents and Emergencies (USIE), an online tool where competent authorities can access information about all emergency situations, ranging from a lost radioactive source to a full-scale nuclear emergency. IRMIS is currently launched for all users of the USIE system and the IAEA said it expects to implement developments including public accessibility over the next couple of years.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News