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Gamma irradiation

ANSTO operates a range of cobalt-60 gamma irradiators, providing the Australian community with a range of irradiation services for medical, health, industry, agriculture and research purposes.

Gamma rays, a form of electromagnetic radiation like X-rays, ionise atoms and in doing so create chemical changes in the material. For example, in living organisms this can result in damage to cells and the breakdown of DNA making it a useful way of killing bacteria, insects and other biological contaminants. For more information view the benefits of nuclear science.

Applications of gamma irradiation can include:

  • Food biosecurity

  • Agriculture

  • Horticulture

  • Radiobiology

  • Radiotherapy dosimetry

  • Polymer modification

  • Vaccine development

  • Research sample irradiation

  • Medical product dose verifications

  • Sterilisation of medical products and devices, including donated human tissue

ANSTO's unique gamma irradiation facilities enable the delivery of high doses of radiation with a high level of precision not achievable in industrial-scale irradiators.


Dose rates

0.001 to 30 Gy.min-1


10 mGy to 1 MGy


–78 °C (under dry ice) up to room temperature

Product size

Up to 1 m3

High dose dosimetry

ANSTO manufactures and calibrates radiation dosimeters for use in monitoring doses in high dose irradiation applications. The dosimeter measurements are traceable to the Australian standard for absorbed dose.

These reference standard dosimeters can provide traceable calibrations for routine dosimeters used by any provider of gamma irradiation services worldwide.

Our dosimeters can be used to calibrate any gamma radiation field from small blood irradiators to large industrial pallet or tote irradiators. Manufacturers of sterile medical products may conduct quality control checks on the dose delivered to their products in industrial irradiators.

Dosimeters are manufactured following international best practice for dosimetry in radiation processing (ISO 17025 and ISO/ASTM standards). ANSTO provides a supply and measurement service as well as supplying calibrated dosimeters to customers for irradiation and, upon return, report dosimeter readings. Download the factsheet for more information on our high dose dosimetry service.

Dosimetry systems


Dose range

Uncertainty (95% confidence)


50 – 350 Gy

2.0 %

Ceric Cerous (Low dose)

1 – 12 kGy    

3.0 %

Ceric Cerous (High dose)

10 – 50 kGy

3.5 %

Regulatory requirements

Operating within a highly regulated environment, ANSTO maintains a quality management system that complies with the following licences, standards and guidelines.

TGA Licence

For the radiation treatment of therapeutic goods

Biosecurity Licence

For the radiation treatment of goods subject to Australian quarantine


For the safe operation of radiation facilities

ISO 9001

Quality management system requirements


ANSTO also adheres to the principles of the following standards and guidelines:

ISO 11137

Substantiation of the sterilising dose for medical devices.


International best practice for dosimetry in radiation processing.


To discuss potential research that can be conducted using ANSTO's gamma irradiation and high-dose dosimetry services, or to obtain more information, please contact our team: