New agreement gives WIT a role in EPA national radioactivity monitoring programme

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Pictured from left: (front) Dr Stephen Fennell (EPA), Laura Burke (Director General, EPA), Prof Willie Donnelly (President of WIT), Lorraine Currivan (EPA), Dr Peter McLoughlin (Head of School of Science & Computing, WIT); (back) Dr Joe Murphy, Dr Andrea Bourke Dr Claire Keary (WIT), Dr Orla O'Donovan (Head of Department of Science, WIT). Photo: George Goulding

Pictured from left: (front) Dr Stephen Fennell (EPA), Laura Burke (Director General, EPA), Prof Willie Donnelly (President of WIT), Lorraine Currivan (EPA), Dr Peter McLoughlin (Head of School of Science & Computing, WIT); (back) Dr Joe Murphy, Dr Andrea Bourke Dr Claire Keary (WIT), Dr Orla O'Donovan (Head of Department of Science, WIT). Photo: George Goulding

Collaboration will significantly strengthen Ireland’s emergency preparedness capabilities under the National Emergency Plan for Nuclear Accidents

Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) recently signed a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide a framework for enhanced cooperation in areas of mutual interest in environmental radiation monitoring.

The EPA’s Radiation Monitoring Laboratory monitors levels of radioactivity in the environment though the analysis of air filters, food and other environmental samples and has developed national terrestrial and marine monitoring programmes. In the event of a nuclear emergency, the data produced by the lab provides the evidence base to support the making of accurate technical assessments of the consequences of an accident and decisions on the effectiveness of the protective actions put in place.

Physics staff and students at WIT have been collaborating with the EPA’s Radiation Monitoring Laboratory for a number of years in the area of environmental radiation monitoring. Under this SLA Agreement a specific role is delegated to WIT under the EPA’s national radioactivity monitoring programme, namely to provide additional laboratory measurement capability to the EPA in support of the National Emergency Plan for Nuclear Accidents (NEPNA).

This will involve the development of in-house expertise at WIT in the measurement and reporting of air filters using the technique of gamma ray spectroscopy and providing results to the EPA’s Radiation Monitoring Laboratory on an on-going basis.

The SLA was signed at WIT by Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA, and by WIT’s President Prof Willie Donnelly.

At the signing of the SLA President of WIT, Prof Willie Donnelly said: “We are delighted that this agreement has been signed as it recognises the on-going links between physics staff at WIT and the EPA, and will provide more opportunities for cooperation and research between the two organisations. This will be of great benefit for WIT undergraduate and postgraduate physics students who wish to pursue project work or further their studies in the area of radiation monitoring.”

Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA said: “The EPA is delighted to enter into this agreement with WIT. As well as supporting important environmental radiation research, the collaboration will significantly strengthen Ireland’s emergency preparedness capabilities under the National Emergency Plan for Nuclear Accidents (NEPNA), helping to build up additional national scientific expertise in this important area. Working in collaboration with other organisations helps us to develop new links in other areas of environmental science.”

Dr Peter McLoughlin, Head of the School of Science and Computing at WIT added: “The School of Science and Computing is delighted to build on its relationship with the EPA to support radiation monitoring in Ireland. This collaboration is significant in that it provides an opportunity for WIT to build on its current monitoring capabilities and gives our physics students the opportunity to expand their skills in this important area of environmental quality.”

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Bachelor of Science (Honours) in  Physics for Modern Technology
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