For radioprotection, the reference quantity is air kerma. For an cobalt-60 beam, the reference dosimeter is a cavity ionization chamber whose volume is measured. The new LNE-LNHB reference is based on six different chambers instead of one as was done previously. Although every new ionization chamber was treated as much as possible in the same way (manufacturing, measurements of volumes, wall effect calculations, current corrections), a maximum discrepancy of 0.2% was observed between the final measurement results from each chamber. The final value of the air kerma rate in reference conditions was determined as the mean value of the measurement results from all six chambers. Among the different factors whose determination is necessary to calculate the air kerma rate, some are considered independent of or common to all the graphite-walled ionization chambers (for example, mean energy expended by an electron to produce an ion pair in dry air), while others vary for each chamber (for example, air cavity ionic collection volume). Considering that the uncertainties of the individual ionizationchamber measurement results seem slightly underestimated, the uncertainty on the mean of the six chamber-dependent factors products was taken equal to the standard deviation of the sample composed of the six chamber-dependent factors products (0.08%). Compared to the previous standard, the air kerma rate of the 60Co photon beam would then increase by 0.09% and the air kerma rate uncertainty would drop from 0.38% to 0.31%. This article describes the procedure used to establish the primary standard in terms of absorbed dose to tissue of LNE-LNHB.

Key words

ionizing radiation metrology
air kerma