Building 772 - CERN’s new calibration facility for radiation protection instruments is ready to go

Building 772 is becoming the new home of CERN’s calibration facility for radiation protection instrumentation. The new laboratory in Prévessin will be a state-of-the-art calibration facility and the first of its kind in both France and Switzerland, offering a wide range of possibilities with respect to radiation fields and instrumentation.


New four-axis calibration bench for radiation protection instruments.


Civil engineering work started in November 2013 in Prévessin and Building 772 is now finished and ready for inauguration. CERN’s calibration facility was previously located in Building 172 in Meyrin. Although still very accurate, the technology used was becoming obsolete and needed replacement. “Having considered different options, the decision was taken to build a new facility fully designed and conceived to meet all international safety and technical requirements of such a laboratory,” says Pierre Carbonez, the Project Leader and Head of the Dosimetry and Calibration service of the Radiation Protection group (DGS-RP-DC).

CERN extensively uses radiation measuring and monitoring equipment to ensure that radiation levels at CERN and its environment remain within safe limits. The quantity of CERN instruments requiring regular calibration is constantly increasing: 6,000 personal dosimeters, 1,500 operational dosimeters and about 1,000 other instruments are handled per year by the calibration service of CERN’s RP group. The new facility can be used to calibrate radiation-measuring devices in four different types of ionizing radiation fields:  gamma-, beta-, neutron- and X-ray fields. CERN’s RP group aims for the International Atomic Energy Agency recognition of the laboratory to become a member of the Secondary Standard Dosimetry Laboratory (SSDL) network, being the first of this kind in Switzerland and France and a new reference in Europe.

The official inauguration of Building 772 will take place in December before the fitting of all radioactive sources in their final positions, to be ready for the first calibrations beginning next year.