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2nd semester 2012 scientific news





An IRSN technician wins Best Poster Award at the ERR Congress



Georges Tarlet, a technician in the LRTE (Radiopathology and Experimental Therapy Laboratory) of IRSN, has won one of the three Best Poster Awards at the ERR (European Radiation Research) Congress, held on the 18th October 2012 in Vietri sul Mare (Italy). Entitled “Cytokine secretion profiles and signaling pathways analysis of endothelial cells exposed to high doses of ionizing radiation”, this poster, jointly prepared with his LRTE collaborators Valérie Buard, Agnès François, Fabien Milliat and Olivier Guipaud, presents the research results obtained within the framework of the ROSIRIS programme. This programme aims to improve our understanding of the initiation and progression mechanisms of radiation induced lesions in order to be able to better predict and treat radiotherapy complications.

 View the prize-winning poster (PDF)
 Find out more on LRTE


Scientific collaborations


IRSN announces collaboration with 6 new European projects



The IRSN is participating in 6 of the new European projects selected in June following the 2012 call for tenders for Euratom's 7th Framework Programme, which is focusing on research into nuclear safety. The institute is coordinating one of these projects, Passam (Passive and Active Systems on Severe Accident source term Mitigation) the aim of which is to investigate the possibilities of systems developed inside nuclear reactors for limiting emissions in the event of a core melt accident, especially passive systems. The IRSN is also the protagonist of Project Cesam (Code for European Severe Accident Management). This project is designed to improve the AstecGLO software package, the European benchmark for calculating severe nuclear reactor accidents, so that it can also be used for accident management analysis. The institute is also participating to a varying extent in four other projects: Nuresafe (Nuclear Reactor Safety Simulation Platform), Alliance (Allegro - Implementing Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycle in Central Europe), Sacsess (Safety of Actinide Separation processes) steered by the CEA, and Prepare (Innovative integrative tools and platforms to be prepared for radiological emergencies and post-accident response in Europe) coordinated by the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie.


 Find out more about IRSN's scientific collaborations




Results of IRSN’s 2012 thesis seminar



IRSN’s annual “Journées des Thèses” (Thesis Seminar) was held this year from the 2nd to the 5th October 2012 in Le Croisic (South Brittany).


This residential seminar, a privileged moment for meetings and exchanges within the world of IRSN research, is the occasion for PhD students and post-doctoral fellows of the Institute to present their results to colleagues and scientists from different research organisations.


The first day, dedicated to presentations by academics and young researchers, shed light on the various research work being carried out within different collaborations.


Over the following days, the presentations of research directors, PhD students and post-docs of the different units enabled a comprehensive overview of research within the Institute to be drawn up. The seminar was also the occasion for PhD students and researchers to become familiar with the challenges and expectations with respect to the basic foundations of higher education and research and to prepare a contribution. In total, nearly 80 presentations were given at the seminar, which was attended by some 200 persons.

 Summaries of presentations (PDF in French)

 Find out more about IRSN theses




The IRSN signs a research convention with the IRSTV



On August 9, the IRSN signed a research convention with the Institute of Research into Urban Sciences and Techniques (IRSTV) for a period of 4 years, following on from a partnership led since 2010 on two projects initiated by the French Research Agency (Vegdud and Inogev).


The IRSTV is a multi-disciplinary research federation which acts as a federating force in the field of urban sciences and techniques. Its main mission is to develop the knowledge and tools which contribute to sustainable urban development but also to lead federative research projects in this field in response to regional, national and European invitations to tender.


 The IRSN will participate in the overall coherence of projects in the atmospheric domain and on issues linked to the transfers of gases and aerosols, particularly exchanges between interfaces (air-surface of a building, air-vegetation, air-soil). In the framework of the convention, the IRSN’s Laboratory of Radioecology of Cherbourg-Octeville (LRC) will firstly study the dispersion and deposit of radionuclides in the urban environment.


Very little research has been led in this field, either by experiments and modelling, due to the heterogeneity of the urban environment (different surface properties, variable meteorological conditions), which is hard to take into account in operational models to assess the dosimetric impact on humans when radionuclides are released into the environment following an accident or during the normal functioning of nuclear facilities. The IRSN’s partners in this research will be the École Centrale de Nantes, the French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Development and Networks (IFSTTAR), and the Scientific and Technical Centre for Building (CSTB).

 Find out more about Vegdud
 Find out more about Inogev
 Find out more about the LRC




An IRSN PhD student awarded the PhD thesis prize of Aix-Marseille University



Aix-Marseille University has awarded its 2011 PhD thesis prize to Starrlight Augustine, who carried out her research work at IRSN’s Radionuclides Exotoxicology Laboratory (LECO). This prize is awarded for the excellence of her work, presented when she defended her thesis in Amsterdam (Netherlands) on the 23rd April 2012.


