AMORAD project: a LERCM team on assignment at Fukushima
the AMORAD project, a marine radio-ecology team from the La
Seyne-sur-Mer agency of LERCM (Laboratory for Radio-ecological research
in Continental and Marine Environments), which is part of IRSN (French
Nuclear Radiation Protection and Safety Institute), traveled to the
region of Fukushima Dai-ichi in October on a two week assignment. The
assignment, whose purpose was to sample water, suspended matter and
sediments, was carried out in cooperation with Professor Michio Aoyama
of the Institute of Environmental Radioactivity at the University of
Fukushima. The assignment had two objectives:
- to assess the
contamination of the water and marine sediments along the Pacific coast
located north of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant ;
- to study what became of radionuclides released in the sea by the rivers that flow through the contaminated territories.
The team from the La Seyne sur
Mer agency of LERCM, in cooperation with Prof. Michio Aoyama, collected
samples in the coastal area subject to the influence of numerous small
coastal rivers north of the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant.
project, which started up in January 2014, aims to improve the models used to
forecast the dispersion of radionuclides in two environmental compartments
(along with their interfaces) and assess their impact on them as they will durably
show traces of the accident at Fukushima. Understanding these mechanisms is thus
essential. The first compartment is the marine environment and the second is
the terrestrial ecosystems and related surface waters. To do so, several
sampling and research campaigns were carried out in different geographic areas
including the contaminated territories of Fukushima. Selected and funded by the
National Research Agency (ANR), this project (ANR-11-RSNR-002) led by IRSN unites
13 partners for a six-year period.
assignment will supply the “marine” part of the AMORAD project whose main
objective is to improve the methods used to assess the impact of accidental
radionuclide release in the marine environment (water, sediments, and organisms).
LERCM has just
received the samples from Japan and is currently finalizing its analysis
strategy to glean the most information possible from these precious samples.
Initial results are expected in the first half of 2015.
Commissioning of PEARL facility and initial tests
initial tests on the PEARL facility, commissioned November 27, 2014 in
Cadarache, will take place in early December. The purpose of this
facility is to conduct an experimental study of the re-injection of
water on the debris of a PWR core damaged by a nuclear fusion accident.
Ultimately the aim is to optimize water injection to best cool the core.
PEARL is unique in the world due to its size and configuration
possibilities. It was designed as part of the European excellence
network for serious accident research, SARNET.
PEARL facility will be used under the Institute for Radiological
Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) “Debris bed reflooding” research
program whose purpose is to better understand the flow of water and
steam in a porous environment at very high temperature in conditions
representative of those of a core fusion accident (or serious accident).
If the water system that
cools a reactor core ceases to operate for an extended period of time,
the fuel rods composing the core will be damaged and a large part of
them will form what is called a “debris bed”. If this bed is not quickly
cooled, it will fuse and become more and more difficult to cool. To
prevent such an outcome for this type of accident, one of the operations
recommended consists in re-injecting water directly onto the core, this
is the “reflooding”. The end-purpose of the program is to determine
which injection conditions allow the core to be cooled most effectively
taking into account an acceptable risk as regards the containment (the
risk of explosion exists following the production of hydrogen when water
facility includes a pressurized water tank. The debris bed – simulated
by 500 kgs of metal balls of the same or differing size – is heated by
Two lines are used for
top-down or bottom-up flooding via the injection of water onto the
debris bed. These lines are supplemented by a steam generator that
places the bed in a steam atmosphere before the flooding phase. A valve
is used to adjust the pressure of system up to 10 bars.
parameters are monitored by embedded instrumentation that measures the
temperatures and pressure differences within the debris bed along with
the water flow injected, steam flow generated and system pressure.
Four test campaigns are planned some of which will involve the PRELUDE facility:
1 (2014-2015): Flooding a homogenous debris bed (particles of the same
size) – study parameters: flow rate, pressure and temperature
2 (2016): Effect of geometric characteristics of debris bed – study
parameters: distribution of diameter of particles and by-pass size
- Campaign 3 (2017): Study of a compact zone in a debris bed
- Campaign 4 (2018): Study of the effect of oxidation of metals and production of hydrogen
IRSN's radiobiology and radiation protection seminar
A radiobiology and radiation protection
seminar will take place on Tuesday 9th December 2014 at 3:00 pm at
IRSN's (Fontenay-aux-Roses). It will be about "Évaluation des risques
sanitaires radio-induits - Présentation du logiciel RadRAT (The Radiation Risk Assessment Tool)", by Dr Amy Berrington, epiodemiologist at
National Cancer Institute. The presentation will be held in english.
