What is ERICA?

The ERICA Tool is a computerised, flexible software system that has a structure based upon the ERICA Integrated Approach to assessing the radiological risk to biota. The Tool was originally developed as one of the outputs from an FP EURATOM project, which ran from 2004 – 2007. Information from the original project, including reports and information on the project partners is available here.

The ERICA Tool includes a number of assessment components, including modelling transfer of radionuclides through the environment, estimating dose rates to biota from internal and external distributions of radionuclides, and establishing the significance of the dose rates received by organisms.


Structure of the ERICA Integrated Approach

The tool guides the user through the assessment process, recording information and decisions and allowing the necessary calculations to be performed to estimate risks to selected animals and plants, within a tiered assessment framework.

  • Tier 1 assessments are media concentration based and use pre-calculated Environmental Media Concentration Limits (EMCLs) to estimate risk quotients.
  • Tier 2 calculates dose rates but allows the user to examine and edit most of the parameters used in the calculation, including concentration ratios, distribution coefficients, percentage dry weight soil or sediment, radiation weighting factors and occupancy factors. Users can also add additional radionuclides and user-defined representative species.
  • Tier 3 offers the same flexibility as Tier 2 but allows the option to run the assessment probabilistically if the underlying parameter probability distribution functions are defined.

Results from the Tool can be put into context using incorporated data on dose effects relationships (using the FREDERICA database) and background dose rates. The detailed assessment approach is outline in the following figure.

The Tool has simple transport models embedded to enable conservative estimates of media activity concentrations from discharge data if measurements are not available; the transport models are taken from IAEA (2001) Generic models for use in assessing the impact of discharges of radioactive substances to the environment. IAEA Safety Report Series 19 STI/PUB/1102.

ERICA Consortium

The ERICA Tool is maintained by a consortium led by the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (DSA)

Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority

Country: Norway
Website: www.dsa.no

Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (DSA) is the national authority and expert body in matters concerning nuclear security, radiation use, natural radiation and radioactive contamination in the environment.

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA)

Country: Australia
Website: https://www.arpansa.gov.au/

ARPANSA is the Australian Government's primary authority on radiation protection and nuclear safety.

Environment Agency

Country: United Kingdom (England and Wales)
Website: www.environment-agency.gov.uk

The Environment Agency is an Executive Non-departmental Public Body responsible to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and a Welsh Government Sponsored Body responsible to the Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development.

Swedish Radiation Safety Authority

Country: Sweden

The Swedish Radiation Safety Authority is an authority under the Ministry of the Environment with national responsibility within the areas of nuclear safety, radiation protection and nuclear non-proliferation. The Authority works proactively and preventively in order to protect people and the environment from the undesirable effects of radiation, now and in the future.

International Union of Radioecology

Website: www.iur-uir.org

The International Union of Radioecology is an independant, non-political and non-profit scientific organisation for professional radioecologists. 

Technical Support & ERICA Development

The maintenance and development of the ERICA tool is performed by AFRY, in consultation with DSA, and supported by scientific and technical advice and support from the following organizations, notably related to the maintenance and update of databases of assessment parameters and effects:


Country: Spain
Website: www.ciemat.es

UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Country: United Kingdom
Website: www.ceh.ac.uk

University of Stirling

Country: United Kingdom (Scotland)
Website: www.stir.ac.uk

RadEcol Consulting Ltd.

Country: United Kingdom
Website: www.radecol.co.uk

RadEcol Consulting Ltd. provides the Technical Secretariat for the ERICA Consortium and other technical support, including QA and help documentation maintenance.