The discipline of radionuclide metrology at national standards institutes started in 1913 with the certification by Curie, Rutherford and Meyer of the first primary standards of radium. In early years, radium was a valuable commodity and the aim of the standards was largely to facilitate trade. The focus later changed to providing standards for the new wide range of radionuclides, so that radioactivity could be used for healthcare and industrial applications while minimising the risk to patients, workers and the environment. National measurement institutes responded to the changing demands by developing new techniques for realising primary standards of radioactivity. Looking ahead, there are likely to be demands for standards for new radionuclides used in nuclear medicine, an expansion of the scope of the field into quantitative imaging to facilitate accurate patient dosimetry for nuclear medicine, and an increasing need for accurate standards for radioactive waste management and nuclear forensics. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
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