The Radiobiology and radiation protection
seminars are scientific meetings organized every month by the
Radiobiology and Epidemiology Department (SRBE) of the IRSN's Human
Health Radiation Protection Unit (PRP-HOM).
Find out more about seminars and registration
IRSN, new partner in the Earth Sciences Meeting
For the first time, IRSN will
be a partner in the Earth Sciences Meeting (RST), a French-language
conference on earth sciences. Organized by the S
Géologique de France since 1973, the Earth Sciences Meeting will be
held in Pau in southwest France on 27-31 October 2014. It brings
together researchers and students from around the world on ten themes
that cover all disciplines of the earth sciences, from deep earth to
superficial envelopes and planetary bodies. The meeting is the occasion
for a large number of PhD candidates to present their research for the
first time. This year, it will focus on what the earth sciences can
contribute to issues involving resources, pollution, storage, etc.
is actively contributing to the event through participation in the
Scientific Committee (Jean-Michel Matray, assistant manager of LETIS,
Laboratory for Migration and Interactions in the Geosphere), leading the
session "Spéciation et dynamique des métaux dans les sols, interactions
avec les microorganismes" (Laureline Février, engineer-researcher in
L2BT, the Biogeochemistry, Bioavailability and Radionuclide Transfer
Laboratory), ten oral presentations and five posters.
partners (including Total, Andra, Areva, CEA, BRGM, etc.) will be
present, with 600-800 persons expected to attend this year.
The 5th issue of Aktis, IRSN’s scientific newsletter, is available
English-language issue of Aktis, the quarterly newsletter on IRSN’s
research, is now available on a new HTML and PDF package : clearer, more
dynamic, more modern.
Aktis is published only in a digital
version and available in HTML or text format for e-mail, HTML for mobile
phones, RSS and, a new thing, a pageflip PDF. Since this issue, a mail alert has been created, for a fast look on summary and a best reception on mailboxes.
this issue, focus on the study of contaminated terrestrial japanese
foodstuffs to improve technical support during emergency response; it
also talks about cooling a damaged reactor core and uranium targets in
The subscription for the English and French versions is complimentary. To read this issue or subscribe, go to
To read the pageflip PDF
IRSN PhD student receives two awards for her thesis research
Rannou, a doctoral student at IRSN's Research on Radiobiology and
Radiopathology Laboratory (L3R), has received two awards for her work on
the "Consequences of the spatio-temporal genetic inactivation of PAI-1
in the endothelium in case of a radiation-induced intestinal injury".
Young Investigator Award 2014 was awarded by the International Society
for Fibrinolysis and Proteolysis (ISFP) at the 22nd International
Congress on Fibrinolysis and Proteolysis held in Marseille from July 6
to 9, 2014 for her presentation entitled “Consequences of conditional
inactivation of PAI-1 in endothelium on physiopathological functions
associated with radiation therapy side effects”.
received a second Young Investigator Award for her presentation on
“Endothelial PAI-1 deletion protects from radiation-induced intestinal
damage and influences inflammatory response” at the 41st Annual Meeting
of the European Radiation Research Society (ERR 2014), held in Rhodes
(Greece) from September 14 to 19, 2014.
Rannou is carrying out her research within the framework of the ROSIRIS
program led by IRSN, the main aim of which is to improve our
understanding of the mechanisms involved in the development of secondary
effects after radiotherapy, at tissue and cellular levels in
particular. More specifically, Émilie Rannou's thesis focuses on
observing the links between endothelium dysfunction and the progression
of radiation-induced intestinal damage (known as radiation enteritis).
It has been demonstrated that the protein PAI-1 – mainly produced by the
endothelium - is involved in the early and late stages of such damage.
This thesis looks at the consequences of PAI-1 inactivation in the
endothelium on the physiology of radiation enteritis.
