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2nd semester 2011 scientific news



Epidemiologic study

The IRSN contributes to ELFE, the French study of 20,000 children



The IRSN is participating in the French longitudinal study from childhood ("Etude longitudinale française depuis l'enfance", or ELFE) which aims to identify and analyse the effects of environmental (air and water pollution, UVs, chemicals, radiation...) and social factors on the development, health and socialisation of children. It is the first such general study of this size in France and is the result of questions raised by researchers and public bodies (InVS, Ined...).  

The IRSN participates in the radiation field of the study. The objective is to better identify the doses of radiation to which children are exposed and the distribution depending on social and economic factors. The purpose of this study is to increase the awareness of the medical sector and the general public in order to reduce the amount of exposure. The IRSN will thus monitor the different radiological examinations and exposure to radon of children during their lives, in order to establish an assessment of the possibly associated risks of cancer.

ELFE was launched in France in 2007 on a sample of 500 pilot families.  It is extended this year to a cohort of 20,000 children born in 2011 who will be monitored until they come of age.  A database containing questionnaires (social characteristics, environmental conditions, life style, etc.) and biological samples (urine, blood, blood from the umbilical cord, etc.) taken from the mother and child will be collected.

The cohort, recruited from April to December, must cover the entire French continental territory, and is taken from a panel of 344 maternities selected using a draw. Approximately 400 researchers from sixty research teams are mobilised under the coordination of a mixed Inserm-Ined unit in partnership with the Etablissement Français du Sang (French blood bank organisation). 

The first results are expected in 2013.


 ELFE website

 To find out more about LEPID


Scientific collaboration

The IRSN signs a framework agreement with Laval University



The IRSN and the Department of chemistry at Laval University (Quebec) have just signed a first framework agreement on the development of radionuclide metrology and its applications, including radioecology. For a renewable term of two years, this partnership aims to share knowledge, resources, data, experts and equipment and to carry out common studies. Graduate students will thus be able to acquire experience in the domain by working directly with the IRSN teams. 


 IRSN contact
(Denis Boulaud, Assistant Director for the environment and interventions)




A PhD student from the IRSN awarded a bursary from L'Oréal - Unesco - French Academy of Sciences



On the 10th October Andrea Bachrata received a "For Women in Science" bursary from L'Oréal France - Unesco - French Academy of Sciences. The award is granted every year to ten young female scientists for the quality and the potential of their research. Andrea Bachrata is preparing her thesis on "modelling the core reflooding of a severely damaged reactor" (see Aktis no.5, article "Refroidissement de débris de cœur par injection d'eau" [Cooling core debris by water injection]) at the Laboratory for simulation and study of major accidents (Lesam) located in the Cadarache centre (in the Bouches du Rhône region). The bursaries are awarded by a scientific jury presided by Alain Carpentier, President of the French Academy of Sciences. Each bursary has a value of 10,000 Euro and is financed by L’Oréal’s corporate foundation, with support from the French National Commission for UNESCO, the French Academy of Sciences and sponsored by the French Ministry for Higher Education and Research.


 To find out more about the L’Oréal France – Unesco – Academy of sciences national bursaries "for Women in Science"

 To find out more about A. Bachrata's thesis




Best Poster Award - European Aerosols Conference



The IRSN's laboratory LPMA has taken part this year to the Europen Aerosol Conference (Manchester). This participation gave rise to four oral presentations thus to four posters concerning works led in collaboration to ONERA, LNE, CNRS. On this occasion, one of these posters, to which IRSN contributed, has received the Best poster award.


 See the poster

 More about LPMA




A new dissertation in IRSN’s HDR collection



IRSN's HDR (Authorization to Direct Research) collection has been enriched with a new dissertation paper, the work of Laurent Pourcelot. Entitled "Variability of atmospheric deposits and transfers of artificial radioelements in soils", it is dedicated to the study of global atmospheric fall-out resulting from nuclear arms testing and the Chernobyl accident, on the basis of soil observations made in France.   


Pourcelot takes for hypothesis that inventories of these soils constitute a "fingerprint" of atmospheric deposits composed of pollutants from different sources over time. By carrying out such inventories in France, he has been able to evaluate the heterogeneity of deposits and also to reflect on the causes of this heterogeneity: trajectory of air masses, precipitation, influence of vegetation, etc. Pourcelot’s targeted objective is to evaluate the behaviour of radioactive pollutants in soil, water and vegetation.


Defended in January 2008, this HDR dissertation is now available on the site in PDF format from IRSN’s HDR collection, but it is also possible to order a paper copy.


Author: L. Pourcelot
Number of pages: 102
Language available: French


 To upload the PDF file (in French)

 To order a copy of the book

 The HDR collection 




Exmelin Award 2011 for a thesis written at IRSN



This year, the Laurent Exmelin Scientific Award went to Estelle Davesne for her thesis entitled: "Optimisation des programmes de surveillance de la contamination interne par l’étude des incertitudes liées à l’évaluation dosimétrique" (Optimising internal contamination monitoring programmes by examining uncertainties in dose assessment). Every year since 2006, this award has been made by the Procorad association to a young scientist who has made a major contribution to Radiotoxicology.

Aimed at ensuring compliance with received dose limits and constraints, Estelle Davesne has developed, as part of her PhD research, an expert system which, factoring in uncertainties, makes it possible to optimise internal contamination monitoring procedures for workers in the nuclear industry.

Her thesis, completed at IRSN’s Internal Dose Assessment Laboratory (LEDI) is the second thesis, following N. Pierrat’s in 2008, undertaken at the LEDI that has received the Exmelin Scientific Award. The Award will be presented to Estelle Davesne at Procorad’s annual meeting, held in Rhodes (Greece) on 22 to 24 June 2011.


 View thesis abstract and download Estelle Davesne’s thesis
 View thesis abstract and download Noëlle Pierrat’s thesis
 To find out more about LEDI
 See Procorad website