The Radiological Traceability Program (RTP) is a Performance Evaluation (PE) program that establishes traceability for the Radiological and Environmental Sciences Laboratory (RESL) to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). RESL is the designated reference laboratory for DOE and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). As defined in ANSI N42.23-1996, RESL serves as a secondary reference laboratory to NIST and maintains direct traceability to NIST through this RTP. In this role, DOE has authorized RESL to prepare and distribute PE materials in a variety of sample matrices to laboratories that perform radiochemical analyses of environmental, bioassay and other samples.

The RTP provides an annual exchange of water, soil, vegetation, air filters, bioassay and other PE samples between NIST and RESL. It is designed to provide a mechanism for evaluating the ability of RESL scientists to prepare various PE materials containing known activities of various radionuclides and to analyze materials of unknown activities. NIST and RESL prepare and exchange PE materials as defined in an Interagency Agreement between DOE and NIST. The Interagency Agreement defines the specific test samples, radionuclides, activities, acceptance criteria and other specifications for the PE sample exchanges.

The present RTP was developed by RESL and NIST based on 40 years of cooperative collaboration. The scientific collaboration between the two has resulted in a one-of-a-kind traceability program as defined in the Interagency Agreement. The RTP not only provides direct traceability to NIST but also encourages scientific collaboration between DOE and NIST scientists in methods and performance test sample development.

Program Highlights:

Direct traceability to a national standards organization proves RESL’s capability in preparing and verifying performance test samples offered in RESL’s various performance evaluation programs.

All PE sample types: water, soil, vegetation, air filters, synthetic urine, bioassay phantoms, etc., prepared by NIST are analyzed by RESL and results evaluated by NIST. RESL prepared PE samples are verified by NIST in the annual exchanges of performance evaluation samples.

The RTP supports all RESL radiochemical performance evaluation programs.