Ionizing radiation standards calibration services

Important

Please note our prices are subject to change.

Facilities

The NRC carries out metrology activities related to ionizing radiation, addressing the following application areas:

  • radiation therapy and imaging;
  • personnel and environmental radiation protection;
  • radiation processing ( e.g. , radiation sterilization);
  • radionuclide quantification;
  • safety and security.

In addition, NRC scientists are responsible for the maintenance, development and dissemination of the EGSnrc radiation transport simulation system, recognized worldwide as the most accurate system available for the simulation of photons and electrons.

The NRC ionizing radiation facilities are used for 3 main areas of activity:

  • Maintenance and development of primary standards for the quantities of:
    • air kerma and absorbed dose
    • absorbed dose to skin from beta-rays
    • neutron-source emission rate
    • radioactivity.
  • Provision of calibration services to clients in Canada and worldwide.
  • Research and development projects related to the measurement of ionizing radiation. This includes the development and/or characterization of various detector types, development of measurement protocols ( e.g. for clinical medical physicists), and collaborative research projects with Canadian academic institutions and calibration laboratories in other countries.

To carry out these essential activities, NRC is equipped with a suite of high quality radiation facilities. These include low and medium energy X-ray generators, a therapy level irradiator for 60 Co gamma radiation, 2 industrial/radiation protection level irradiators providing a range of source strengths for 60 Co or 137 Cs gamma radiation, a clinical brachytherapy afterloader with a high dose rate (HDR) 192 Ir source, a wide variety of low activity radioactive sources, calibrated neutron Am-Be sources, a neutron generator, β -ray irradiators, 2 Elekta clinical linear accelerators, a 35  MeV electron linear accelerator, and a calibrated system to provide therapy-class electrometer charge calibrations.

The X-ray generators provide stable beams of X-rays at constant potentials from 10  kV to 300  kV . Exposure rates from approximately 1  mR/h to 15  R/min can be selected, covering both protection and therapeutic levels. The x-ray facility can provide calibrations for therapy class ionization chambers or radiation protection devices (such as survey meters, personal dosimeters and radiation detectors). Custom services can also be arranged to provide irradiation for a wide variety of client samples.

60 Co beams are standardized in terms of exposure, air-kerma and absorbed dose. Standard 60 Co air-kerma rates range between 80  µGy/min - 1.1  Gy/min (exposure rates range between 10  mR/h - 125  R/min ). Standard 60 Co absorbed dose rates range between 0.5  Gy/min - 1  Gy/min - 1  Gy/min . The 60 Co facility can provide calibrations for therapy class ionization chambers or radiation protection devices (such as survey meters, personal dosimeters and radiation detectors). Custom services can also be arranged to provide irradiation for a wide variety of client samples.

An Elekta microSelectron afterloader can deliver a high dose rate ( HDR ) 192 Ir source, providing typical air kerma rates of between 1  mGy*m2/h - 50  mGy*m2/h depending on the state of the sources decay over the course of the calendar year. The  HDR  facility can provide calibration services for therapy class well-type ionization chambers.

Standardization of low dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy sources is achieved using a Hopewell wide-angle free-air chamber, operated in tandem with the HDR facility. Calibrations for both types of sources are consistent with international dosimetry protocols for brachytherapy.

The Radionuclide Metrology facility consists of radiochemistry and decay counting laboratories. Radionuclide metrology implements 4pi-beta-gamma coincidence counting and Liquid Scintillation Counting primary methods as well as a suite of secondary measurement detectors ( e.g. : radionuclide calibrators, solid state detectors and alpha, beta, gamma spectrometers). The radiochemistry and decay counting laboratories in concert enable the production of radioactive Certified Reference Materials, the execution of independent testing services for radioactive contamination laboratories, detector calibration exercises ( e.g. , the calibration of radionuclide calibrators in isotope production facilities and nuclear medicine departments) and the certification of radionuclides services.

