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Definition of ODLIntroduction

The ODL measuring network of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection monitor the natural radiation exposure using about 1.800 ODL measuring stations. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Definition of ODLHistory

The history of the ODL measuring system. From automatic dialling device to fully automated system.

Definition of ODLODL values: Impact of external factors

The natural radiation caused by radioactive substances at a specific place depends in particular on the altitude and the geological formation and remains largely constant over long periods of time. It is sometimes affected by external factors.

Definition of ODLRadiation exposure in everyday life

People have always lived in a radiating environment. Natural and man-made radiation sources lead to a certain radiation exposure. The quantity of such radiation exposure is called the "dose". Radiation exposure may have different impacts on human health, depending on its intensity.

Definition of ODLIn case of an incident

If an incident occurs that includes the release of radioactivity, such as an accident in a nuclear power plant, this can be seen at first in the measuring values obtained from the ODL measuring network.

In the event of an accident the values measured at almost 1,800 ODL measuring stations will be retrieved at 10 minute intervals. The dispersion of a radioactive cloud can virtually be followed online and the most affected areas can very rapidly be made out.

Definition of ODLMaritime measuring stations

On three research rigs in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) has installed measuring stations for monitoring the environmental radioactivity. They are part of the ODL measuring network. Due to their geographical position they are an essential part of the early warning system in case of radiological events, e.g. in the United Kingdom or Sweden.

Location of measuring stationsStations in Germany

Explore measuring stations in Germany with the help of a map.

Location of measuring stationsUsing the map

As a standard, the map depicts the Federal Republic of Germany and bordering countries. The circles stand for the measuring stations. The measuring stations located in one area are clustered, i.e. measuring stations within a certain area are grouped together in a circle depending on the zoom level. The figure given in the circle shows how many ODL probes the circle contains. The colour shows the radiation level in the area.

How measurements workInterpretation of measurements

Humans are permanently exposed to natural, external radiation. This consists of a terrestrial and a cosmic component. The former originates in the natural radioactive materials (radionuclides) occurring everywhere in the soil and in building materials, such as uranium, thorium or potassium (K-40). The cosmic radiation originates in space; when interacting with the atmosphere, it is significantly reduced, but a certain portion reaches the Earth’s surface. 


How measurements workODL probe: Design / Maintenance

The ODL measuring network consists of stationary probes using cable connections for power supply and for the transmission of data. In addition, "quasi-stationary" probes are also available. The stationary and quasi-stationary ODL probes are largely identical in design. They consist of two Geiger-Müller counters and an electronic analysis system.

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