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New Release of Data Processing Software for Isotope Analyses of Waters by Laser Spectrometry

The Isotope Hydrology Laboratory (IHL) has partnered with the USGS to develop a new version of a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) for water oxygen (18O, 17O) and hydrogen (2H) isotopes specifically for users of all laser absorption spectrographs (LIMS for Lasers 2015). Laser spectroscopy has revolutionized the analysis of the stable isotopes of water through easy-to-use and robust instrumentation; however the data has not been so easy to work with due to inter-sample memory artefacts, instrumental drift, overwhelming amounts of data, and improper user calibration of results.

These problems are overcome by the adoption of LIMS for Lasers 2015, which automates many of these correction processes, and using systematic approaches has the effect of improving quality assurance, increasing laboratory efficiency, and decreasing laboratory errors. The software is available cost-free from the IAEA and USGS website.

For further information, please contact Mr Len Wassenaar

The IAEA launches a new Coordinated Research Project (CRP) entitled "Use of isotope hydrology to characterize groundwater systems in the vicinity of Nuclear Power Plants" (F33022)

Nuclear electricity generation represents the second largest source of energy in the world. Both developed and developing countries express interest in using nuclear energy, and many have announced plans to acquire capabilities. Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) are usually built along coastal areas or along rivers for reactor cooling purposes. Although the NPPs site selection and operation follows very strict safety guidelines, there is a possibility of unforeseen accidents, which may result in the release of radioactive materials into the environment or cause contamination of groundwater. The nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi in 2011 in Japan revealed pitfalls in prevailing practices in preventing local contamination. A good knowledge of the behaviour of water circulation in and around NPPs is a prerequisite for facility design and an essential input for performance and safety assessment.

This CRP aims to explore the use of isotope hydrology tools, like noble gases isotopes, together with conventional nuclear tracers (e.g., 18O, 2H, 13C, 14C, 3H) to better understand the hydrogeological conditions in the vicinity of NPPs and to provide basic information that may be used for predicting the fate of radioactive contaminants released into groundwater in case of a radiological accident and/or during normal operations.

The objective of this CRP is to inform guidelines for adequate groundwater protection in the vicinity of NPPs, promoting confidence in the continued safety of the site during the operational and post operational periods and assist in controlling contamination of water resources in case of unforeseen incidents. The CRP seeks to improve expertise among participating Member States in the implementation of isotopes for the assessment of groundwater protection near NPPs, providing an important asset in safety regulations for NPPs site selection and operation.

For more information on submission procedure please visit IAEA CPR website.


For further information or questions please contact Mr. M. Choudhry and Mr I. Matiatos

Re-launch of the GNIP and GNIR data portal (WISER)

We are very pleased to announce the launch of the new IAEA WISER (Water Isotope System for Data Analysis, Visualization and Electronic Retrieval) data portal for accessing GNIP (Global Network for Isotopes in Precipitation) and GNIR (Global Network for Isotopes in Rivers) data. The WISER portal is located at Please bookmark this new site; it supersedes the old site.

The new WISER site has many useful features that will facilitate easy data access and interpretation, such as graphical, global, map-based queries, point and click on a map, or drag across a map area and automated station isotope data cross-plots include ordinary least squares (OLS), reduced major axis (RMA), and precipitation amount weighted OLS regressions (PWLSR), plus a display of core statistical parameters.

Data can be selected according to your data timeframe and isotopes, or averaged by month or by year. Graphical displays of Station ID, climate data diagrams (precipitation, temperature, monthly summaries) and other calculated parameters (e.g. d-excess) and download facilities in Excel or CSV formats are also available. Read more

New Coordinated Research Project Launched

The IAEA launches a new Coordinated Research Project (CRP) entitled "Isotopes to Study Nitrogen Pollution and Eutrophication of Rivers and Lakes" (F32007).

Water quality in thousands of lakes and rivers around the globe is deteriorating due to rising nutrient levels and other chemical pollutants mainly of anthropogenic origin (e.g., agriculture, sewage, industrial discharges, and urban areas) causing changes in their ecological structure and function. This CRP will focus on exploring the use of nitrogen isotopes in N-nutrient dynamics in selected freshwater systems (lakes and rivers) facing eutrophication, nitrogen pollution, and cycling. This CRP aims to improve the suite of isotopic markers combined with other chemical / biological substances to better define the possible sources and re-cycling of nitrogen pollution in surface water bodies.