Find out more about Émilie Rannou's thesis
Find out more about ROSIRIS program
Find out more about ERR 2014
Find out more about the ISFP Congress
IRSN's radiobiology and radiation protection seminar
radiobiology and radiation protection seminar will take place on
Thursay 26th October 2014 at 2:30 pm at IRSN's (Fontenay-aux-Roses). It
will be about "Effets d'une exposition chronique au césium 137 sur la
progression de l'athérosclérose", by Clélia Le Gallic, from
Experimental radiotoxicology laboratory (LRTOX).
Radiobiology and radiation protection seminars are scientific meetings
organized every month by the Radiobiology and Epidemiology Department
(SRBE) of the IRSN's Human Health Radiation Protection Unit (PRP-HOM).
Find out more about seminars and registration
ICAPP 2015 Call for papers, until 20th October
2015 paper submission is ending soon! Papers can be sent to program
comitee until 20th October 2014. Notification of acceptance will be sent
from 31st October.
Organized by SFEN
(Nuclear Energy French Society), ICAPP (International Congress on
Advances in Nuclear Power Plants) is an international congress which
IRSN takes part in. Indeed, IRSN manages a technical track on pant
safety assessment and regulatory issues (Track 5).
congress will be held from 3rd to 6th May in Nice (France). It will
talk about will address advances in nuclear power plants in a broad
sense, not only covering technological progress in reactors and
associated nuclear fuel cycles but also extending to broader
applications of nuclear power, such as cogeneration, transportation and
Registrations remain open.
Submit an abstract
IRSN jointly organizes a "seismic hazard" day
is jointly organizing an event on seismic hazard, under the aegis of
the ECCOREV research federation. It will take place in the conference
room at the
Forum du technopole de l'environnement Arbois Méditerranée in Aix en Provence on Friday October 10, 2014.
(from the French for "continental ecosystems and environmental risks")
is a federation that promotes interdisciplinary research in the
environmental sciences. The research topics covered are seismic and
climatic hazards, forest fires, water resources, soils, biodiversity,
contaminants, waste, and green technologies.
Find out more about ECCOREV (in French)
Event program (in French)
Final report on AMANDE international key comparison now available
detailed results and the full report on the international metrology
comparison of CCRI-K11 neutrons are published in the latest issue of the
Metrologia Technical Supplement. This international comparison, which
took three years to complete, was led by IRSN and involved nine National
Metrology Institutes, the reference metrology laboratories in their
respective countries. Using its own instrumentation, each institute
measured the fluence - i.e. the number of particles incident on a
surface per unit area (m²) – of four neutron fields produced by the
AMANDE accelerator. IRSN's accelerator produces monoenergetic reference
fields, in other words fields with a single specific neutron energy
defined by the operator.
Thanks to the AMANDE international comparison, the institutes
have been able to assess the precision of their measurement systems. The
exercise has also demonstrated that the neutron fluence produced at the
AMANDE facility shows excellent reproducibility over time. This is the
first time that IRSN has compared its reference measurement system,
which is based on a long counter (a shielded low-energy neutron
detector). This system has now been validated. In addition to organizing
and playing host for this comparison, IRSN was also responsible for
assessing the results.
Read the final report in Metrologia
For more informations on AMANDE
Foundation stone laid for MIRCOM, the future microbeam facility
A ceremony was held at Cadarache on September 4 to lay the foundation stone for the building that is to house MIRCOM, the future ion microbeam facility. The ceremony was attended by the project partners (CNRS/CENBG and subcontractors) and future users.
The new facility, scheduled for commissioning at the end of 2015, is part of a radiobiological research initiative to understand the mechanisms induced in cells by ionizing radiation.
In practice, MIRCOM will be capable of targeting cellular and subcellular mechanisms to the nearest micrometer with a finite number of ions. This will allow the study of the effects induced in cells by various types of radiation (ions and neutrons) that are produced in particular by new radiation therapy methods. The facility will be used to explore radiation-induced malfunctions not only at DNA level, but also in intra- and intercellular communication.
In particular, MIRCOM will contribute to ROSIRIS, a major radiobiology research project at IRSN, the main objective of which is to learn more about the long-term complications of radiation therapy and quantify the risk of occurrence in patients to develop new therapeutic approaches for their medical care.
