The Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) is one of the seven institutes of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), a Directorate-General of the European Commission (EC).
The mission of the institute is to support industrial competitiveness, quality of life, safety and security in the EU by developing advanced measurement standards and providing state-of-the-art scientific advice concerning measurements and standards for EU policies.
Our prime objective is to build confidence in the comparability of measurements by the production and dissemination of internationally accepted quality assurance tools, including validated methods, reference materials, reference measurements, interlaboratory comparisons and training.
- Novel methods to process fat-rich and oily materials into reference materialsApril 11, 2014
JRC-IRMM experts have developed a novel method for “cryogenic sieving” to separate coarse fractions from processed materials at very low temperatures. This technique made it possible to process the worldwide first certified reference material consisting of powder mixtures from genetically modified rapeseed. The method overcomes a major problem faced when preparing certain candidate materials, i.e. converting fat-rich raw materials into homogenous and stable fine powders.
- First full session dedicated to safeguards inspection and evaluation: JRC scientists at ESARDA workshopApril 09, 2014
The European Safeguards Research and Development Association (ESARDA) dedicated a full session to safeguards inspection and evaluation in workshops for Destructive (DA) and Non Destructive Analysis (NDA) supporting skills in the nuclear field. ESARDA represents an important platform for exchanges on standardisation and harmonisation in research and development between safeguards, industry and measurement communities.
- Flexible scope accreditation guidance document for GMO testing laboratories – European co-operation for Accreditation approved version publishedApril 08, 2014
The JRC-IRMM has recently published the second edition of the guidance document on the harmonised flexible scope accreditation related to quantitative testing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs); addressing primarily laboratory managers and assessors for ISO/IEC 17025.
- New calibration standards for radioactive waste managementApril 07, 2014
The JRC-IRMM has recently developed several calibration standards that allow better characterisation of radioactive waste, which in combination with a new type of free-release measurement facility can provide higher safety margins as more radionuclides can be detected. This can save substantial costs due to reductions in long term storage and more free release, as it measures with high resolution gamma-ray spectrometry instead of low resolution techniques.
- Promoting excellence in education on nuclear engineeringApril 03, 2014
Students from the Belgian Nuclear higher Education Network (BNEN) participated in the Nuclear Safeguards course organised by SCK•CEN at JRC-IRMM. The course aims at making nuclear engineers more acquainted with the (non-) proliferation aspects of nuclear energy. Lectures were alternated with class room exercises, a visit to the JRC-IRMM nuclear safeguards laboratories and "hands-on" measurements to verify the enrichment of uranium samples.
- JRC releases a new mycotoxin reference material at the 10th anniversary celebration of the ERM launchApril 02, 2014
Today, the JRC-Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM) celebrates at Analytica 2014 in Munich, the 10th anniversary of the launch of the European Reference Material (ERM®) cooperation. The celebration comes with the release of the new certified reference material ERM-BC717 for mycotoxin testing. The material is intended for quality control and assessment of performance characteristics of analytical methods, it will support reliable measurements of mycotoxins in maize powder and help food control laboratories to implement EU legislation.
- Nuclear material only for peaceful purposes: JRC releases reference material IRMM 1027pApril 02, 2014
IRMM-1027p large sized dried spikes (LSD) are applied for the measurement of the uranium and plutonium content of spent fuel solutions. Used by the Euratom safeguards on-site laboratories, these reference materials are fundamental to guarantee that nuclear material is not diverted from the civil nuclear fuel cycle and misused for clandestine military purposes. By providing these series on a regular basis, the JRC is directly contributing to the effectiveness of nuclear safeguards and security systems.
- JRC releases new reference material of highly enriched uranium-233 and plutonium-242March 28, 2014
In nuclear safeguards, precise and accurate isotopic analyses are needed for two major elements from the nuclear fuel cycle: uranium and plutonium. In order to achieve confidence in comparability and reliability of measurement results in nuclear material analysis, isotopic reference materials with certified amount of plutonium and isotopic composition are indispensable. The new Reference material IRMM-046c represents a useful quality control tool for nuclear inspectors and nuclear laboratories within the nuclear safety and security framework.
- JRC and NIST explore further common areas of work in certified reference materials for nanotechnology and health-related measurement standardsMarch 27, 2014
Representatives of the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the JRC recently met in Gaithersburg, USA to discuss the long-standing cooperation on standardisation and metrology. Both organisations have been collaborating in areas such as healthcare, nanotechnology, environmental and food analysis, with emphasis on reference materials and cutting-edge measurement methods. They also work together in various international bodies e.g. the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the International Committee on Weights and Measures (CIPM) and the Versailles Project on Advanced Materials and Standards (VAMAS).
- Advances in target preparation techniques at JRC for accurate nuclear physics measurementsMarch 21, 2014
JRC-IRMM has recently published four articles on the preparation of new sophisticated targets; essential to obtain accurate measurements of nuclear data in the context of nuclear safety, minimisation of high level nuclear waste, safeguards and security.
- Bioindicators for environmental monitoring: JRC releases new certified reference materialMarch 21, 2014
By releasing the certified reference material ERM®-CD200, the JRC is providing a tailored quality control tool for laboratories measuring elements in seaweed or similar matrices; a means to control measurements in the frame of the European Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC). The material could also be used in assessing compliance of harvested seaweed for use in food and feed with the limits of contaminants given in Directive 2002/32/EC (amended by 1275/2013/EC).
- JRC supports EU delegation during the 35th Session of the Codex Committee on Methods of Analysis and SamplingMarch 19, 2014
The Codex Alimentarius Commission, established by FAO and WHO, develops harmonised international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice to protect the health of the consumers and ensure fair practices in the food trade.
- Advanced testing methods to help in food authenticationMarch 18, 2014
The information given on the label of a food product has to be truthful and unambiguous so that consumers can make a choice when buying food. Appropriate testing methods are needed to enforce the correctness of information provided to consumers; protecting them from being misled.
- From research to novel instrumentation for laboratories: fostering innovation and promoting green chemistryMarch 13, 2014
A group of JRC scientists, led by Joerg Stroka, has developed an innovative procedure allowing the purification of food contaminants without the need for organic solvents.
- JRC strengthens efforts to tackle food fraudMarch 11, 2014
Food authenticity and assuring the integrity of the food chain are two priorities of the FP7 funded project "FoodIntegrity" where the JRC will contribute to create databanks, identify research gaps, develop and validate methods for the authentication of olive oils.