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Radioactivity in the environment originates from natural and artificial sources. Natural radioactivity is quite evenly distributed on land as well as in the water and the air. Artificial radioactivity caused by nuclear tests and nuclear accidents, however, is distributed much more unevenly, whereby the Earth's Northern Hemisphere is more affected.

Immediate notification

In the event of a nuclear accident or any other accident involving a radiation source, where a large quantity of radioactive substances may have been released into the environment resulting in serious radiological consequences, it is necessary to provide instant information on radiation levels and radioactivity in the environment. Slovenia set up an automatic measuring system for this purpose soon after the Chernobyl disaster.

Monitoring

The aim of environmental radiation monitoring is to monitor the level of general radioactive contamination and natural radioactivity in the environment, follow the trends in radionuclide concentrations and give prompt alerts about any sudden increase in radiation in the territory of the Republic of Slovenia.

Measuring system

The network consists mainly of automatic dose rate meters (72 in total), and three airborne radioactivity meters and two radioactivity deposition meters (measuring deposition on the ground).

Measuring locations for monitoring the level of external radiation are distributed more or less evenly throughout Slovenia. The network of measuring stations is relatively dense with one meter per 300 km2 on average, although it is sparser in less populated areas.

Periodic studies of radioactivity in the environment

Radioactivity in the environment is not measured only within annual monitoring programmes required by legislation. Many studies have also been conducted recently and in the past. The Nuclear Safety Administration has financed approximately 30 small-scale research studies conducted by the Jožef Stefan Institute and the Institute of Occupational Safety, which covered subjects such as radioactivity in the air, surface waters, soil and construction materials and an inventory of materials with increased presence of naturally occurring radioactive substances due to technological processing.