Environmental radioactivity

ESR offers a range of services for determining radioactivity content in a variety of samples such as food, water, soil, sediment, mining ore and products, biota and air samples.

ESR's specialised Environmental Radiochemistry Laboratory has been measuring naturally occurring and man-made radionuclides for over 50 years. Quality assurance is vital to our laboratory work; we are accredited to

  • International standard ISO/ IEC 17025 by International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ)
  • Ministry of Primary Industries Recognised Laboratory Program (MPI RLP)
  • Certified Laboratory within the International Monitoring System of the Comprehensive nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty organisation (CTBTO)

The scope of accreditation includes test methods based on alpha spectrometry, gamma spectrometry and low-background liquid scintillation counting. We ensure our quality by regular participation in proficiency test exercises organised by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), the US Department of Energy (DoE), and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

ESR Radiation laboratory, ChristchurchLow-level radioactivity measurements

ESR offers a wide range of measurement services to determine and quantify the presence of radioactivity. Our team of radiation specialists can test across a large range of sample types, including but not limited to: food, water, soil, sediment, mining ore and products, biota and air samples. 

Many of our standard testing methods are included in our scope of accreditation to ISO/IEC 17025 but we can adjust our testing regime to suit your measurement requirements.

Applications for test results include testing of drinking waters to show radiological compliance with the New Zealand Drinking Water Standards or overseas standards, soil erosion measurements, sediment analyses for dating, and food certification for export.

Find out more in this brochure 

Food export certification

ESR tests for radioactivity in foodstuffs for the export market and monitors imported food products. Certificates are issued for goods that are of 100% New Zealand origin without testing a sample for radioactivity content. For any goods containing imported components a sample must be tested for radioactivity content before a certificate can be issued. Some countries may also require testing of a 100% New Zealand product. 

Complete this form to obtain a certificate

Drinking water

ESR tests for radiological compliance with the Drinking Water Standard for New Zealand (DWSNZ) and overseas drinking water standards. We can test drinking waters for:

  • Gross Alpha and Gross Beta activity concentrations
  • Radon-222

For more information: