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Scientific News

Scientific collaboration
IRSN renews cooperation agreement with ENEA

Jean-Christophe Niel, Director-General of IRSN, and Federico Testa, President of the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), have signed the cooperation agreement on nuclear safety radiation protection between the two organizations for five years.


This agreement, first signed during the Franco-Italian Summit on 9 April 2010, was originally devoted to provide a framework for cooperation between France and Italy in the nuclear sector, and more particularly in the areas of research, nuclear safety and radiation protection. This came under the broader Memorandum of Understanding between France and Italy on cooperation in the civil nuclear sector signed in 2009.


The renewal of the agreement between IRSN and ENEA consolidates this cooperation, with the systematic objective of improving safety of nuclear facilities. To this end, the two organizations have identified a number of "specific subjects for cooperation" they share an interest for and they intend to work together. These subjects include R&D on nuclear fusion, the development of Monte-Carlo codes, emergency response management and passive safety. Over the last seven years, in addition to the use of shared tools (computational codes, research platform, etc.), their cooperation has also helped strengthen both partners' role within the European research platforms and the Etson network.


In the incoming years, IRSN and ENEA will pursue work on several subjects of particular interest within the framework of this agreement, for example, extending the lifetime of nuclear power plants, the future commissioning of the EPR and responses to the Fukushima accident in terms of radiation protection and site cleanup.

Photo: J.-C. Niel -on the left- and F. Testa are signing the cooperation agreement. © IRSN

To find out more about ENEA
Read the IRSN press release of 9 April 2010

Scientific collaboration

End of the European COMET project


From April 25 to 27, the COMET (Coordination and Implementation of a pan-Europe Instrument for Radioecology) consortium has held its final meeting in Bruges, Belgium, on the project underway since 2013. The event has focused on its major contributions to the main issues in radioecology* and efforts to maintain the high level of research in this area in Europe. The project's future will also be discussed.


SCK•CEN (Belgium's nuclear research center) has led the COMET consortium as part of the European Commission's 7th Research and Development Framework Program. The group includes 20 partners from 15 countries, mostly European. One of its goals is to continue standardizing and pooling research, facilities and activities that capitalize on the various partners' knowledge and training programs. The four-year project has also produced new knowledge and tools consistent with the European Radioecology Alliance's strategic research agenda (SRA).


The IRSN actively contributed by participating in research aiming to improve and validate various models of radionuclide transfer in the environment. It also coordinated activities and contributed to research that increases knowledge on the trans-generational effects of chronic exposure to ionizing radiation in wild species, focusing on the role of epigenetic processes.


* The study of the transport and transfer of radionuclides in the environment and their potential impact on human being and ecosystems

COMET website

Scientific collaborationSecond transnational CONCERT call for proposals

In March, the European CONCERT consortium (European Joint Program for the Integration of Radiation Protection Research) has launched its second call for proposals in the field of radiation protection in Europe. There are three goals: to support transnational research projects that combine innovative approaches in the field of radiation protection; to integrate expertise and technical (E&T) activities as well as cooperation with universities on multidisciplinary research projects; and to make optimal use of existing research infrastructures.


Proposals on two main themes, each including three sub-themes, may be submitted online until May, 2 :

  • Understanding human health effects from ionising radiation and improving dosimetry
  • Radioecology, emergency and social sciences and humanities.


Launched in 2015 after the first call for projects at the 8th European radiation protection program EURATOM, CONCERT aims to sustainably integrate national and European research projects into a joint European radiation protection program. the consortium is an umbrella structure for four European radiation protection platforms: MELODI (low doses), The Alliance (radioecology), NERIS (emergency situation management) and EURADOS (dosimetry). The IRSN is one of the organizations the French authorities designated to head the project for France. The others are the National Research Agency (ANR) and the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).


Full text of the call for projects

To submit a project

To find out more about CONCERT

Publication of the book "Element of security and non-proliferation"


EP-EN_Couv.jpgIRSN publishes a new book in its Science and Technology Series, entitled "Elements of security and non-proliferation". It describes the measures implemented in France and at international level to prevent terrorism and malicious acts and, if necessary, mitigate the consequences of any such act. It deals with the security of nuclear material, nuclear facilities and the transport of nuclear material, the security of radioactive sources and describes States' undertakings to implement safeguards relative to tracking nuclear material and chemicals to prevent their use for fraudulent purposes.


This is the first publication in a new series of educational publications entitled "Elements of nuclear safety, radiological protection and security" and created by IRSN. The series takes up the general objective of tackling all aspects of risk management in the nuclear field, in terms of protecting human health, society and the environment. These publications will be of interest to anyone concerned by these issues, especially those who work in the nuclear industry, but it will also answer many questions that members of the public may have regarding these subjects. It includes information on context and history, the provisions and requirements contained in French regulations and international agreements, as well as details of the roles played by the various entities involved, including IRSN.


The book published by the IRSN is available in its entirety, in the printable (B & W) and non-printable (color) PDF formats. It is also possible to order a hard copy and will soon be available in e-pub.

To find out more about the Science and Technology Series
To download the unprintable, in colour, PDF book

Research programs
Call for H2020-Euratom projects: IRSN is participating in eight of the projects chosen as beneficiaries
The European Commission has just published the results of its 2016-2017 H2020 Euratom “Fission and Fusion” call for projects. IRSN is participating in eight of the 25 new European projects selected as beneficiaries, which will be launched during the year. From the Commission, the institute receives a €2-million share of a total €41-million subsidy—all partners included—for the eight projects. In addition, IRSN will be a member of a consultative group without funding for three other projects involving MOX fuels, in-core neutron monitoring techniques and waste storage.

Regarding generation II and III nuclear reactors, the institute will contribute to three projects: ATLAS+ (Advanced Tools for Structural Integrity Assessment and Plant Lifetime Management) on the integrity of welded pipe seals, NARSIS (New Approach to Reactor Safety Improvements) on extreme risks and probability studies and TEAM CABLES (European Tools and Methodologies for an Efficient Ageing Management of Nuclear Power Plant Cables) on ageing electric cables in Europe’s existing nuclear power plants.

IRSN will also participate in several research projects involving generation IV reactors: ESFR-SMART (European Sodium Fast Reactor-Safety Measures Assessment and Research Tools) concerning sodium-cooled reactors, GENIORS (GEN IV Integrated Oxide Fuels Recycling Strategies) concerning MOX fuel, as well as one project concerning small modular reactors (SMR), GEMINI PLUS (Research and Development in Support of the GEMINI Initiative).

With regard to radiological protection, IRSN will take part in two projects: MEDIRAD (Implications of Medical Low Dose Radiation Exposure) on the risks of low-dose radiotherapy and TRANSAT (Transversal Actions for Tritium) on tritium’s effects on man and the environment.

To find out more about IRSN's scientific collaborations

Research programs
IRSN and RIR sign a collaboration agreement as part of TERRITORIES
The IRSN and the Research Institute of Radiology (RIR) signed a collaboration agreement in Fontenay-aux-Roses on March 23 as part of the European project TERRITORIES launched in late January.

The cooperation agreement between the RIR (Gomel, Belarus) and the IRSN will allow the two institutes to jointly develop a research project, TERRITORIES, which aims at studying exposure situations in the long term. This project will also assess the importance of involving stakeholders in protecting the public from radiation. TERRITORIES must lay the groundwork for the development of a method to reduce uncertainty during decision-making processes evaluating doses to wildlife and human populations after a nuclear accident or at former mining sites.

The IRSN and RIR will cooperate on assessing the importance of time and space variations in food contamination in a Belarusian village. They will also evaluate the effectiveness of local stakeholders’ involvement in decreasing the population’s exposure. The TERRITORIES project will rely on the research to draw up the recommendations for a graduated approach to measuring doses, adopting a level of realism appropriate to the issues involved in describing exposure scenarios. The data can also be used as entry data for other research programs on chronic low-dose contamination in post-accident situations.

To find out more about the kick-off of the TERRITORIES project
To find out more about LRTOX, IRSN laboratory involved in this agreement

The 13th issue of Aktis, IRSN’s scientific newsletter, is available
Aktis-13-EN.jpg The thirteenth English-language issue of Aktis, the quarterly newsletter on IRSN’s research, is available on a HTML and PDF package. Aktis is published only in a digital version and available in HTML or text format for e-mail, RSS and a pageflip PDF. 
In this issue, focus on geochemical investigations downstream from former mines. Aktis n°13 also treats of NUCLEA, a thermodynamic database for materials. As well, it deals with the assessment of the “biological dose” received in the case of contamination and with using stem cells to treat radiation-induced visceral pain.
The subscription for the English and French versions is complimentary. To read this issue or subscribe, go to

Research programs

The final workshop of the European PASSAM project


On February 28 and March 01 the final workshop was held in the context of the PASSAM project, which had been coordinated by the IRSN with its eight European partners between 2013 and 2016.   The workshop brought together approximately one hundred persons and was intended to discuss the results of this project concerning the filtration of radioactive atmospheric releases following a core meltdown accident at a light-water nuclear reactor.


The PASSAM project (Passive and Active Systems on Severe Accident Source Term Mitigation) was launched in 2013 as part of the European Commission's 7th FP (Framework Program for Research and Development). With a view to enhancing the process concerned, it studied the retention of radioactive atmospheric releases that may reach the environment following a core meltdown accident at a nuclear reactor such as those that occurred at Fukushima-Daiichi in 2011. This project focused particularly on the enhancement of nuclear reactors' existing filtration systems and the study of innovative devices for trapping iodine compounds (in aerosol and gaseous form) which, in the short term, represent the highest risk to health.


In four years, the PASSAM project made it possible to constitute a database of the characteristics of each filtration system studied. It will be useful not only to the various national nuclear safety authorities, but also to their technical safety organizations (TSOs) and to industrial companies, with a view to increasing the reliability of the devices existing in nuclear power plants currently in service or to installing new systems.


A number of existing devices were reviewed (pool scrubbing filters, sand filters and metallic pre-filters), in addition to a number of innovative systems (high-pressure sprays, electrostatic precipitators, advanced zeolites, acoustic agglomerator systems, and combined wet-dry filtration systems). The observations arising from the experiments conducted during the PASSAM project have made it possible to establish new calculation models and to enhance the existing models. These models mainly provide input into the calculation software programs for severe accidents, particularly the IRSN's system of ASTEC programs, used in the European Union, but also calculation programs specifically designed for pool scrubbing. 


The results of the PASSAM project are the subject of a final report, published in February 2017 and available on the projects website.

The PASSAM project

EURADOS Young Scientist Award goes to IRSN researcher
The work rewarded relates to an intercomparison proposed and implemented by LEDI as part of EURADOS. The intercomparison aimed to evaluate the internal dose received by nuclear workers, as part of epidemiological studies on the induced risks of uranium exposure. Sixteen participants evaluated the doses received by three professionally active nuclear workers between 1960 and the early 1980s, through raw data supplied by IRSN.
Estelle Davesne then analyzed all of the results obtained, determining the sources of uncertainty over the reconstituted doses based on epidemiological data. She was able to identify the parameters on which there was consensus (such as the ICRP's biokinetic and dosimetric models) as well as those which could be refined through modeling (such as lung absorption, exposure period, etc.). Using the first study, she will be performing a sensitivity analysis to evaluate the degree of influence of these parameters on dose estimates. It is the first intercomparison of this type, and the results will be particularly useful to epidemiologists in monitoring cohorts of workers.
Each year, the EURADOS Young Scientist Award recognizes work carried out by scientists under the age of 35 under the guidance of this network in the field of ionizing radiation dosimetry. The research will lead to scientific publications and presentations at international conferences.
The EURADOS permanent network is comprised of experts and reference laboratories in radioprotection, radiobiology, diagnosis and radiotherapy, and aims to support scientific and technical research in the field of ionizing radiation dosimetry in Europe and internationally. The main objectives are to align existing work practices, establish a dosimetry training approach and be part of the CONCERT European Consortium.

To find out more about the involved IRSN laboratory
To find out more about the EURADOS network

Research programs
Launch of the European CONFIDENCE project

The kick-off meeting for the European CONFIDENCE1 project took place in Karlsruhe, Germany on 16 and 17 February. CONFIDENCE was selected after a call for projects by CONCERT, the European joint programming tool whose goals include consolidating various radioprotection research projects2. The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology runs CONFIDENCE, which involves 31 partners3, including IRSN, from 18 European countries.


Confidence aims at reducing uncertainties in decision-making processes during a nuclear crisis, in order to better protect the population and minimize disruption to their lives. To achieve that goal, CONFIDENCE will use a multidisciplinary approach, dealing with every aspect of the radiological situation during a nuclear accident, from predicting the dispersion of radioactivity in the environment to implementing post-accidental decontamination solutions and assessing potential consequences for the population. This approach takes all the stakeholders' opinions into account (institutional structures, experts, NGOs, citizens, etc.). An objective is to improve decision-making tools and methods in the management of nuclear crises.


The project comprises six work packages (WP). IRSN is the leader of WP1, which will study the uncertainties tainting the technical evaluations made during a nuclear accident's emergency phase, that is, before and during the release period. The Institute also participates in WP2, which focuses on improving environmental measurements and evaluating the amount of radioactivity the population might receive if protective measures are not taken, especially in the event of emissions containing radioactive iodine. Lastly, IRSN contributes to WP4, which develops decision-making strategies to manage the post-accidental phase. These strategies are based on interactions with the stakeholders and aim at taking identified uncertainties into account in the decision process.


WP1 will use an approach called "ensemble forecast", which consists in performing many atmospheric dispersion simulations of accidental radioactive releases, in order to evaluate the radiological risk in a probabilistic way rather than with a deterministic response. Specifically, WP1 will list and assess parameters that are sources of uncertainty, not only input variables such as meteorological forecasts (wind direction, rain, etc.) and atmospheric emissions (composition, amount, time and duration), but also numerical approximations and  limitations of the scientific models used. Then, the uncertainties will be evaluated and propagated through dispersion models, to quantify their effects on the radiological consequences (soil contamination, evaluation of doses to the population, etc.). The quantification of uncertainties could then be integrated to recommendations to protect the population. For example maps of probability of threshold exceedance for dose can be provided to decision makers, based on reference levels above which counter-measures (sheltering, evacuation, stable iodine intake) are recommended. The 2011 Fukushima accident and hypothetical accident scenarios in Europe will be studied. The end goal is to make this method operational during a crisis (short calculation time, simplicity of use, lack of information, etc.). WP1's simulation outputs will be used by other WPs, especially the panels of stakeholders brought together by WP4 and WP5.


