IAEA Signs Memorandum of Understanding with BIPM, Honouring 50 Years of Cooperation
On 25 June, the IAEA and the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) marked a milestone in their over 50 years of mutual cooperation in the field of metrology by signing a Memorandum of Understanding at the IAEA Headquarters in Vienna. The event further strengthened what has been a long and productive relationship, as well as paved a new path for opportunities for collaboration in the future.
For decades the cooperation between the IAEA and BIPM was most prominent in the field of ionizing radiation, where the IAEA has been involved since 1959 when the Consultative Committee for Ionizing Radiation held its first meeting. This eventually led to the close and valuable partnership that exists today, in which the BIPM provides the IAEA with the SI - traceable calibrations for dosimetry that help it to maintain its extensive SSDL network and comparison programme.
In addition, BIPM provides support for IAEA piloted comparisons of radionuclide contaminated materials, the publication of nuclear data (where there is a common interest in the provision of uniform and highly accurate data), assistance in the IAEA/WHO SSDL Scientific Committee and other such collaborative ventures.
The two organizations also collaborate with regards to reference materials, where the IAEA is currently strengthening its metrological basis through its formal membership on the Consultative Committee for Amount of Substance - Metrology in Chemistry—and its associated links with National Metrology Institutes—for which the IAEA provides the Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water 2 (VSMOW2). VSMOW2 clarifies an essential part of the definition of the kelvin in Resolution 10 of the 23rd meeting of the General Conference on Weights and Measures in 2007.
Furthermore, the VSMOW2, together with Standard Light Antarctic Precipitation2 (SLAP2) form a unique set of international measurement standards for stable isotope mass ratio measurements (the delta scale) as a basis for metrological traceability and comparability of related measurements.
The IAEA is a founding signatory to the Mutual Recognition Arrangement initiated by the International Committee of Weights and Measures (known as the CIPM MRA) and is internationally reviewed and validated for its "Calibration and Measurement Capabilities" in the BIPM's Key Comparison Data Base. With the new Memorandum of Understanding, the IAEA is dedicated to maintaining a fruitful relationship with BIPM, thus setting an example for cooperation amongst the international scientific community.