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IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Enhancing Nuclear Safety


Fields of activity

Nuclear & radiological emergency management

As in most accident situations, the action taken during the first few hours following a nuclear or radiological accident is crucial in terms of managing the emergency and its potential consequences for human health and the environment. For this action to be effective, the nature of the accident and its radiological impact must be identified rapidly and accurately, in order to provide the relevant public authorities with reliable decision support.

Radiological incidents and accidents

In the event of a radiological accident or incident, IRSN is called upon to assess the consequences for irradiated individuals and the environment, and to help decide on the most appropriate course of action.

Events in 2012:

  • Accidental contamination due to objects containing radium in Lyon
  • Mobilization following an incident at the Penly nuclear power plant.

For more information about these topics, consult IRSN's Activity Report 2012 - Chapter 03: Activities / Emergency and post-accident situation. 

Events in 2011:

  • Fukushima-Daiichi accident in Japan
  • Radiological accident in Bulgaria
  • Explosion in a metal waste furnace at Marcoule (France)
  • Release of iodine-131 in hungary 

For more information about these topics, consult IRSN's Activity Report 2011 - Chapter 03: Activities / Emergency and post-accident situations.

 

Preparing emergency response

IRSN medium- and long-term action-planning builds on experience gained from participation
in incident or accident response situations, leading to improvements in its organization,action, and response capabilities in cases such as these.

A special team is on call to respond to any emergency.In order to be able to assess the impact of a radiological accident on the population and the environment as accurately as possible, IRSN develops modeling tools for its Emergency Response Center. These tools are used for assessing the radiological impact of an accidental release, estimating the doses received by persons exposed to ionizing radiation, and developing treatment strategies.

The Institute's emergency response organization is improved constantly to be able to perform reliable measurements and analisys of contamination and exposure in emergency, and to evaluate strategies based on the administration of stable iodine to prevent the risk of thyroid cancer.

To enhance its readiness for nuclear emergencies, IRSN prepares its laboratories to perform emergency radioactivity measurements on sampls that exhibit particularly complex forms of contaminations. External laboratories are also invited to take part is this preparation.

Topics IRSN worded on in 2012:

  • New method for assessing accidental atmospheric releases
  • First emergency response exercise for urinary radiotoxicology
  • Development of internal field exercises
  • Biological dosimetry in a simulated emergency
  • New emergency response vehicles.

For more information about these topics, consult IRSN's Activity Report 2012 - Chapter 03: Activities / Emergency and post-accident situation. 

Topics IRSN worded on in 2011:

  • Taking dietary habits into account in dosimetric assessments
  • Faster analysis for biological dosimetry: Validation of a semi-automated dosimetry method to enable rapid triage of irradiated and un-irradiated people in the envent of a radiological accident
  • Assessment of the CRITER tool for centralization and diffusion of results of environmental measurements
  • New decision support tool in the event of pollution in the Mediterranean

For more information about these topics, consult IRSN's Activity Report 2011 - Chapter 03: Activities / Emergency and post-accident situations.

 

Post-accident phase

IRSN is a member of the post-accident sterring committee (CODIR-PA) set up by the public authorities to prepare the management of the post-accident phase of a nuclear accident or a radiological event. In this context, IRSN led two working groups working on :

  • the method for making predictive assessments of radiological and dosimetric impact in a nuclear post-accident situation
  • the assessment methods and radioactiviy measuring that could be used in a nuclear post-accident situation, in order to quantify the area contaminated and the doses received by individuals exposed.

As part of the activities of the CODIR-PA, IRSN had previously prepared :

  • a draft guide for the local authorities concerned (prefectures and municipal councils) to help them through the emergency phase in the event of a nuclear accident
  • a good practices guide for laboratories measuring radioactivity in a post-accident situation.
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