The MIRCOM beamline is supported by the AMANDE facility, France’s national reference in neutron metrology in single-energy fields since 2005. MIRCOM will use the AMANDE 2 MV Tandetron, which produces light-hydrogen and deuterium ion beams in the 100 keV to 4 MeV range. Two new ion sources (a helium source and a light-hydrogen source containing, in particular, boron, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen) have already been added to the accelerator to meet MIRCOM’s future requirements. The building currently under construction (see diagram) will house the microbeam line to produce ions and a biology laboratory for preparing and analyzing experiments.
Find out more about the AMANDE
facility Find out more about FrançoisVianna’s thesis Find out more about the neutron metrology and neutron dosimetry laboratory (LMDN)
The beamline was developed by CENBG, a CNRS-IN2P3 nuclear research center in Bordeaux, with which IRSN has a collaboration agreement. It will complement CENBG’s AIFIRA beamline facility, which is equipped with a 3.5 MV Singletron accelerator that produces proton, deuteron and alpha particle beams. Talks are underway between the AMANDE -MIRCOM and AIFIRA teams to set up a joint facility that will offer unprecedented irradiation capabilities in France. A joint thesis entitled “In vitro and in vivo ion beam targeted micro-irradiation for radiobiology” was defended in 2014.
IRSN researcher receives the “Young Medical Physicist” award at the 6th AAMP Meeting
Farah, a research engineer at the Ionizing Radiation Dosimetry
Laboratory (LDRI) received the “Young Medical Physicist” award at the
6th Alpe-Adria Medical Physics (AAMP) meeting held in Budapest, Hungary,
on May 29-31, 2014. The presentation, entitled “Characterization of
XR-RV3 GafChromic films in standard laboratory and in clinical
conditions: Means to reduce uncertainties” looked at ways of reducing
uncertainties relating to the use of radiochromic films for
interventional radiology purposes. This type of film can be particularly
useful in dosimetry in cases with high dose gradients. This
prize-winning research was carried out within the Eurados network, which
brings together a large number of European research laboratories
concerned with ionizing radiation dosimetry.
Find out more about Eurados
Find out more about the 6th AAMP meeting
Scientists, give your opinion on radiation protection research priorities in Europe
The consortium OPERRA has launched an online survey
open to the scientific community on radiation protection research
priorities. You can give your opinion on the feasibility and importance
of research areas identified as priorities by European platforms
MELODI (low doses), The Alliance (radioecology),
NERIS (management of emergency situations) and
The results of this survey will be used for the preparation of the
2nd call for OPERRA research projects, to be published by mid-December
2014. OPERRA needs as many submissions as possible, please respond by
September 15, 2014 using
Second “Young Scientist Award” goes to IRSN researcher at the IRPA 2014 Congress
Panza, an engineer at the Department for Radiological Protection
Operations and Assistance (SIAR) received the second “Young Scientist
Award” at the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA)
Congress held in Geneva, Switzerland on June 23-27, 2014. The award came
in recognition of Fabien Panza’s work on developing an embedded system
for measuring radioactivity. The system is called MARCASSIN, or mobile
in situ gamma spectrometry for environmental contamination monitoring
system. It consists of a quad that travels at constant speed, measuring
radioactivity in the ground. It is equipped with a germanium
spectrometer, a GPS, and a computer that records real-time data.
Measurements are processed instantaneously to obtain a detailed map of
the inspected site. MARCASSIN can be used in normal situations to check
for radioactivity – for example on a former industrial site – or
following an accident to build a detailed map of area contamination. It
was used for this purpose in areas around Fukushima in Japan. Patents
are pending on various measurement processing techniques.
Photo : Fabien Panza sit on MARCASSIN system.
Find out more about the IRPA 2014 Congress
The 4th issue of Aktis, IRSN’s scientific newsletter, is available
English-language issue of Aktis, the quarterly newsletter on IRSN’s
research, is now available. Aktis is published only in a digital version
and available in HTML or text format for e-mail, HTML for mobile
phones, PDF and RSS. In this issue, focus on the use of dose rate to
characterize accident releases; it also talks about the iron/clay
interaction in the presence of bacteria. The subscription for the
English and French versions is complimentary. To read this issue or
subscribe, go to