Since 2007, LAFARA has specialised in low level radioactivity measurements using gamma spectrometry.
The lab is equipped with 5 last-gen gamma spectrometers, settled in underground environment. These spectrometers allow to identify the radionuclides within a given sample and quantify their activities. Analysis are performed for scientific research, environmental survey as well as materials characterisation.
LAFARA is located in an EDF (Electricité de France) tunnel at Ferrières-sur-Ariège, nearby Foix city, in southern France. The lab is placed below a rock cover of 85 m thick (250 m water-equivalent). These 300 My aged meta-sedimentary rocks offer a natural protection shield against cosmic radiations. The spectrometers then show a particularly low background level.
The lab is fully remotely controlled from the Observatoire Midi Pyrénées in Toulouse.
A privileged situation
The combination of selected materials and undergroud environment allow to decrease the backgroud level by a factor 63 compared to a above ground location.
LAFARA is part of the PANGEE environmental analysis platform from the Midi Pyrenees Observatory (Paul Sabatier University – Toulouse III). It has been labeled as platform by the Région Occitanie.
LAFARA belongs to the european underground laboratories network CELLAR (Collaboratio of European Low-Level Undergroud Laboratories. In 2016, LAFARA has received an important funding from Europe & Région Occitanie. This project included private-public collaborations and allowed to mordenise significantly the installations.