ISOE Expert Group on Water Chemistry and Source-term Management (EGWC)


Information System on Occupational Exposure (ISOE) provides a forum for radiation protection professionals from nuclear electricity utilities and national regulatory authorities worldwide to share dose management information and operational experience to improve the optimisation of worker radiological protection at nuclear power plants. The ISOE programme, with its participating utilities and regulatory authorities, is a key organisation in developing safe, sustainable and socially acceptable strategies for emerging issues in the field of occupational radiological protection (RP).

There are many approaches to water chemistry in pressurised water reactors (PWRs) and boiling water reactors (BWRs) with very various results and consequences in terms of RP performance. During the latest ISOE Management Board meeting, it was decided that the RP aspects of primary system water chemistry and source-term management should be discussed by an ISOE ad-hoc expert group. The group could address the experience of various ISOE utilities with various water chemistry regimes to see if experience exchange could help to improve radiological protection performances. Members of the Management Board also noted that water chemistry should not be viewed only from the context of radiation protection issues, but also from the context of operational and safety issues. It was proposed to be grouped into a few of the most commonly used water chemistry approaches (e.g. zinc injection, pH control, iron injection, hydrogen water chemistry, etc.) to focus the exchange of experience discussions. For each approach, it is expected to identify how RP benefits are evaluated with a focus on measurement techniques such as CZT gamma spectroscopy, etc.

Objective of the Group

The objective of the EGWC is to develop a report on radiation protection aspects of primary water chemistry and source-term management, in order to reflect the current state of knowledge, technology and experience on radiation protection issues directly related with radiation protection.

Under the Working Group on Data Analysis (WGDA), the EGWC will undertake a review and analysis of current knowledge, technology and experience, and produce a summary report.  The outcome of the work will be a new ISOE report on RP aspects of primary water chemistry and source-term management that will find broad use within the NPP radiation protection community.  The EGWC will undertake its work by:

Planned work of the Expert Group

The expert group is expected to discuss the following topics:

Paarticular attention will be given to the collaboration between the different actors involved in the management of source term: operation, chemistry and radiation protection.

Prevention of contamination

It is expected from utilities representatives participating to the EGWC to provide description of the way they manage their source term so as to prevent (limit) contamination of the primary coolant (pH, Zn injection, steam generator materials, radio-chemical spec. for operation, etc.) and the driving factors that lead to their current approach (cost, radiation protection, safety, etc.). These elements will be debated and discussed within the expert group.

Supporting documents such as operational guidelines and procedures (spec., etc.) will be welcome. Benefits as well as drawback of the different strategies will be identified.


If a contamination (general or localised) is observed, what techniques are used, what procedures are followed so as to move back to normal conditions? What indicators are used to identify a contamination that must be dealt with?

Performance indicators

Various measurement techniques (for instance CZT gamma spectroscopy measurement devices) and indicators (dose rate at some key points in the reactor building, collective dose, etc.) may be used so as to assess results of prevention strategies or remediation actions over time. It is expected to get an overview of these key elements within this topic.

Final report of the Group

Radiation Protection Aspects of Primary Water Chemistry and Source-term Management Report
OECD, 2014

Last reviewed: 30 June 2014