The CRP also aims to deepen the knowledge on the temporal (diel, seasonal) and in-depth variation of nitrogen isotope data, combined with additional substances, as deeper water bodies may sometimes prevent a complete understanding of nitrogen isotope dynamics from surface water collections. Moreover, improving conventional and exploring new methodologies on nitrogen species isotopic characteristics is expected to facilitate access to a more routine and low-cost use of nitrogen and oxygen isotope data of nitrogen species. Overall, the CRP will aim at improving expertise and collaboration among participating Member States in the use of environmental isotopes to better assess nitrogen pollution and eutrophication of lakes and rivers for optimal water resources management and remediation strategies.

For more information on submission procedure please visit IAEA CPR website

CRP PROPOSAL DEADLINE: 2 October 2015. For further information or questions please contact Mr I. Matiatos

Isotope Hydrology

Books and Publications

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IAEA-Tecdoc No. 1723

The IAEA Technical documents summarizing results of Coordinated Research Projects and technical cooperation projects involving the use of isotope techniques in hydrology.

Find all technical document publications in PDF.

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Proceedings from conferences on isotope hydrology, water resources, and environmental change — including oral and poster presentations — dating back to 1963.
Find all symposium
publications in PDF.

STI/PUB/1580(ISBN:978-92-0-135610-9)529 pp.
205 figures;90.00 Euro;

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Handbooks in isotope hydrology and specialized publications on concrete hydrological applications of isotope techniques dating from the 1970s until today.

Find all monograph publications in PDF.

Morocco Atlas

Atlas of Isotope Hydrology

The sustainablity of groundwater resources for drinking water supplies, agriculture, and industry is a prime concern in countries dominated by arid and semi-arid climates such as Morocco. Full text

STI/PUB/1480, 2010, ISBN 978-92-0-111010-7,


Atlas of Isotope Hydrology
The Americas

It was completed in 2009, and it focuses on about
19 000 isotope records from 150 projects in 23 IAEA Member States in the Americas where environmental isotopes were used to assess water resources between 1968 and 2008. Full text

STI/PUB/1423, 2009, ISBN 978-92-0-110009-2,
English. 110.00 Euro.

Asia and the Pacific

Atlas of Isotope Hydrology
Asia and the Pacific

It was released in 2008, and focuses on about 105 projects in 16 Member States carried out between 1973 and 2007, and includes maps, statistics and data plots created from nearly 16 000 isotope records. Full text

STI/PUB/1364, 2008, ISBN 978-92-0-111008-4,
English. 110.00 Euro.


Atlas of Isotope Hydrology

It was the first atlas made, and was released in 2007. It involved the gathering of nearly 10 500 isotope records from about 80 IAEA projects in 26 African countries from 1973 to 2007. Groundwater provides nearly 2/3 of drinking water on the continent. Full text

STI/PUB/1302, 2007, ISBN 978-92-0-107207-8,
English. 110.00 Euro.

Water Environment News

Water & Environment News

The Isotope Hydrology newsletter - produced twice a year- contains the latest information as well as project insights. The hard copy is for distribution to individuals and institutions in IAEA Member States free of charge upon request, subject to availability.

All of the published issues of the newsletter are available here on-line in PDF format.

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Global Network of Isotope in Precipitation

This joint IAEA/WMO programme – monitoring isotopes in precipitation for the past 50 years – provides information for hydrological and other applications.

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Climate Change and the Atom

Developing the right response to climate change requires that we understand the science behind it. Isotopes in marine sediments, ice cores and other paleoclimatic archives can help reconstruct the
world´s climate history, including impact on the hydrological cycle.

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Water Resources Programme Leaflet

This Leaflet explains ‘Solutions Through Science’ and how this motto is applied by the Water Resources Programme.

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Water Resources Programme Brochure

The IAEA has been a pioneer in developing isotope hydrology as a powerful and effective scientific approach. Find out how the programme supports Member States in water resources management.

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Responsible/Contact: Isotope Hydrology Section | Last update: 19 October 2015