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2nd semester 2016 scientific news

Experimental facilitiesPERSEE 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
To know more about the PERSEE facility
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 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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