Worldwide Open Proficiency Tests for Nuclear and Related Analytical Techniques Laboratories

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) assists its Member State laboratories to maintain their capabilities and services by producing reference materials, developing standardized analytical methods, and conducting inter-laboratory comparisons and proficiency tests as tools for quality assurance and quality control of analytical results. To fulfil this obligation and ensure a reliable, rapid and consistent response, the IAEA Nuclear Science and Instrumentation Laboratory (NSIL), as part of the IAEA’s Physics Section and located in Seibersdorf, organizes and coordinates periodic proficiency tests for laboratories using nuclear and related analytical techniques.

The NSIL proficiency tests are carried out within the IAEA projects on Nuclear Instrumentation and Research Reactor Utilization, both under the Nuclear Science Programme. These projects aim, among other objectives, to enhance the analytical capabilities of interested Member States and employ them in the areas such as fundamental research, industry, human health, agriculture, environment, cultural heritage, forensics and some others.

Since 2002, 194 laboratories from 81 countries have participated in the PTs. The geographical outreach of our PT can be viewed in this Map of PT participants.

Participating in periodic proficiency tests is one of the most effective ways for a laboratory to monitor and assess its analytical performance. This practice can be used to identify the results with unsuspected bias and to improve the quality of the analytical services provided. The NSIL proficiency tests are designed to identify analytical challenges or problems, to support IAEA Member States laboratories to improve the quality of their analytical results, to pursue/maintain, when applicable, their accreditation and to provide a regular forum for discussion and share of experience in this technical area. The type of samples, matrices and the concentration levels of the elements are selected after identifying the current needs in the IAEA Member States through extensive questionnaire prior to the proficiency tests.

Only laboratories registered in our database can take part in the exercises. In order to be added to the database, please send an email to or to

The testing samples are shipped at no cost to the laboratories that accept the invitation and commit to the proficiency test. A time frame of typically three months is granted to perform the analysis, then results are uploaded by participants directly on this website ( A preliminary evaluation of the results submitted by a laboratory is automatically generated for download upon the deadline for submission of results. The final report becomes available for downloading from the same website at the end of each proficiency test round.

Introductory Video: view or download

Last Proficiency Test

PTNATIAEA/21Sample materialssoil sample with elevated mass fractions of elements
plant sample
CoordinatorAlessandro Migliori
Starting date24 May 2023
Accept invitation deadline 16 June 2023
Data reporting deadline26 January 2024
Final report date20 March 2024
Download PDF final report

Previous Proficiency Tests

PTNATIAEA/20April 2022 - December 2022clay sample
plant sample
Download PDF final report
PTNATIAEA/19May 2021 - March 2022clay sample
plant sample
Download PDF final report
PTNATIAEA/18February 2020 - May 2021SoilDownload PDF final report
PTNAAIAEA/17July 2019 - March 2020Land-plant
Download PDF final report
PTNATIAEA/16March 2019 - October 2019Cereal GrainDownload PDF final report
PTNAAIAEA/15July 2018 - February 2019Marine Sediment
Animal Tissue
Download PDF final report
IAEAPTXRF/14March 2018 - August 2018Urban Dust Loaded on Air FiltersDownload PDF final report
IAEAPTXRF/13November 2016 - November 2017ClayDownload PDF final report
IAEAPTXRF/12May 2015 - December 2015Plant sampleDownload PDF final report
IAEAPTXRF/11March 2014 - April 2015Trace elements in water sample (~10 mg/L)
Trace elements in water sample (~0.1 mg/L)
Commercial drinking water
Download PDF final report
IAEAPTXRF/10March 2013 - December 2013Sandy SoilDownload PDF final report
IAEAPTXRF/09March 2012 - December 2012River ClayDownload PDF final report
IAEAPTXRF/08April 2011 - December 2011Natural soilDownload PDF final report
IAEAPTXRF/06February 2009 - December 2009Grass mixtureDownload PDF final report
IAEAPTXRF/05February 2008 - November 2008Marine sedimentDownload PDF final report
IAEAPTXRF/04January 2007 - November 2007ClayDownload PDF final report
IAEAPTXRF/03October 2005 - November 2006Urban Dust Artificially Loaded on Air FiltersDownload PDF final report
IAEAPTXRF/02December 2004 - August 2005LichenDownload PDF final report
IAEAPTXRF/01September 2001 - May 2002Lake sedimentDownload PDF final report