This site has been established for applicants to the accreditation program for ionizing radiation dosimetry. On this site you will find important program information and links to documents required for successful participation in the program.
This accreditation program is designed to satisfy the requirements for processing personnel dosimeters (whole body badges and extremity badges) to determine the dose of record for the occupational worker. Accreditation is available to any dosimetry processor. It is required by regulation that licensees of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission have personnel dosimeters processed by a NVLAP-accredited processor.
For information on the requirements of accreditation, see NIST Handbook 150, which contains the requirements that are the basis for accreditation of any laboratory regardless of the discipline or area for which a lab seeks accreditation. In addition, ionizing radiation dosimetry processors must meet the program-specific requirements in NIST Handbook 150-4, NVLAP Ionizing Radiation Dosimetry.
The NIST Handbook 150 Checklist and the NIST Handbook 150-4 checklist are used by the assessor when performing the on-site assessment. In addition, NVLAP Lab Bulletins may be issued to expand the requirements or to provide clarity on existing requirements.
Proficiency Testing Requirements
The dosimetry processor must satisfactorily participate in proficiency testing for the dosimeter types and radiation categories for which the laboratory seeks accreditation. The proficiency testing is provided by Pacific Northwest National Laboratories (PNNL), (http://cra.pnnl.gov), and is performed against ANSI/HPS N13.11-2009, Personnel Dosimetry Performance – Criteria for Testing for whole body dosimeters and ANSI/HPS N13.32-2008, Performance Testing of Extremity Dosimeters for extremity dosimeters.
The proficiency testing contact at PNNL is Debbie Lucas, phone: 509-375-7360; email: debbie firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Are dosimeters accredited?
A: NO – NVLAP does not accredit or certify any product.
NVLAP is aware that confusion about accreditation exists because the dosimetry industry will quite often use the term, "accredited dosimeter(s)." However, NVLAP accredits the dosimetry processor, not the dosimeter.
NVLAP accredits laboratories that meet the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025 with an appropriate quality management system in place and the technical capabilities for processing dosimeters to determine the dose of record. In addition, the laboratory has to satisfactorily participate in proficiency testing every two years for each dosimeter and radiation category for which the lab is seeking or maintaining accreditation.
Q: Are control badges necessary for shipping dosimeters?
A: For years, the practice has been that control badges be sent with the shipment of dosimeters. Sending control badges with the shipment of dosimeters is still considered good practice, but may not always be necessary because of the long history of minimal or no transit exposures for certain customers.
By not shipping and processing control badges, the cost for processing should be reduced. However, if the customer wants to continue to receive control badges then the customer should insist in its contract that control badges be included so that any radiation received in transit can be accounted for more readily. The customer can also review its transit exposure histories to help them decide if they need control badges with each shipment of dosimeters. The customer has to be satisfied with the process because, in the end, it is the customer that is responsible for the assigned dose to its employees.
If there is a regulation that requires the shipping of control badges, then labs do have to follow the regulation. NVLAP is not a regulatory agency. The NVLAP assessors are diligent in reviewing the quality management system and the technical capabilities of the laboratory.
When on-site assessments occur, NVLAP assessors, who are technical experts in dosimetry processing, do examine the dosimetry processing of the laboratory from the receipt and issue of badges to assignment of dose. They assessors look at data trends for any problems, and if any nonconformities occur, the laboratory must resolve the nonconformity.
At the present time, no problems have come to the attention of NVLAP regarding the shipping or not shipping of control badges.
Q: What is mutual recognition of accredited laboratories?
A: Information about the international mutual recognition arrangements to which NVLAP is a signatory is published at Mutual Recognition Arrangements. NVLAP accreditation is specific to an individual laboratory and accreditation does not convey to other laboratories within the same company or organization. A company that has several laboratories must have each laboratory individually accredited.
If an accredited laboratory decides to expand its services to other countries, the same applies if mutual recognition is sought. Each laboratory used to provide the company's services within the other country must be individually accredited. Each laboratory, in the United States or outside the United States, must comply with NVLAP requirements to become accredited. Each laboratory will have on-site assessments to verify compliance with NVLAP requirements.
When deciding to expand NVLAP-accredited services to other countries, one should become familiar with the legal requirements of that country. In the case of dosimetry, the foreign country may have government regulations/requirements that are in addition to NVLAP accreditation, or may preclude NVLAP accreditation altogether because the government has other means to reliably accept dosimetry results.