After the CONFIDENCE project, tools, guidelines and recommendations will be issued to help experts making ensemble evaluations, and decision-makers taking these uncertainties into account in the event of an accident.



1. COping with uNcertainties For Improved modelling and DEcision making in Nuclear emergenCiEs

2. CONCERT-European Joint Programme for the Integration of Radiation Protection Research 

3. KIT (Germany), BFS (Germany), NERC-CEH (United Kingdom), CEPN (France), CIEMAT (Spain), EPA (Ireland), EEAE (Greece), HMGU (Germany), IRSN (France), Mutadis (France), NMBU (Norway), NRPA (Norway), Zurich University (Switzerland), DH PHE (United Kingdom), DTU (Denmark), RIVM (Netherlands), SCK-CEN (Belgium), STUK (Finland), UMIL (Italy), VUJE (Slovakia), KNMI (Netherlands), APA (Portugal), Dialogik (Germany), Warwick University (United Kingdom), IST (Portugal), REC (Slovenia), DLO RIKILT (Netherlands), University of Extremadura (Spain), Met Office (United Kingdom), MTA EK (Hungary), NMI (Norway)

Research programs
4th Meeting of the AMORAD project's Scientific and Technical Committee
The 4th meeting of the AMORAD project's STC took place at the Fontenay-aux-Roses site on Friday, 10 February. IRSN coordinates the AMORAD project, selected by the "Agence nationale de recherche" (ANR) during the 2012 call for research in nuclear safety and radioprotection. Launched in November 2013, it aims to improve models for predicting radionuclide dispersion and transfer in the environment, thereby reducing the uncertainties associated to radiological risk assessments to humans and the consequences in the event of a serious nuclear accident such as those that occurred at Chernobyl and Fukushima. Halfway through the project, which will end in late 2019, discussions between the partners led them to agree on the relevance of the findings obtained in order to deliver recommendations and tools allowing the implementation of an integrated approach to support decision-making in the event of a nuclear accident, whether it impacts the marine environment directly or indirectly, via the continuum of catchment areas from the continental environment (e.g., forests and forest soils) to the ocean. From the beginning of the project to the end of 2016, the research resulted in the publication of 18 articles in international scientific journals and the delivery of 55 papers at symposia. IRSN, together with its 12 partners, is pursuing the program by gradually validating transfer models developed and by expanding the multidimensional scientific and socio-economic expertise necessary for decision-making.

To find out more about AMORAD project

AwardIRSN team wins Electronic Poster Award

An IRSN team (PRP-HOM/UEM) working with physicists from several medical centers[1] won the jury's "special mention" for its electronic poster presented during the Journées Francophones de la Radiologie (JFR) in Paris in October 2016. Among the 700 posters on display during the event, it was one of the most viewed by participants.


The poster, "Breast Digital Tomosynthesis:[2] Dose and Internal Quality Control", highlighted the findings of a study aiming to assess various 3D mammography systems in terms of dose and image quality, as well as to evaluate several phantoms that could be recommended for quality control. Many centers in France already offer Breast Digital Tomosynthesis (DBT), and the introduction of this technique within the French breast cancer screening program is being considered by the authorities in the coming years. Quality control protocols must therefore be developed for this technology.


The study has shown that the diversity in design of DBT systems leads to variability in terms of image quality and dose depending on breast thickness. Therefore it seems necessary to monitor DBT systems on a regular basis. Moreover, two phantoms exhibit interesting features for internal quality control.


Organized by the Société Française de la Radiologie (SFR), which promotes scientific advances in radiology, the yearly JFR event is a major event for French and French-speaking radiology specialists.


[1] Georges Pompidou European Hospital/Paris V University, Jean Verdier Hospital/Paris XIII University, Gustave Roussy Institute, Curie Institute, Saint-Louis Hospital/Paris VII University

[2] Breast Digital Tomosynthesis is a new breast imaging technology that some clinical studies say offers more sensitive and specific cancer detection because the superimposition of tissue is reduced compared to 2D mammography.

To see the electronic poster (PDF in French)

Research programs
Kick-off of the European TERRITORIES project
On Friday, January 27, 2017, the kick-off meeting was held in Paris for the European TERRITORIES project1, which was selected in a call for projects by CONCERT2, a European “joint programming” tool which counts integrating radiation protection research among its objectives.

The aim of the project, under the direction of IRSN, is to construct a method to reduce uncertainties during decision-making processes by taking into account the involvement of all stakeholders (institutions, experts, associations, citizens, etc.) to assess doses to human and wild animal populations in order to manage the risk linked to long term exposure in contaminated areas after a nuclear accident or situations involving naturally-occuring radionuclides (NORM) contamination. The project involves 11 partners3 from eight European countries and will last three years.

To reach this objective, the partners must develop a harmonized approach at the European level which is applicable to all situations involving long-term environmental exposure to radioactivity. This approach will be made available to decision-makers while taking into account all sources of uncertainty. It will be used in a guide explaining the approach for decision-making made jointly with stakeholders for managing areas where human and non-human populations are exposed over the long term to radioactivity that is significantly higher than natural background radiation.

1. To Enhance unceRtainties Reduction and stakeholders Involvement TOwards integrated and graded Risk management of humans and wildlife In long-lasting radiological Exposure Situations

2. CONCERT-European Joint Programme for the Integration of Radiation Protection Research

3. Partners include IRSN (France), BfS (Germany), CEPN (France), CIEMAT (Spain), NMBU (Norway), NRPA (Norway), Public Health England (United Kingdom), Belgium Nuclear Research Center (Belgium), STUK (Finland), University of Tartu (Estonia), Mutadis (France).

4th International Conference on Radioecology and Environmental Radioactivity (ICRER 2017): call for papers
The 4th International Conference on Radioecology and Environmental Radioactivity (ICRER) will be held in Berlin, Germany, 3-8 September 2017. The conference is organised by IRSN and NRPA, with the support of the European research platform in radioprotection (notably ALLIANCE, MELODI, NERIS), the AIEA and IUR.

The scientific programme will be comprised of selected oral presentations and posters, spread in nine different sessions (the sessions list is available on ICRER website).
People who want to attend the conference may submit their abstract on the conference website until February 28, 2017.

The aim of the conference is to review and discuss recent achievements in radioecology and related disciplines, as well as to promote continued development in these subjects in order to improve radiological protection of humans and the environment. The conference will be a key forum for researchers, industry, regulators and experts for whom radioactivity in the environment is an interest area.

Research programsFirst power operation of the CABRI reactor since 2003

The last quarter of 2016 included the first power operation tests of the Cabri facility in more than a decade. A long test campaign of power transients (startup tests) will begin in January 2017 to characterize the entire operating domain of the facility. The startup tests verify that this CEA experimental reactor is ready for the first test of IRSN's CABRI International Program (CIP).