The neutron laboratory at the NRC is a unique facility, mimicking a free-field scenario and ideally suited to the measurement of low-intensity neutron fields generated by sealed neutron sources. A large 16  m x 16  m x 10  m room with a false floor permits calibration and irradiation services to be carried out with minimal effects due to room scatter. Americium-beryllium (Am-Be) sources with typical activities of 25  GBq are available for the purpose of calibrating neutron survey meters as well as for independent testing of neutron dosimeters for quality assurance.

The NRC also maintains a manganese bath system, a primary standard for measuring the absolute neutron emission rate of sealed neutron sources. The emission rate for both Am-Be and Californium-252 sources can be measured.

2 beta irradiators can be fitted with Pm -147, Kr -85, and Sr / Y -90 sources which have mean energies from 70  keV to 670  keV at their calibration positions (11 to 50  cm from the source) and generate absorbed dose rates to skin (depth of 70  µm in tissue) in the 1 to 1000  mGy/h range. These rates are established with our primary standard system based on extrapolation chamber measurements. The irradiators are used for quality assurance testing of personal dosimetry systems and for calibrating beta survey meters.

The Elekta clinical linear accelerators are standard clinical radiotherapy machines with photon beams between 6 and 25  MeV , and 5 electron beams with energies between 4 and 22  MeV . The accelerators deliver clinical dose rates of approximately 5  Gy/min . One of the accelerators is optimized for reference irradiation fields while the second is fitted with an electronic portal imaging system (EPID) and has con-beam CT (CBCT) capability.

The NRC Vickers electron linear accelerator is a 5-35  MeV machine capable of delivering a range of beam pulse widths and pulse currents to address diverse applications. Interchangeable targets, beam flatteners, collimator systems, scattering foil systems, beam current monitors and beam steering systems allow a wide variety of clinical accelerator beams to be simulated. The accelerator can also be run with currents averaging less than a single electron per pulse for particle-counting investigations.

The majority of services listed below involve NRC staff using the specialized NRC facilities to deliver calibrations, custom irradiations and independent testing services. However, within operational restrictions, it is possible for clients to hire individual laboratories to carry out investigations, custom irradiations, research projects, etc. In addition, access to NRC experts to assist with such activities is available.

Services

Description of services Contact
60 Co Exposure/Air Kerma, 60 Co Absorbed Dose to Water, 137 Cs Exposure/Air Kerma, Low and Medium Energy X-ray Exposure/Air Kerma, MV LINAC Photon Absorbed Dose to Water, 192 Ir High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy Well Chamber Air Kerma, Therapy Class Electrometer Charge Calibration Services. High Activity 60 Co and 137 Cs Source Strength Determination Brad Downton
Telephone: 613-993-2715 ext. 245
Email: Brad.Downton@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca
Beta Calibration Services Dr. Audrey MacLeod
Telephone: 613-993-2715 ext. 227
Email: Audrey.Macleod@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca
Neutron Calibration Services and Neutron Source Flux Determination. Dr. John Paul Archambault
Telephone: 613-993-2715 ext. 252
Email: JohnPaul.Archambault@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca
Radionuclide Calibration Services and Low Activity Source Strength Determination Dr. Raphael Galea
Telephone: 613-993-2715 ext. 229
Email: Raphael.Galea@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

Note that fees for measurement and calibration services are subject to change. The fees for service quoted do not include shipping, insurance or the cost of a customs broker. The client must arrange and pay for these services separately.

