Application to participate in the Worldwide proficiency test IAEA-TEL-2011-01 on the determination of stable isotopes in water

The IAEA Environment Laboratories (IAEA-EL) are planning to organize a proficiency test on the determination of stable isotopes in water under the following schedule:

Target group: Laboratories performing water stable isotope analysis (δ2H, δ18O) on natural water samples. This proficiency test is open for laboratories worldwide, but is limited to a maximum number of 200 participants. Participation is encouraged especially for recently established laboratories, and those using infrared laser spectroscopy methods. The results of this proficiency test may serve as indicator to assure the quality of laboratory operation as requested by laboratory accreditation and certification schemes (e.g. ISO17025).
Matrices: Natural water samples, partly distilled.
Analytes: δ2H, δ18O


After successful registration and confirmation email by IAEA, each laboratory will receive four different water samples with isotopic compositions ranging from that of sea water to that of continental precipitation (to about -16‰ for δ18O and -120 ‰ for4 δ2H). Each sample is provided in an amount of 20ml in a flame sealed glass ampoule. The analytical results of each laboratory will be evaluated against pre-established reference values and associated uncertainties.

Both registration and data submission for this proficiency test will be web-based. Each participant will be provided with an individual access code and password to a web-site for submission of data as well as later on for retrieval of assessment reports.>

Immediately after end of the data reporting period on 31 August 2011, by 1 September 2011 each laboratory can download an individual report with statements on its performance. A first draft report of the proficiency test including data from all laboratories will be prepared tentatively by December 2011 and will be published later in the IAEA Analytical Quality Series.

Each participant is requested to provide for each measured analyte of each sample an average value and uncertainty using the web-site form. Additionally it is kindly requested to use a provided template Excel-file to upload to the web-site the individual results of all performed measurements on these four samples. These individual data in the Excel-file will be used to better document the standard deviation of all individual measurements as one important component for uncertainty statements.

In addition each participant should provide further information to IAEA to enable an in-depth analysis of provided data: this includes but is not limited to information on type of instrument and method, number of analyses performed, typical measurement uncertainty for each analyte using that instrumentation.

In case of use of more than one type of instrumentation, the participant can register each instrument individually. In case such data are combined in the laboratory and submitted together, this should be indicated and the used instruments be listed.

In view of the upcoming summer holiday period, laboratories are encouraged to register as soon as possible. Then the samples can be shipped already in June, providing additional analysis time to participants before start of summer holidays.

On a voluntary basis laboratories are encouraged to participate in validation of a developed calibration spreadsheet, which allows for easy uncertainty assessment of routine data produced by several different analytical methods. It is envisaged to include in the final proficiency test report a comparison of the results obtained by using this method to those obtained using the routine method of each laboratory.

Contact Information

Mr. Manfred Gröning
International Atomic Energy Agency
Environmental Laboratories NAEL
Terrestrial Environment Laboratory TEL

Tel: +431 2600 28234,
Fax: +431 2600 728234,


Tentative time schedule

27 May 2011 Opening date for on-line registration, start of sending confirmations to participants and for shipment of samples.
30 June 2011 Closing date for on-line registration
11 July 2011 Latest shipment of samples to participants
31 August 2011 Results submission deadline
1 September 2011 Individual evaluation reports ready for download by each laboratory
20 December 2011 Draft Summary report
During 2012 Publication of the final summary report in the IAEA Analytical Quality Series
For more information contact the PT officer Mr. Manfred Gröning at:

Last update: May 27, 2011
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