Learning about European EMI/RFI standards (video)

One of the greatest hurdles any newcomer to EMI/RFI in the nuclear power industry must overcome is getting a grasp of the European EMC standards. In this video I teach you how to start wrapping your mind around them . . . .

Compliance with the European laws and standards is denoted by the “CE” mark, which is stamped on products or their packaging to indicate that they meet the relevant laws.

I have produced a video lesson that gives an introduction to this particular topic. It’s embedded below, ready to watch. Just click play:

It’s approximately 25 minutes long. It covers some history of the International and European standards bodies, uses real-life examples to illustrate key points, explains the connection between product-family standards and generic standards, examines the limits of both, and compares them to the FCC’s. It ends with a review.

EMI/RFI in the nuclear power industry is largely a game of knowing the standards. I’ve helped a few engineers through the beginner’s basics, and though they can often come to terms with the FCC rules fairly quickly, they’re easily bogged down when facing the European standards.


Well, here’s an example. Regulatory Guide 1.180 is the NRC’s guideline for determining whether new digital devices installed in nuclear power plants are compatible with their electromagnetic environment. One emission standard they endorse is IEC 61000-6-4 for products intended for installation in industrial environments.

But most products aren’t actually tested to the IEC standards. They are tested to EN standards (I explain why in the video). But Reg Guide 1.180 is completely silent about EN standards. So we’re faced with a situation in which a set of standards is endorsed, but no products are actually tested to them.

What’s the relationship between, say, IEC 61000-6-4 and EN 61000-6-4? Are they the same thing? If they are the same, why do they have different names? What about EN 61000-6-3? There’s no mention of it (or IEC 61000-6-3) in RG 1.180, either, but sometimes devices are tested to it instead of 61000-6-4. How does it compare?

It’s useful to have a guide to get you started. My video is meant to act as that guide. It’s not the most interesting of topics, but I tried to give you the most critical information in as little time as possible. You be the judge on whether I succeeded.