Facilities and handling fees

Calibration Code Description Fee ($CDN)
A33-08-00-00 Calibration code for non-standard, custom services using the Ionizing Radiation Standards calibration facilities. Custom fee on request
A33-08-00-01 Handling fee. A charge is levied for any instrument or radioactive source that is found to be unsuitable for calibration. The fee covers inspection and return, and is based on the work done prior to the discovery of the fault. $295.00
A33-08-00-02 Return shipping Fee. Provides the client with return shipping for their equipment following the completion of scheduled calibrations services. $85.00

Determination of source strengths

Calibration Code Description Fee ($CDN)
A33-08-01-01 High Activity 60 Co or 137 Cs Source Strength Determination. The exposure and/or air-kerma rate for a high activity 60 Co or 137 Cs radioactive source at the client's site is measured using an NRC calibrated reference class ionization chamber and therapy class electrometer. Custom fee on request
A33-08-01-03 Low Activity Source Strength Determination. The exposure and/or air-kerma rate for a low activity source is measured at NRC . This service is available by special request only. Custom fee on request
A33-08-01-04 Radioactive Neutron Source Flux Determination. Through the use of Am-Be neutron sources whose outputs and half-lives have been well established, a neutron long counter is used to measure the neutron flux from the client's radioactive neutron source. $2,620.00

Instrument calibration

Calibration Code Description Fee ($CDN)
A33-08-02-01 Low and Medium Energy X-ray Exposure and Air-Kerma Calibrations for a Single X-ray Quality. This service provides an exposure and air-kerma calibration at a single x-ray quality for either a survey meter or an ionization chamber and its therapy class electrometer as a set, at a single electrometer range. The primary standards are two free-air chambers covering a range of energies with tube voltages from 10 k kV - 300  kV . By varying the anode current and the distance from the source, calibrations can be performed at air-kerma rates of 8.76  µGy/h - 131  µGy/h (1  mR/h - 15  R/h ). A variety of beam filtrations can be utilized allowing NRC to match the clients beam quality as accurately as possible. $1,600.00
A33-08-02-02 Low and Medium Energy X-ray Exposure and Air-Kerma Calibrations - Additional X-ray Qualities. Calibrations for an ionization chamber and its therapy class electrometer will be performed at a reduced cost for additional qualities or an additional electrometer range, when scheduled at the same time as service code A33-08-02-01. $345.00
A33-08-03-01 60 Co Exposure and Air-Kerma Calibrations. This service provides an exposure and air-kerma calibration for an ionization chamber or for an ionization chamber and its therapy class electrometer as a set, at a single electrometer range. The primary exposure standard for 60 Co gamma-radiation is a carbon-walled cavity ionization chamber. High activity calibrations of client instruments are performed at air-kerma rates that typically range between 0.57  Gy/min - 1.1  Gy/min (60  R/min - 125  R/min ) at a distance of 1-metre. Radiation protection calibrations of client instruments are performed at air-kerma rates that typically range between 80  µGy/min - 1.8  mGy/min (10  mR/min - 200  mR/min ). $1,600.00
A33-08-03-02 Radiation Protection 137 Cs Exposure and Air-Kerma Calibrations.This service provides an exposure and air-kerma calibration for an ionization chamber or an ionization chamber and its therapy class electrometer as a set (at a single electrometer range) or for a radiation protection device. Radiation protection calibrations are traceable to the primary exposure standard for 60 Co gamma-radiation through secondary standard ionization chambers. Radiation protection calibrations of client instruments are performed at rates that typically range between 2.6  µGy/min - 2.5  mGy/min (0.3  mR/min - 280  mR/min ). $1,600.00
A33-08-03-03 Therapy Level 60 Co Absorbed Dose to Water Calibrations. This service provides an absorbed dose to water calibration for an ionization chamber or an ionization chamber and its therapy class electrometer as a set, at a single electrometer range. The primary absorbed dose to water standard for 60 Co is a sealed water calorimeter which was designed and built at NRC. Calibrations of client instruments are performed at rates that typically range between 0.5  Gy/min - 1  Gy/min at a distance of 1-meter. $1,600.00
A33-08-03-04 60 Co and 137 Cs Exposure and Air-Kerma Calibrations and 60 Co Absorbed Dose to Water Calibrations - Additional Electrometer Ranges. Calibrations for an ionization chamber and its therapy class electrometer will be performed at a reduced cost for an additional electrometer range when scheduled at the same time as service code A33-08-03-01, A33-08-03-02 or A33-08-03-03. $285.00
A33-08-04-01 Neutron meter calibration. This service provides a calibration for a neutron survey meter using an Am-Be source (average energy of 4.4  MeV ) of known output. NRC can provide calibrations of neutron survey meters in a field of roughly 20  µSv/h (2  mrem/h ) $1,980.00
A33-08-05-01 Beta Meter Calibration. Absorbed dose to tissue calibration of a direct-reading beta dosimeter or survey meter is performed in fields of 90 Sr / Y , 85 Kr and 147 Pm beta sources at a variety of specified distances, with rates falling in the range from 1 to 250  mGy/h , as determined by primary-standard extrapolation chamber measurements. $2,110.00
A33-08-06-03 MV X-ray Photon Absorbed Dose to Water Calibration. This service provides an MV x-ray photon absorbed dose to water calibration at three MV x-ray energies for a single ionization chamber. In addition to the MV x-ray calibration, this service also includes a 60Co absorbed dose to water calibration for the same ionization chamber and its therapy class electrometer as a set (calibration code A33-08-03-03). The MV x-ray calibration is performed at 6  MV , 10  MV and 25  MV nominal energies. Calibration measurements also include polarity and recombination measurements as required for dosimetry protocols (such as AAPM TG-51). The primary standard for MV x-ray absorbed dose is a sealed water calorimeter which was designed and built at NRC . $3,190.00
A33-08-09-04 Therapy Class Electrometer Charge Calibration. This service provides a calibration for a single therapy class electrometer in either charge collection mode or current collection mode, at a single electrometer range. Charge calibrations for therapy class electrometers are carried out using NRC -traceable capacitors and an NRC -traceable voltage source. Current calibrations are carried out using an NRC-traceable current source. $365.00/range
A33-08-07-01 192 Ir High Dose Rate (HDR) Brachytherapy Well Chamber Air-Kerma Calibration. This service provides an air-kerma calibration for a client's well chamber or a client's well chamber and its therapy class electrometer as a set, at a single electrometer range. 192 Ir HDR brachytherapy source characterizations are based on measurements made with a spherical graphite ionization chamber traceable to the NRC air-kerma primary standards for 250  kV x-rays and 60 Co gamma radiation. $940.00