The initial power operation tests served to qualify the instrumentation of the Cabri facility by achieving several power levels from 5 to 23 MW and calibrate the neutron chambers used for online measurement of reactor power. In large part they constitute the final phase for requalification of the Cabri facility and complement the qualification tests of the reactor's new pressurized water loop in its nominal conditions (280°C and 155 bar). Analysis of these tests is required to receive authorization to carry out the CIP.


Power operation follow initial criticality of the Cabri reactor, October 20, 2015, in its new, post-renovation configuration. Performed between October 2015 and June 2016, low power  tests (< 100 kW) have been used for neutron characterization of the reactor core. From 2003 to 2015, the Cabri reactor underwent an important renovation phase to respond to the requirements of CIP and current safety requirements (earthquake, fire, transport, etc.): seismic reinforcement of buildings and equipment, upgrade for controlling fire risk (measures to limit spread of a fire, etc.), renovation of several systems including reactor core cooling, replacement of nuclear ventilation and I&C, and in particular, replacement of the sodium test loop with the new pressurized water loop which reliably reproduces the pressure (155 bar) and temperature (280°C) conditions of a pressurized water reactor (PWR).


Originally, the Cabri reactor was intended for tests to study reactivity accidents[i] taken into account in the safety demonstration of certain research reactors. It went critical for the very first time in 1964. In 1977-78 the reactor was reconverted: the core was changed and the facility equipped with a loop reproducing the operating conditions of sodium-cooled fast reactors. From 1978 to 2001, safety tests for the Phénix and Superphénix fast reactors were performed followed by sodium loop studies of reactivity accidents in PWRs (PWR-Na program, 1993-2000). In 2000, after changes in the conditions for using fuel in reactors and to supplement the previous REP-Na program, IRSN launched CIP under the auspices of the OECD. Consisting of tests at the Cabri facility, it will study the behavior of PWR fuel rods during a reactivity accident with the fuel rods in conditions that are identical to those of the reactor. The program includes a total of 12 tests, of which two were already completed on the sodium loop in 2002. The tests will supplement the complete phenomenology of RIAs, particularly in the advanced phase for which the nature of the fluid (water or sodium) affects the physical phenomena that occur, especially the quantity of heat extracted from fuel rods by the cooling fluid. They will also refine the simulations that contribute to safety assessments.


[i] Reactivity injection accidents, often called reactivity accidents or reactivity-initiated accidents (RIAs),  are generally taken into account in the reactor design. For PWRs, they result from the failure of a mechanism controlling a control rod assembly, which helps to regulate the nuclear reaction. Reactivity accidents leads to a rapid, violent generation of energy in the fuel.

To find out more about CABRI reactor
To find out more about CIP program

Research programs - Nuclear waste
Two new IRSN research projects selected following the Andra/ANR call for projects
Certyf and Kri-Terres, two projects involving IRSN, have just been selected following the call for projects issued by Andra, in cooperation with the French National Research Agency (ANR), as part of the “Investment in the Future” program. These are additional results of the second session of the call for projects issued at the end of 2015, for which 17 projects have already been selected. The call for projects seeks to promote the emergence of innovative solutions for optimizing predisposal management of radioactive waste from decommissioned nuclear facilities. It targets industry, small and medium-sized businesses in France, and the scientific community. The first session of the call for projects was issued in 2014, following which 12 projects - including Camrad* - were selected for an overall budget worth 40 million euros.

Certyf, a project coordinated by Laboratoire Hubert Curien (LabHC - University of Saint-Etienne) with IRSN and Laboratoire Physique de la Matière Condensée (LPMC - University of Nice), is aimed at learning more about the combined effects of various environmental constraints, including radiation, temperature, rock, and hydrogen, on the resistance and aging of several types of optical fibers that are increasingly used in nuclear facilities.

Kri-Terres is a project coordinated by Armines, in collaboration with IRSN. It consists in developing an innovative approach for planning ahead, in the event of nuclear facility decommissioning, for the management of soil that may have been contaminated by radioactive liquid discharged by the facility during its lifetime. The novel approach will combine geostatistics and simulations of radionuclide transport in the subsoil to simplify the management of uncertainties concerning possible soil contamination, together with the related costs.

* Camrad is a project involving multiple partners, coordinated by the Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace (ISAE – SUPAERO). Its aim is to create a high-resolution camera that is radiation-hard (with ten times the radiation hardness of existing cameras) and that can be used at every stage of dismantling and radioactive waste disposal processes. It should provide high-definition images that are unaffected by radiation.

Complete list of selected projects

Call for applications for a training course jointly
organized by IRSN and sponsored by CONCERT
IRSN is jointly organizing a training course entitled "Uncertainty Analysis for Retrospective Dosimetry and Associated Research", which will take place at IRSN (Fontenay-aux-Roses) on June 19-23, 2017. Organized in connection with the EURADOS network, its purpose is to provide a detailed view of uncertainty analysis methods used in biological and physical dosimetry.
The course is open to PhD candidates, second-year master's degree students, and other young scientists wishing to acquire a good working knowledge of uncertainty analysis methods (including, of course, mathematical and statistical concepts) used in retrospective dosimetry. The course is also intended for more advanced professionals who are keen to acquire more in-depth knowledge in this field.
The course is jointly organized by IRSN, the EURADOS network, Public Health England (PHE) and Helmholtz Zentrum München (HMGU). It is free of charge. No more than 20 applicants will be accepted. Applications must be in by March 20, 2017 at the latest.

Applications should be sent to the following email address:

EventIRSN joint organizer of a workshop in California on "Fault Displacement Hazards Analysis"

The IRSN unit specialized in seismic risk assessment (BERSSIN*) has organized a workshop on earthquake surface ruptures on December 8-9, 2016, in collaboration with the Instituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV), the US Geological Survey (USGS) and the California Geological Survey (CGS). The workshop, held in Menlo Park, near San Francisco, USA, has been attended by a hundred geologists and engineers from all over the world.


Funded by the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center (PEER) and the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), the workshop had three goals: 

  • make practitioners (engineers and consultants) and geologists with data aware of the advantages of setting up a unified, worldwide database for improved estimation of the surface rupture hazard;
  • define the structure of this database;
  • broaden collaborations and sources of funding to ensure the success of the project.

Surface rupture analysis is an important part of assessing the risks induced by active faults for the safety of industrial facilities located nearby. The seismic hazard involves two main phenomena:  vibratory ground motion, and ground surface displacement along the fault, which can produce a scarp. A great deal of work has been done in the past twenty years on characterizing the first of these phenomena, in particular by amassing a very large quantity of recordings to study seismic wave propagation in the earth's crust. The data acquired to describe surface displacement, however, is still scarce and fragmented, resulting in a high degree of uncertainty in the related risk assessments.

The workshop has brought together geology and earthquake specialists concerned by these issues. The first lessons drawn from the workshop have been announced the following week at the American Geological Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, during a special session entitled "Towards a unified and worldwide database of earthquake surface ruptures".

