About Environmental Monitoring

The Environmental Radiation Program performs the following functions: the program surveys radiation and radioactivity in the environment, estimates radiation doses to individuals and populations, and assesses the likely effects of specific radiation hazards. The program’s technological capabilities supplement the administrative and regulatory controls of the Radiation Control Division.

This group serves as a valuable information resource for cost-effective radiation dose assessment and dose reduction techniques. The Environmental Radiation Program makes available its resources to managers of all facilities who might have an interest in this subject area.

A wide range of activities are involved in performing those functions, including regulatory guidance, survey design and field work, laboratory analysis, and risk assessment.

In providing guidance, the Environmental Radiation Program staff meet with facility staff to identify sources of contamination in the workplace and the environment, and to develop strategies for reducing radiation hazards.

The program’s proficiency in survey techniques and radiation measurements provides a rapid response capability to emergency situations. As part of the emergency preparedness planning for radiation incidents, State and local governments also lend their support. Regularly scheduled survey programs are used to evaluate the environmental impact of specific facilities. They include Surry and North Anna Nuclear Power Stations.  Other regularly scheduled surveys are used to evaluate the general quality of the environment. The latter surveys are conducted in conjunction wtih the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The laboratory analysis and measurement capabilities of the Environmental Radiation Program are versatile. With our two state of the art, mobile radiation laboratories we can analyze environmental samples as well as respond to any radiation emergency anywhere in the state.  Our labs are equiped with the following detection equipment:

  • Multi-channel analysers with both sodium iodide and high purity Germanium detectors
  • Liquid scintillation counters for Tritium analysis
  • Portable survey meters and sampling equipment

Over the years the Environmental Radiation staff has developed remarkable risk assessment expertise in evaluating radioactive contamination in the environment. Sensitive measurements help citizens, public policy agencies, and facility operators to understand the differences between regional backgound radiation and local, human-made radiation in our environment. Their reports are often used as authoritative information in resolving controversial environmental issues.


Office of Radiological Health | 109 Governor Street, 7th Floor | Richmond, VA 23219

Telephone (804) 864-8150 | Fax: (804) 864-8155