The subject matter of her thesis, entitled "Metabolic programming of Zebrafish Danio rerio uncovered. Physiological performance as explained by dynamic energy budget (DEB) theory and life-cycle consequences of uranium induced perturbations", was the characterisation of the toxicity of uranium on the metabolism of the Zebrafish Danio rerio. This research was co-supervised by LECO and the Free University of Amsterdam (Netherlands). Augustine will receive her prize on the 26th November 2012 at Aix-Marseille University’s academic and scientific open day.


 To find out more about Augustine’s PhD thesis
 To find out more about LECO 





An IRSN PhD student wins an award at the ninth ISHPMIE



Jérémy Sabard, a third-year PhD student at the IRSN, has won one of the five best paper awards at the ninth International Symposium on Hazards, Prevention and Mitigation of Industrial Explosions (ISHPMIE), which took place in Krakow, Poland, from 22 to 27 July 2012.


His article, "Determination of Explosion Parameters of H2/O2/N2 Mixtures", is on an experimental study of explosion parameters (maximum combustion pressure, deflagration index, flame speed, etc.) of H2/O2/N2 mixtures for different initial conditions. Mr. Sabard is doing his work at the CNRS's ICARE (Institute of Combustion, Aerothermics, Reactivity and Environment) laboratory in Orléans in partnership with the IRSN's Serious Accidents Physics Office (BPhAG). His thesis, which he will defend in mid-2013, is on the explosion of diphasic hydrogen mixtures and metal dust, a topic relating to the safety of the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor).


 To find out more about Jérémy Sabard's thesis
 ISHPMIE's site





IRSN involved in Eccorev's "Nuclear Risk" Day



The research federation Eccorev (continental ecosystems and environmental risks) has organised an event called "Nuclear Risk" for next 16th November in Aix-en-Provence.


The event will host eight conferences followed by debates dealing with issues of nuclear risk, with a feedback on Fukushima and Chernobyl accidents. Sociological and economic sides will be tackled, in particular on risk government and accidents costs. IRSN is taking part in this programme by virtue of its partnership with the Federation. Eric Chojnacki from Limar (IRSN's laboratory of uncertainty analysis and cooling accident modelling) is coordinating the event.

 Programme for the day (in French)
 IRSN and the Eccorev Federation
 Contact IRSN, Eric Chojnacki





An IRSN PhD student wins a Best Poster Award at the 2012 NENE Conference



Mélany Gouello*, a PhD student at the IRSN's Environment and Chemistry Experimentation Laboratory (L2EC), won the best poster award at the Nuclear Energy for New Europe (NENE 2012) conference, which took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, from 5 to 7 September.


The poster, “Chemistry of Iodine and Aerosol Composition in the Primary Circuit of a Nuclear Power Plant”, is about the findings of Ms. Gouello's thesis, supervised by Fabienne Bot-Robin.


She did her work, "Study of the Composition, Speciation and Structure of Multi-component Aerosols Likely to Form in the Primary Circuit of a Nuclear Reactor in the Event of a Serious Accident ", at Cadarache in collaboration with the CNRS's Infrared and Raman Spectrochemistry Laboratory in Lille and the CNRS-INPG SIMAP (Science and Engineering of Materials and Processes) mixed research unit in Grenoble.


The thesis involves research on serious reactor accidents, in particular the transport of fission products (especially iodine) between their emission during the core's meltdown and their potential release into the atmosphere.

 To find out more about Mélany Gouello's thesis
 To find out more about L2EC


* on the picture, second from the right side



Call for contributions


Call for contributions for Neudos12



The call for contributions for Neudos12 has been launched! Presentation proposals can now be sent to the programme committee. The deadline is 10 December; applicants whose proposals have been accepted will receive notification on 22 February 2013.


The IRSN is holding Neudos12 (Neutron and ion dosimetry) in Aix-en-Provence from 3 to 7 June 2013 with support from Eurados (the European Radiation Dosimetry Group), whose institute is an active member, and from the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).


The symposium will focus on instrumentation and techniques used in neutron and ion dosimetry, in medicine, in research, in manufacturing, in aeronautical and in spatial activities. Registration starts in November 2012.


 Internet website

 To find out more about Eurados




The IRSN attributes the first Creativity Award



Sabine Charmasson, IRSN manager working at the LERCM (Laboratory of Radioecology Studies of Continental and Marine Environments) received the IRSN’s first Award for Creativity in Research.


The award was attributed during the first Exploratory Research Seminar, organized during one of the days devoted    to the 2012 thesis presentations, and recognizes her work studying the high levels of radioactivity of organisms living near hydrothermal sources at great depths in the ocean. This research has led to the publication of two articles, one in the 'Journal of Environmental Radioactivity' and the other in 'Science of the Total Environment'.