* Seismic Risk and Facility Safety Assessment Unit

To see the workshop program
To know more about BERSSIN

Experimental facilitiesPERSÉE facility opened in Saclay

ACER20160613_0469_1.jpgOn December 9, 2016, IRSN officially opened PERSEE, its new experimental facility on the Saclay site, in the presence of IRSN's Director-General, the Head of CEA Saclay Research Centre, research partners and potential customers, and lastly the consortium of companies and the IRSN project team that brought the project to successful completion.


The test bench is designed specifically for studying radioactive gaseous waste purification systems at nuclear facilities under normal operating conditions but also during severe accidents at nuclear reactors; it enables experimental research to be carried out on iodine traps as part of the MIRE program (standing for Mitigation of radioactive releases), launched by IRSN in January 2014. Mire aims to improve our understanding and the mitigation of radioactive releases during a core melt accident at a nuclear reactor. It is one of seven IRSN projects selected by the French National Research Agency (ANR) as part of the call for projects for the 2012 nuclear safety and radiation protection research (RSNR) initiative.


The PERSÉE test bench will also take over from the STEAM facility at Pierrelatte, used until January 2017 for testing the adsorbents making up iodine traps installed in ventilation extraction systems at nuclear facilities.

Photo: in the PERSÉE facility © Francesco Acerbis/IRSN

To know more about IRSN involved laboratory

Research programsAMORAD project: IRSN team participates in campaign in Japan

Since 14 November 2016, a team from IRSN's Biogeochemistry, Bioavailability and Radionuclide Transfer Laboratory (L2BT) has been working in the forests of Fukushima to take samples. It is the third campaign of this type carried out as part of the AMORAD project to improve models to forecast dispersion and evaluate the impact of radionuclides in the environment. The mission is in partnership with Andra and the University of Tsukuba. The Institute of Environmental Radioactivity (IER) will host the scientists until 9 December as they process samples and perform laboratory experiments.


The mission is part of the "Continental" line of research of the Amorad project, which seeks to better quantify transfers of radionuclides in various environments at different spatiotemporal scales. The environments that are primarily concerned (forests, waterways, drainage basins) are those that most influence the dosimetric impact on human populations after an accident. As with the first two missions (2013 and 2014), the sampling is carried out at two forest sites as part of a five-year monitoring of changes in the radionuclide inventory and flux in these complex ecosystems.


Selected by the French National Research Agency (ANR) during the call for research projects on nuclear safety and radiation protection in 2012 and launched in November 2013, AMORAD is intended to improve models for forecasting the dispersion and transfers of radionuclides in the environment and thus reduce uncertainties associated with the evaluation of the radiological consequences on people and the environment in the event of a severe accident like those at Chernobyl and Fukushima.


 Find out more about AMORAD project

EventIRSN has led a session at the 6th STS Italia Conference

Organized by the Italian Society of Science and Technology Studies, the 6th STS Italia Conference has been held at the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the University of Trento in Italy on November 24-26, 2016. As in previous years, the Conference provided an opportunity to discuss empirical and theoretical scientific research from the social sciences angle (sociology, anthropology, philosophy, design, economics, etc.).


The Conference has been organized around 25 "tracks". Christine Fassert (IRSN) and Reiko Hasegawa (Science Po-Paris) were the convenors for the session entitled Fukushima and the "reactivation" of Nexus between Knowledge Production – Expertise – Governmental Decisions. Each nuclear accident raises questions about the links between these three areas. The session has sought to examine how the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident "has reactivated" issues raised in former civil or military nuclear catastrophes, and the role played by this "reactivation" in current debates. These issues include, for example, the dangers of ionizing radiation, controversies relating to the number of deaths or victims due to a nuclear accident, the management of contaminated territories, and health impact assessment.


The session has comprised the following five presentations:

  • Nuclear Accidents and Sociotechnical Controversies: The Rationalizing Role of Citizens Participation in La Maddalena (Italy), by Davide Orsini (Mississippi State University, History Department)
  • Glory and Failure of "SPEEDI" System: Historical Sociology of Real-time Simulation-informed Emergency Radiation Protection Scheme in Japan by Dr. Kohta Juraku (Tokyo Denki University, Japan) and Dr. Shin-etsu Sugawara (Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry, Japan)
  • The Lawsuits of the Inhabitants of Fukushima: 'Solidarity in the Fear' After the Nuclear Accident, by Rina Kojima (Université Paris-Est, Laboratoire Territoire et Sociétés)
  • Fukushima and the Black Rain Class Action Lawsuit: Reactivation of the Nexus of Knowledge Production, Expertise and Government Decisions, by Masae Yuasa (Hiroshima University)

Full conference program
To know more about involved IRSN laboratory

PublicationsThe 12th issue of Aktis, IRSN’s scientific newsletter, is available 


Aktis-12-EN.jpg The twelfth English-language issue of Aktis, the quarterly newsletter on IRSN’s research, is available on a HTML and PDF package. Aktis is published only in a digital version and available in HTML or text format for e-mail, RSS and a pageflip PDF. 


In this issue, focus on EPR, a rapid dosimetry technique in development. Aktis n°12 also tackles a new protocol for the rapid measurement of alpha and beta emitters, and calibrating instruments for measuring thoron. As well, it deals with the modelisation of the cooling cladding during an RIA.


The subscription for the English and French versions is complimentary. To read this issue or subscribe, go to


Read the pageflip PDF


Best Poster Award for former LDRI PhD candidate


Sylvain Meylan, who not long ago defended his doctoral thesis at IRSN's Ionizing Radiation Dosimetry Laboratory (LDRI), received the Best Poster Award at the last International Conference on Radiation Shielding (ICRS) held in Paris in October.


Meylan's thesis work focuses on the development of a simulation tool that models the irradiation of cell nuclei by light ions. Purpose: simulate early damage to DNA to improve understanding of the effects of ionizing radiation. The DNA representation used in the simulation is essential and particularly complex due to the huge number of DNA volumes to consider (36 billion molecular volumes) and the multiscale structure of DNA in a cell nucleus.


In the former poster, he describes a software program, DnaFabric, developed while working on his thesis to generate, modify and visualize (instantly in 3D) such representations of DNA. The poster also shows an example, created with DnaFabric, of a representation of the DNA contained in a human fibroblast nucleus. This representation was used in simulations of irradiation carried out during the thesis and which served to calculate early DNA damage.


ICRS is held every four years and was jointly organized this year by CEA, ANS, AESJ and IRSN, with the support of SFEN, in partnership with NEA. This international conference brings together specialists whose work relates to ionizing radiation (safety and functioning of reactors and accelerators, laser systems, radiation protection, medicine, etc.).

See the award-winning poster
To know more about Sylvain Meylan's thesis
To know more about Ionizing radiation dosimetry laboratory (LDRI)


IRSN in Japan for a joint symposium with the University of Ibaraki


On November 10, 2016, IRSN took part in a joint symposium with Ibaraki University on environmental studies related to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. The symposium gathered together some fifty people from Ibaraki University, National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), Meteorological Research Institute (MRI) and IRSN. The nuclear advisor of the French embassy was also attending.


At the event, held in Mito (Ibaraki prefecture), the participants presented their most recent work (oral presentations and posters). Among many topics, one focused on the poorly known mechanisms involved in atmospheric deposits (fog, mist, etc.) and the return of radionuclides (through bioaerosol production, biomass fires, pollens, etc.) present in f the forest ecosystem to the atmosphere (re-emission). It was also the occasion for IRSN to present the various topics of the current collaboration in Japan.


