Legnaro labs and the environment
Legnaro laboratories have always kept a continuous care to environmental problems and all the research activities are carried out in strict compliance with environmental protection regulations. The main actions performed are therefore prevention of all pollution kinds, as well as a constant improvement of environmental perfomance.
In order to fulfill such commitments, LNL implemented an environmental managment system in compliance with UNI EN ISO 14001 international standard (see more info here). In 2004 Legnaro National Laboratories was certified according to UNI EN ISO 14001:2004 regulations (ACCREDIA - certificate no. CERT-1116-2004-AE-VEN-SINCERT) and regularly subject to audit by DNV Italia.The environmental management system is applied both to research activities and other processes performed.
Legnaro’s management defined an environmental policy which more details and guidelines may be found here. In particular LNL goals for environmental protection are a careful use of natural resources (water in particular) and the promotion of research concerning ionizing radiation protection and adoption of the best available techniques related to public and workers protection.
The radiation protection policy
There are many types of radiation that we come across frequently in everyday life, such as heat, light, radio-waves, microwaves and X-rays. Some of them, mainly, associated with nuclear and atomic processes, are able to penetrate matter and therefore causing a process called ionization. They are commonly referred to just as "radiation" and are generally associated with the use of radiation generators (X-ray machines, accelerators, superconducting cavities, klystrons, ecc) and radioactive sources as well. The most widely known are X-rays, gammas, beta, alphas and neutrons, which have different penetration capabilities in materials.
As known, radiation is primarily a natural phenomenon. A measure of the total radiation dose received by workers (and/or generic public) is expressed in Sievert unit (Sv) or fractions, according to the metric system: a millisievert (mSv) is one-thousandth of a sievert; a microsievert (µSv) is one-millionth of a sievert. The rate of accumulation is expressed as dose rate or dose accumulated per unit time, e.g. in units of microsieverts per hour (µSv/h). A direct measurement of radiation dose rates in microsieverts per hour can be made for external sources. The dose received by a person is the given dose rate multiplied by the exposure time.
Different types of radiations are generated during experimets performed at LNL. The use of particle accelerators (protons and heavy ions) and radioactive sources are the main tools which the researchers at LNL are served to carry on their activities. During operations, accelerators yield penetrating radiation like gammas and neutrons. Use of concrete walls, floor and ceiling of proper thicknesses’, a continuous monitoring system inside experimental halls as well as at buildings surrounding area, and a consolidate program of training in radiation protection guarantees the safe operation of occupationally exposed persons at LNL and for protection of the public and the environment.
The radiation exposure levels that workers receive at LNL during the experiments because of the use of radiogenic sources are, usually, quite similar to the background radiation. For more info see also the LNL Radiation Protection service website