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Definition of ODL
ODL map


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.

Station in winter

ODL 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.

Nuclear power plant

In 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.

ODL at its beginning


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


Radiation 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.

ODL-Sonde auf FINO 2

Maritime 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.

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