Irradiations in known fields

Calibration Code Description Fee ($CDN)
A33-08-00-03 Irradiation of Materials or Samples in 60Co, beta, 137 Cs , Low/Medium Energy X-ray, or Mega-Voltage X-ray Fields. This service provides irradiations of a client's material or samples in one or more of the NRC radiation facilities (60 Co , beta, 137 Cs , low/medium energy X-ray, or mega-voltage X-ray fields). The fee for this will depend on the number of facilities required and the extent of additional work, such as characterization of the irradiation protocol/geometries, design/fabrication of specialized set-ups and supporting Monte Carlo simulations. This service is available by special request only. Custom fee on request

Independent testing for quality assurance

Facilities are available at NRC for quality assurance testing of personal dosimetry systems. The service provided by NRC involves irradiating a batch of client dosimeters to known exposure or air-kerma levels, as prescribed by the appropriate Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission protocol and/or Health Canada requirements. The irradiated dosimeters are returned to the client dosimetry service which processes them and reports their results for the exposure or air-kerma to NRC. NRC compares the values reported by the dosimetry service to the delivered (NRC ) values. NRC generates a summary of results and cover letter which are sent simultaneously to the appropriate authority and to the dosimetry service.

Calibration Code Description Fee ($CDN)
A33-08-11-01 60 Co Whole Body Personal Dosimeter Independent Testing for Quality Assurance. This service provides independent testing of dosimeters for quality assurance using 60 Co gamma-radiation. Up to 150 personal dosimeters will be irradiated free-in-air to air-kerma levels ranging from 1  mGy  - 50  mGy , as outlined by the CNSC regulatory standard REGDOC-2-7-2 Vol-II. This service covers the first use of the NRC facilities in a calendar year for a single badge type. During testing the badges are mounted in air using a low scatter support frame. $9,960
A33-08-11-02 60 Co Whole Body Personal Dosimeter Independent Testing for Quality Assurance - Additional Badges or Repeats. This service covers personal dosimeter beyond the limit of 150 (covered under services A33-08-11-01). Repeats of independent testing for a badge type within the same calendar year will also be covered under this service. This service is offered on a per badge basis. $10.00 / badge
A33-08-11-03 Low/Medium Energy X-ray Extremity and Whole Body Personal Dosimeter Independent Testing for Quality Assurance. This service provides independent testing of dosimeters for quality assurance using low and medium energy X-ray radiation. Up to 50 personal dosimeters will be irradiated free-in-air as outlined in the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Requirements for Dosimetry Services in Canada. During testing the badges are mounted on a low scatter support frame. $9,960.00
A33-08-11-07 60 Co or 137 Cs Electronic Personal Dosimeter (EPD) Independent Testing for Quality Assurance. This service provides independent testing for quality assurance using 60 Co or 137 Cs gamma-radiation. Up to 10 electronic personal dosimeters (EPDs) will be tested using 60 Co or 137 Cs gamma-radiation. During testing, the client can choose between having the dosimeters tested free-in-air using a low scatter support frame or having the dosimeters mounted on a 30  cm x 30  cm x 15  cm water phantom. $2,565.00
A33-08-13-01 Neutron Independent Testing for Quality Assurance. This service provides independent testing of a single neutron survey meter or 2 batches of 5 personal dosimeters for the purposes of quality assurance. Testing is performed in an Am-Be neutron field to a variety of known values of Hp(10) between 1  mSv - 10  mSv as outlined by the CNSC regulatory standard REGDOC-2-7-2 Vol-II. During irradiations the dosimeters are mounted on an ISO slab phantom. $3,625.00
A33-08-14-01 Beta Extremity Personal Dosimeter Independent Testing for Quality Assurance. This service provides independent testing for quality assurance for 5 batches of 5 extremity personal dosimeters in a 90 Sr +90 Y beta field to a variety of known values of absorbed dose between 10  mGy - 90  mGy at a depth of 7  mg/cm2 as outlined by the CNSC regulatory standard REGDOC-2-7-2 Vol-II. During irradiations the dosimeters are mounted on either a finger or slab phantom. $1,985.00
A33-08-15-01 Independent Testing for contamination monitoring. This service provides samples of client-requested radioisotopes in client-requested formats for the purpose of Quality Analysis verification. This service is provided on a per-isotope, per-format basis and is subject to the availability of requested isotope and matrices and feasibility of the request. Please contact NRC to confirm availability of your specific sample requirements. $885/isotope/format if available
A33-08-15-02 Independent Testing for radionuclide calibrators. This service provides an independent test of a radionuclide calibrator(s). The service can be arranged as a comparison in which a calibrated instrument is sent to the client location or a sample of the radioisotope is sent to the NRC for measurement and comparison. Available for multiple radioisotopes. Custom fee on request
A33-08-15-03 Certified Reference Material. Certified for Massic Activity (Activity per unit mass). Custom fee on request

Ionizing Radiation Facility Usage

Visitor activity will be primarily independent, supervised by the relevant NRC staff member. Scheduling, including date, time and duration of any experiment, will be determined in consideration of other user requirements. Not all the facilities described above can be operated independently of NRC staff, due to their complexity and/or regulatory requirements.

Calibration code Description Fee ($CDN)
A33-08-16-01 Initial setup and closing fee. $240
A33-08-16-02 This service provides access to one Ionizing Radiation Metrology Facility by hour with a minimum booking of 2 hours. $200/hour
A33-08-16-03 This service provides NRC technical support/measurement services by the hour. $195/hour