The exploratory research performed at the IRSN aims to encourage innovation and the creativity of the Institute’s researchers by offering them the chance to work on an original idea concerning subjects that are not dealt with in the research programs underway and which therefore fall outside of the usual sphere of programmed research. The IRSN has created this award to recognize the efforts of those who lead particularly innovative exploratory research projects presenting a high degree of risk.


Three to five ‘exploratory’ projects per year are selected by a permanent internal evaluation committee, named by the Scientific Director of IRSN. Each project receives a maximum budget of 150,000 Euros, attributed by the Scientific Director for 18 to 24 months of research, and is evaluated at the end of this period on the basis of a final report. Between 2007 and 2011, 15 projects have been selected from the 41 put forward.


For this first IRSN Award for Creativity, the Scientific Director of the IRSN chose five particularly worthy projects from those which had been completed. The initiators of these five pre-selected projects were asked to present them during the Seminar and the final choice of the winner was made by a panel of experts from the IRSN. Plans are afoot to create a new Award for Innovation within two or three years when sufficient projects have been completed.


 See the 'Journal of Environmental Radioactivity' article

 See the 'Science of the Total Environment' article

 To find out more about LERCM




The first MELODI Award won by a German researcher



Kristian Unger received the first “MELODI Award” on the 14th September 2012 at the 4th International MELODI Conference, which was held this year in Helsinki (Finland).


The purpose of this prize is to reward the work of a young scientist who has stood out through his or her research on the effects of low doses of ionising radiation. It has the complementary objective of promoting research on low doses by encouraging young researchers to be active and to publish in this field.


Unger is a member of the Cytogenetic Radiation Research Unit of the German Research Centre for Health and the Environment (Helmholtz Zentrum München). His research work is focused on the identification of biomarkers and “key” networks in radiation induced carcinogenesis in order to better understand the mechanisms of induction of cancer by radiation. MELODI is an associative structure which, since 2010, has grouped together the main European players - including IRSN - involved in research on the risks linked to low doses of ionising radiation.


 To find out more about MELODI

 To find out more about Kristian Unger




A “Best Poster Award” for an IRSN PhD student 



Pierre Roupsard, a PhD student at the LRC (Cherbourg-Octeville Radioecology Laboratory) of IRSN, has been honoured with a Best Poster Award on the occasion of the 19th European Aerosol Conference, which was held in Grenada (Spain) from the 2nd to 7th September 2012.


This prize, given to 10 posters out of a total of 918 presented at the conference, is awarded in recognition of the scientific quality of the work, the results obtained, their innovative character and the clarity with which they are presented.


Entitled "Experimental study of the submicron aerosol dry deposition in the urban canopy: original methodology and first results", this poster outlines the results of Roupsard’s PhD work, conducted under the supervision of Denis Maro (IRSN) and Alexis Coppalle of CORIA (Interprofessional Research Centre for Aerothermochemistry) in Rouen. This research, carried out in collaboration with IFSTTAR (French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Spatial Planning, Development and Networks) in Nantes, is funded by ANR’s INOGEV project (Innovations for Sustainable Water Management in Cities). The subject of Roupsard’s thesis, which he began in 2009 and will defend at the end of 2012, is the study and quantification of dry deposition of atmospheric aerosols, potential radionuclide vectors, on different surfaces in urban environments.


 To find out more about Roupsard’s PhD thesis

 To find out more about LRC




2012 theses days



The IRSN organises from 2nd to 5th October 2012 its theses days in Le Croisic (South of Britain, France). The first day will be a scientific day. Main PhD students or Ph. Doctors will present their work led in their laboratories and the assets of the common researches. This day is open to a wide public. The theses days, organised in the form of a residential seminar, are also the occasion for IRSN's PhD students and doctors to present to their collegues and scientists from differents research bodies their results. 


 Days programme (PDF in French)

 To contact the theses coordinator


Scientific collaboration


IRSN conducting research with AECL on the effects of low doses of tritium



IRSN and AECL (Atomic Energy of Canada Limited) are conducting an experimental research programme on the possible health effects of chronic exposure to low doses of tritium. Both organisations want to find solutions for problems caused to society by the emission of this radionuclide by new generation power stations.


The four-year collaboration agreement was signed in June 2011 and aims to acquire new scientific knowledge on this radioelement that is present around nuclear power stations or installations such as ITER. The first contamination experiments aiming to study the effects of tritium were successfully carried out in Canada in March and July of this year. IRSN is contributing its scientific knowledge in nuclear toxicology analysis (biochemistry, histology, gene expression) on different types of biological tissues (LRTOX - Experimental Radio-Toxological Laboratory) as well as its capacity to study DNA damage (chromosome anomalies, breakage) (LDB - Biological Dosimetric Laboratory). As for AECL, it has the infrastructure required to study the effect of tritium contamination on mice over several months and to examine the biokinetics and bioaccumulation of tritium in cases of chronic contamination. The programme should be finished by the end of 2014.


 Find out more about LRTOX
 Find out more about LDB
 AECL website