On the sidelines of the symposium, new opportunities for collaborations with Ibaraki University as well as with Japan Meteorological Agency- MRI (field experiment campaigns, modeling, etc.) were discussed. The main topics discussed concern the effect of mists (characteristics and leaching rate), aerosol granulometry and the re-emission of radioactivity via bioaerosols (spores, pollen and bacteria).


IRSN is expanding its collaboration with Ibaraki University, which was confirmed in April 2016 with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU). The MoU defines the framework for data exchange and access to experimental instrument facilities located in contaminated regions in the field of atmospheric transfers and interactions between the atmosphere and the terrestrial environment. Many departments in IRSN's Radiation Protection Unit (Sesure, Seris and Steme) are part of the collaboration.

Symposium program (PDF)

EventIRSN partners in first "Risk Days" Wokshop
Organized by the Resoh chair (IRSN, Areva, DCNS) of the Ecole des Mines de Nantes and the Rite chair (Pays de Loire), the first "Risk Days" Wokshop are held November 16-18, 2016 in Nantes. Focusing on “Nuclear Technology, People and Society”, Risk Days brings together researchers whose work examines human, organizational and social issues relating to the use of nuclear technology. 

Discussions during the event will consider:
  • sociological investigations in the nuclear field;
  • people and organizations in networks: collective management of risks and industrial safety;
  • nuclear regions: taking into account the integration of nuclear facilities in residential areas. 

Each will include presentations from various disciplines, including management, sociology, safety science, political science and ergonomics. Risk Days offers an occasion to discuss research carried out as part of the AGORAS Project, started in 2014, to which IRSN contributes. It is one of the 14 projects chosen by the French National Research Agency (ANR) in the call for research projects on nuclear safety and radiation protection launched after the Fukushima accident. Young researchers have not been left out, since the first day has given PhD candidates the opportunity to discuss their work with researchers, senior lecturers and professors.

The RESOH chair for research on safety, organization and people, co-organizer of Risk Days, was established in March 2012 by the Ecole des Mines de Nantes with support from Areva, DCNS and IRSN. IRSN's Human and Social Sciences Laboratory (LSHS) is heavily involved in the work of the chair, and participates in its steering committee. The Resoh chair studies the organizational and human aspects of safety in projects and subcontracting networks in industries that pose risks throughout the life cycle of facilities (design, construction, operation and dismantling), both in normal and accident situations as well as emergency response.

Event website
To know more about LSHS

Experimental facilities

NASA's RAD instrument is calibrated in IRSN's Baccara radon chamber


The backup of the RAD instrument (Radiation Assessment Detector) on board Curiosity, the rover which has been moving around on the surface of Mars since August 2012, was tested this year at the IRSN. This clone of the instrument, kept on Earth to conduct tests relating to the processing of data from Curiosity, was calibrated to measure the activity concentration of radon (222 Rn) in the Baccara facility at the LPMA in Saclay. With this calibration, the RAD instrument will be able to accurately quantify the perturbations induced by radon and its progeny present in the Martian atmosphere, on the measurements of low-energy ionizing radiations (around 5MeV) performed at the surface of the planet. IRSN's Baccara bench, dedicated to studies on radon metrology, is the only facility in the world that offers the experimental conditions needed for these tests, that is to say, under a CO2 atmosphere and low-pressure (7 mbar).


This exchange between the IRSN and NASA was established following a thesis carried out at IRSN in 2004-2007, during which the doctoral student Pierre-Yves Meslin revealed the presence of polonium-210, and thus radon, on Mars. The Americans learned of the existence of the Baccara bench and the IRSN was able to provide this RAD instrument calibration service because Pierre-Yves Meslin has since continued to work on this subject1, regularly collaborating with NASA. During the testing, with the financial support of CNES, American teams (under the auspices of NASA) and French teams (IRSN and Irap) worked hand in hand, accompanied by German researchers (University of Kiel) who are also involved in the instrument design and the use of RAD results. Baccara's robust calibration procedure was only changed a little to fulfil this request.


The RAD instrument was developed by the Southwest Research Institute (Boulder, Colorado, USA), with University of Kiel (Germany), and funded by NASA and the German national aeronautics and space research centre (DLR), within the framework of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission to explore Mars, which was launched in late 2011. It is used to detect and characterize all elementary particles, charged or not, over a very wide range of energies (0.2 MeV to 2 GeV). In-depth knowledge of the Martian radiation environment is indeed essential to prepare for future manned space missions to the red planet.


1. At the Astrophysics and Planetology Research Institute (Institut de recherche en astrophysique et planétologie, Irap), a joint research unit of the CNRS and of the Université de Toulouse III Paul Sabatier

To know more about the LPMA

To know more about the RAD instrument

To know more about the MSL

To know more about the thesis of Pierre-Yves Meslin

ANS presents Eugene P. Wigner Award to Luiz Leal, IRSN researcher
Luiz-Leal-2-internet.jpgLuiz Leal, a researcher at IRSN's Reactor Physics Research and Safety Assessment Laboratory (LNR) was jointly1 honored with the 2016 Eugene P. Wigner Reactor Physicist Award. The American Nuclear Society (ANS) presented the award to him on November 7 during the opening session of the society's winter meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It acknowledges Leal’s large body of research in measurement, evaluation and computer processing of nuclear data2. Leal has directed programs dealing with differential nuclear data measurements and resonance parameters evaluations3 for numerous important atomic nuclei (uranium 235, plutonium 239, etc.). His scientific research activities also cover techniques for evaluating uncertainty in differential and integral measurements to obtain accurate data for nuclear calculations.

The Eugene P. Wigner Award is in recognition of excellence that is presented annually by the Reactor Physics Division of the ANS to scientists whose work has made an exceptional contribution to reactor physics research. It has been awarded to outstanding physicists including Jules Horowitz. It is named for the theoretical physicist who received the Nobel Prize for physics in 1963 for his contribution on the structure of the atomic nucleus and the nature of elementary particles.

1.    Mark L. Williams, researcher in the Reactors and Nuclear Systems Division of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, also received the award.
2.    In nuclear data, there are cross-sections, which correspond to the supposed surface of interaction which characterizes the probability of an interaction between a particle or incident radiation and a target particle. Expressed in m² or Barn (1 b = 10-28 m²), it is used to evaluate the number of interactions between a flow of particles and a system of target nuclei.
3.    Cross sections vary greatly depending on the energy of the neutron that interacts with the nucleus. The probability of an interaction between an incident neutron and a target nucleus is very high when the energy of the neutron corresponds to the excitation energy of the target nucleus. This is why cross sections have resonances. An accurate description of resonances is essential for accurate nuclear calculations.

To know more about Luiz Leal's HDR
ANS website

Experimental facilities
The IRSN SCA contributes to a project on laser cutting of Fukushima corium

The IRSN Airborne Pollutants and Containment Department (SCA) is participating in a study conducted by the CEA and Onet Technologies aimed at demonstrating that laser cutting can be used to extract the corium (magma resulting from the melting of nuclear fuel and structures) of the damaged Fukushima reactors. This technique is currently being used to dismantle the dissolvers of the CEA fuel processing plant in Marcoule. It is one of the techniques envisaged by the Japanese for the future dismantling of the Fukushima-Daiichi reactors by 2021.


