National Centre for Radiation Science

Radiation roadwork pic

Examples of the advice, services and research capability that our experts have provided to a wide range of sectors include:

Use of groundwater radon as an indicator of aquifer recharge rates

This project was undertaken in association with ESR’s Ground Water Group. The techniques developed during this project are being improved so that they can be used in commercial applications.

Marine radioecology

Preliminary investigation of the concentration of nuclear-relevant elements in coastal NZ marine organisms and fish from the central Pacific was carried out. This project was undertaken in collaboration with Schools of Biological Science and Chemistry, University of Canterbury. This project is the first such study undertaken in New Zealand. The results are interesting and necessitate further work. The results are to be published in due course. This project has triggered interest in marine monitoring.

Radiation-induced cataractogenesis

A research project was conducted examining the underlying causes of radiation-induced cataract formation in eye lenses with the view of improving the understanding of how exposure to ionizing radiation results in lens opacity.

Imaging test tool for NZ Customs

To meet a current need of Customs, this project went some way to developing an image performance assessment test object that can easily be used for routine image quality control on baggage and cargo x-ray imaging equipment used by New Zealand Customs. 

Crop mutational breeding of Brassica cultivars

This project, in collaboration with Plant and Food and PGG Wrightsons Seeds investigated the mutation of Brassica cultivars through the use of ionising radiation.

Dosimetery of the MARS spectral imaging technology

Medipix All-Resolution System-Computed Tomography (MARS) spectral imaging technology generates quantitative material-specific 3D colour images of complex structures through the use of an x-ray detector chip operating in single photon counting mode for imaging small animals. In collaboration with academics and researchers from CERN, the University of Otago, the University of Canterbury and Lausanne University Hospital, amongst others, the system’s dosimetry was characterised providing vital information prior to its adaptation to human scale.

Protecting New Zealand’s export log market from wood boring insects

New Zealand exports more than 12 million cubic meters of logs each year and is our third largest export sector. To facilitate this trade NZ must apply phytosanitary treatments, as prescribed by our trading partners, prior to export to mitigate any potential biosecurity risks for the importing country. Currently the main treatment applied is methyl bromide (MeBr) fumigation, however MeBr is an ozone depleting gas and industry would like to transition to an effective alternative. This project investigated radiation as one candidate treatment. Applied using an electron beam, produced with electricity as opposed to a radioactive source material, it has the potential to provide a safe, sustainable, alternative to MeBr.