The feasibility study currently being conducted with the assistance of the IRSN was selected in 2015 by the Mitsubishi Research Institute (MRI) within the framework of an international tender, and is funded by a grant from the Japanese state (Meti). A first preparation phase involving the definition of the corium simulants, the determination of the cutting parameters by CEA and the design of an aerosol sampling passage by IRSN has just been completed. The cutting and aerosol characterisation test campaigns will now be spread out between November 2016 and March 2017.


In order to demonstrate the feasibility of the cutting technique, tests will first be conducted in a laboratory on non-radioactive materials simulating the corium. They will take place on the CEA Altea platform in Saclay. During these tests, the IRSN will implement its know-how and specific expertise in measuring the mass concentration, the particle size distribution and the chemical composition of the aerosols emitted during the cutting, when in the air and when submerged in water. These measurements with non-radioactive aerosols will contribute to assess the nature and the amount of the radioactive particles that could be emitted during the fuel debris recovery operations in the Fukushima-Daiichi reactors, in order to enable the Japanese to define the best strategy for containing the radioactive aerosols and for preventing their release into the environment.


The CEA's laser cutting technique received the French Nuclear Energy Society (SFEN) prize for Technological Innovation in June, as well as being nominated for the WNE Awards at the World Nuclear Exhibition (WNE).

To know more about the Aerosol Physics and Metrology Laboratory (LPMA)

To know more about the Research and Modeling Laboratory for Airborne Disepersion and Containement (LEMAC)

Experimental facilitiesODE facility opened at Cadarache
IODE-Inauguration.jpgRSN opened the new ODE (Observatoire de la durabilité des enceintes - Containment durability observatory) facility at Cadarache on 12 October, for research on the ageing of the concrete used for nuclear reactor containments and waste storage facilities. This new facility will be used for the experimental phase of the ODOBA (Observatoire de la durabilité des ouvrages en béton armé - Observatory for the durability of reinforced concrete structures) project launched in 2014.

The ODOBA project aims to study the impact of concrete pathologies on the behavior of nuclear structures (containment or waste storage cells), to validate non-destructive examination methods and develop predictive simulation tools. Concrete pathologies evolve over long periods and can modify the properties of the concrete, leading to cracks and even failure of the structure. These pathologies particularly depend on the chemical properties of the concrete and environmental conditions. This project is therefore of critical importance at a time when nuclear operators are planning to extend the operation of their facilities significantly.

The core project comprises tests carried out at the ODE site on large concrete blocks (2 x 1 x 4 metres). The site consists of a concrete slab, which is large enough to host up to 60 blocks and a facility able to subject these blocks to accelerated ageing (thermal cycles, humidification/drying cycles, etc.) representative of the operating period of the nuclear facility.

The first three blocks of concrete were successfully cast on 28 & 29 September and four more should be cast by end-2016. These seven concrete blocks vary in type and represent control blocks (exposed to natural ageing). From March 2017, six more blocks will be casted and subjected to accelerated ageing. All the blocks will be extensively instrumented (thermocouples, vibrating wire sensors, humidity meters, etc.) and periodically submitted to destructive and non-destructive testing, in order to define a containment monitoring program. Complementary laboratory tests will be used to improve the understanding of the pathologies detected.

Photo: from left to right, Jean-Christophe Niel, IRSN's Director General, Georges Nahas, scientific advisor for the project and Christophe Marquié, ODOBA project manager © IRSN

The ODOBA program

LPMA engineers received a Best Poster Award at the EAC-2016

EAC-2016.jpgSamuel Peillon and Mamadou Sow, engineers of the IRSN's Aerosol Physics and Metrology Laboratory (Laboratoire de Physique et de Métrologie des Aérosols, SCA / LPMA) received the Best Poster Award at the 22nd European Aerosol Conference (EAC 2016), held between the 4th and the 9th of September in Tours.


The award winning poster relates to experimental work conducted within the framework of an exploratory research project related to the safety of the ITER tokamak. The two scientists studied the electrostatic behaviour of tungsten dust that is representative, in terms of size, of those usually produced by the erosion of the tokamak divertor1 subjected to the action of plasma. The presence of tritium in this dust can lead to their electrical self-charging and thus modify their capacity to adhere to the walls, by making them sensitive to electrostatic forces, which is a factor that influences their re-suspension and therefore their potential release to the environment in the event of an accident.


The experiments at the LPMA that received the award at the EAC-2016 have in particular enabled the determination of the electrical field threshold levels needed - around 20 kV/cm - to overcome the adhesion forces between tungsten particles with sizes of the order of microns and a conductive metal surface. Furthermore, they have shown that a very thin layer of oxide on the particle surface, with a thickness not exceeding 2 to 3 nm, is enough to render them dielectric. This reinforces the hypothesis of electrically self-charging particles, if these contain tritium.


These results will ultimately improve the modelling of dust re-suspension by turbulent flows, taking into account electrostatic interactions. In addition, they will contribute to a better understanding of the behaviour of the dust produced in ITER, in order to enable the implementation of appropriate safety and radiation protection measures to prevent their dissemination in the event of an accident or when conducting maintenance during normal operation.


The LPMA has thus shown that it is a major actor in aerosol science in France and abroad. It was also in this laboratory that Anthony Rondeau completed last year the thesis work for which he received the Jean Bricard award.


1. The ITER tokamak divertor extracts the effluent gases and impurities, as well as a portion of the heat generated by the fusion reactions.


Photo: Samuel Peillon (2nd from the left side) during EAC-2016 © IRSN


To know more about the LPMA
To know more about the EAC-2016

The IRSN co-organises the first workshop of the French seismologic and geodetic network dedicated to seismic hazards
The first workshop of the French seismologic and geodetic network (Réseau sismologique et géodésique français, RESIF) dedicated to seismic hazards will take place on the 27th and 28th of September in Strasbourg (France). The IRSN, which is one of the historical players in the field, has been heavily involved in its organisation alongside the Geological and Mining Research Office (Bureau de recherches géologiques et minières, BRGM) and the Universities of Strasbourg, Montpellier and Besançon. This workshop is aimed at intensifying the dialogue between data producers (geological, geodetic and seismic) and seismic hazard practitioners in France (IRSN, BRGM, EDF, CEA, etc.) so that assessments conducted on French territory are based on information and shared models obtained from the best current knowledge.

Two main and complementary topics will be discussed during the two days:
1.    Quantification of the seismogenic potential associated with seismic sources. In particular, the use of geodetic and geological strain rates, the assessment of the slip rate of faults and the estimation of the magnitudes and depths of earthquakes associated with the sources will be discussed;
2.    Characterisation of the lithosphere properties, for example through the regional anelastic attenuation of the seismic movement measured from the seismic data, the attenuation of the intensity deduced from macroseismic observations, gravity data, etc.

The purpose of the discussions is to identify the most up to date data and models, as well as the deficiencies relating to these two topics. The workshop should thus lead to the development of a summary document that could serve as a roadmap for updating the knowledge useful for calculating seismic hazards.

To know more about BERSSIN
To know more about RESIF

AwardAnthony Rondeau receives the Jean Bricard 2016 Award
Rondeau-Prix-Bricard_internet.jpgOn Wednesday September 7th, in Tours, Anthony Rondeau received the Jean Bricard Award from the French Association for the Study and Research on Aerosols (Association française d’études et de recherches sur les aérosols, Asfera) at the 22nd European Aerosol Conference (EAC-2016). The award has been presented to him in recognition of his thesis - conducted at IRSN and defended on December 7th, 2015, in Saclay - on the study of accidental dust resuspension by airflow in the future ITER tokamak.

This work is an important contribution to the experimental study of the consequences of a loss of vacuum accident inside the torus (resulting in the ingress of air mixed with steam at very high speed) on the resuspension of metal particles — mainly tungsten — produced by the erosion of the tokamak walls during plasma operation and deposited on the internal walls of the vacuum chamber. The work of Anthony Rondeau has provided new and accurate experimental data to develop and validate a particle resuspension model applicable to low pressure environments, for estimating the fraction of particles mobilised during such an event.

In the IRSN physics and aerosol metrology laboratory (SCA/LPMA) and at the University of Aarhus (Denmark), Anthony Rondeau performed breakthrough experiments on airflow re-suspension as a function of the main parameters that condition the mechanisms involved: diameter and volumetric density of the particles, pressure and shear velocity. The particles concerned, as sampled from tokamaks in operation, have diameters ranging from 0.1 to 10 μm. Anthony Rondeau emphasised the specific behaviour of multilayer deposits and the agglomeration of fine particles, which are phenomena that lead to a more significant fraction of mobilised particles than that predicted by the models currently used.

At IRSN, these results are intended to be integrated into the calculation models to assess the potential risk of a dust explosion during accident scenarios in the ITER facility, as well as the energy output of the explosion and its mechanical effects, which are directly correlated with the amount of dust resuspended.

Every year since 1998, the Jean Bricard Award is presented to a young French researcher whose thesis work is considered by the aerosol scientific community to be original, and the value of which is likely to influence future work in its field. ASFERA thus aims to promote research in aerosol science, of which Professor Jean Bricard (1907-1988) is considered to be the founder in France.

Photo: Anthony Rondeau receiving his award © IRSN

To know more about his thesis
To know more about ASFERA
To know more about EAC-2016

Radioecology research at Chernobyl: the COMET consortium organises a workshop on 30th and 31st August

The "30 years after the Chernobyl accident, what do we know about the effects of radiation on the environment?" workshop will be held at Chernhiv (Ukraine) on 30th and 31st August. Organised by the COMET1 international consortium, this event will bring together people from a wide range of different backgrounds (researchers, experts, regulation organisations, NGOs, media) and will provide the opportunity to present an analysis of the radioecology2 research that has been carried out over the last few decades inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone, into the effects of chronic exposure to ionising radiation in non-human species. 


The main actors in this research –Chernobyl Centre (Ukraine), Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (United Kingdom) and IRSN (France) in particular - will be taking a look at the knowledge acquired in the field, comparing it with the knowledge obtained in the laboratory. Japanese researchers will also be in attendance to provide the first results of research into the evolution of Japanese ecosystems affected by the fallout from the Fukushima accident. The workshop has two main objectives: to discuss future radioecology research priorities at Chernobyl, to provide data which is still lacking and to harmonise the analyses of this data. In addition, the implications of these results in relation to the environmental radioprotection regulatory context will be evaluated.


The COMET consortium, which was created in 2013 for a four-year period, brings together 20 organisations including the IRSN and seeks to strengthen integration for radioecology research. To enable it to do so, COMET is supported by the work carried out by the European Radioecology Alliance, whose founder members are part of the consortium. The programming tools proposed are developed together. Also, research actions dedicated to the effects of ionising radiation on ecosystems and the development of risk evaluation models in crisis and post-accident situations are put in place. The IRSN takes part in all this work and coordinates the work which relates to the study of low doses of ionising radiation on non-human species.


1. Coordination and implementation of a pan-European instrument radioecology, 7th Euratom RDFP

2. Study of the transport and transfer of radio-isotopes in the environment and their potential impact on people and ecosystems.


To know more about COMET

AwardA former doctoral student of the IRSN has received the Lawrent Exmelin Award
Sarah_Baghdadi.jpgSarah Baghdadi, who up until 2015 worked on her thesis in the IRSN Radiochemistry Laboratory (LRC), received the Lawrent Exmelin Award at the last PROCORAD annual meeting (Promotion of quality control for medical biology analyses in radiotoxicology), which was held from the 15th to 17th of June 2016, in Dijon (France).

The award recognises her thesis work, which consisted in developing a rapid detection and analysis method in urine for actinides that may be released during a nuclear accident (U, Pu, Am, Th, etc.), to quickly identify people who may be contaminated. Her method combines a column based on calixarene derivatives (impregnated hydroxamic calix [6]arene) and an ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma - Mass Spectrometry).

The Exmelin Award, amounting to 3,000 euros, is awarded annually by the PROCORAD Association to a scientist who has made a significant and personal contribution in the field of radionuclide trace analysis. This includes the development of analytical protocols, the development of new processes (separation methods, radiation metrology, etc.), the validation of analytical methods and the interpretation of the results (internal dosimetry).

The PROCORAD Association (Association for the Promotion of Quality Controls in Radiotoxicological Bioassays) is an association based on the law enacted in 1901 (Association Loi 1901) that organises interlaboratory comparisons in the field of radiotoxicology, to control the quality of medical test results and to promote good laboratory practices.

Photo: Sarah Baghdadi © IRSN

To know more about her thesis
To know more about the LRC
To know more about PROCORAD

Research programs

The IRSN is studying the risks related to joint activity with the COSEA project


Towards the end of 2015, the IRSN, the RATP and the SciencesPo Sociology Centre for Organisations (Centre de sociologie des organisations, CSO) launched a joint research project, COSEA (on joint activity and safety in practice), on the risks associated with the presence of several companies with different core businesses on a same worksite (i.e., a joint activity situation) and the establishment of tools to prevent them. They recently held their first Steering Committee and the Institute is continuing its studies and field observations.


The COSEA project is aimed at gaining knowledge about co-activity and the risks associated with it in highly restrictive settings (underground, etc.), as would be the case, for example, in Andra's nuclear waste burial centre project (CIGEO project), the safety of which is being assessed by the IRSN. The COSEA project is expected to enable specific worksite situations and the work of collective labour in this context to be observed as closely as possible, together with the risks that these entail. The IRSN will thus be able to propose points to be discussed on how to prevent risks related to joint activity. After the CIGEO project, these points may also be leveraged for expert assessments of nuclear facility decommissioning worksites or modification worksites at facilities in operation.


For three years, the Institute will monitor the various stages of the worksite for the extension of Line 14 of the Paris metro. Interviews with the players involved in the various stages of the worksite (planning, preparation, implementation, etc.) will be carried out on a voluntary basis. In parallel, the course of some operations or meetings will also be observed.


To know more about the COSEA

To know more about CIGEO

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