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1st semester 2018 scientific news

Two more awards for Nadia Benabdallah - IRPA congress 2018



On June 8, 2018, Nadia Benabdallah won the Young Professional Award and the Young Professional public Award for her PhD thesis conducted at IRSN’s internal dose assessment laboratory (LEDI), during the European IRPA (International Radiation Protection Association) Congress held at The Hague in the Netherlands.


Nadia Benabdallah has received the awards © IRSN 

The former PhD student from the IRSN won both the jury prize and the public prize for the presentation of her thesis “Optimization of dosimetry in alphatherapy by a multi-scale approach: application to the treatment of bone metastases with Ra-223”, which she defended on December 21, 2017, at IRSN in Fontenay-aux-Roses (in the Paris region). For three years, Nadia Benabdallah studied the various aspects of internal dosimetry applied to the first alpha-emitting radiopharmaceutical licensed in the European Union for the treatment of patients with bone metastases. This research work offers tools to go further in dosimetry personalization  for new alpha-emitting radiopharmaceuticals, currently on the rise.

These are the 5th and 6th prizes awarded for her work conducted in IRSN’s internal dose assessment laboratory (LEDI). Nadia Benabdallah had already won four awards for her thesis work:

the award for the best poster from the SFRP (“French Society for Radioprotection”) during the first year of her doctorate in 2015,

the Travel Award for Young Researchers at the Targeted Alpha Therapy (TAT) conference in Japan in 2017,

the First Place for Henri Jammet Prize at the SFRP’s National Congress in 2017,

and, on May 28, the PHENIICS Doctoral School award.

It was the Henri Jammet Prize that allowed her to participate in the IRPA congress. Indeed, the Young Professional Awards of the IRPA congress are available to young radiation protection professionals put forward by national radiation protection societies, notably through the prizes awarded at national congresses.


Research program
End of the first experimental campaign for the OECD’s PRISME 3 project
The first campaign of the PRISME 3 program, led under the auspices of the OECD, took place from October 2017 to March 2018 at the IRSN’s DIVA facility, where a renovated ventilation system installed in 2017 enables better measurement of combustion products and ventilation flow rate. This campaign, entitled S3 for “smoke stratification and spread,” complements the tests conducted during the previous OECD projects, PRISME and PRISME 2, which focused on the study of smoke stratification in a building and its propagation throughout the structure via openings (doors, vents, etc.)

PRISME 3-S3 is an experimental study of smoke propagation in various configurations representative of the fire scenarios encountered in nuclear facilities. During the campaign, 5 tests were conducted through which data was gathered on:

  • the ways in which smoke propagates through doorways and horizontal section openings connecting containment structures placed on top of each other, when using the mechanical or natural ventilation system (2 tests were conducted to determine the influence of the type of ventilation);
  • the interaction between two fire sources and its consequences on smoke stratification in a facility (2 tests);
  • the combustion of an elevated fire source in a facility and the associated smoke propagation (1 test).



DIVA room before (left) and after (right) a test


These tests enabled to better characterize smoke propagation in nuclear facilities in various fire scenarios selected, and to improve and validate SYLVIA and ISIS, both IRSN simulation tools used for studies supporting safety analyses. These tests provided opportunities to expose electrical equipment to a real fire, which generated data on representative conditions in which this equipment would malfunction, namely in terms of soot concentration and critical exposure temperature.

The next test campaign will focus on the propagation of an electrical cabinet fire, and consist of four tests at the DIVA facility. A total of three test campaigns are set to take place by the end of the program expected in 2021.


More information​Involved IRSN laboratories

OECD's PRISME 3 project

SYLVIA software

Fire experimentation laboratory (LEF)

Fire and Explosion laboratory (LIE)




Publication of the book “Nuclear fusion reactor // safety and radiation protection considerations for demonstration reactor that follow the ITER facility”

Couv_ITER_EN_petit.jpgIRSN is publishing a new book in its Reference documents series, entitled “Nuclear fusion reactor // safety and radiation protection considerations for demonstration reactor that follow the ITER facility”. This publication will serve as a first reference document for projects to develop nuclear fusion reactors.

In it, the IRSN details the measures that should be taken into consideration in terms of safety and radiation protection when designing the demonstration fusion reactors to be built after the completion of the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) facility. These considerations are based on IRSN’s expertise in terms of safety and radiation protection, and on specific experience acquired through the safety analysis of ITER. ITER’s design and operation presents specific safety and radiation protection issues, such as the risk of dust and hydrogen isotopes explosion, plasma malfunction, magnetic system failure, etc. The future demonstration fusion reactors will differ from ITER reactor mainly by seeking tritium self-sufficiency and achieve significantly longer operating times with plasma. These differences will have a significant impact on their design, and by extension, on safety and radiation protection for these installations.

The full publication is available for free in a non-printable PDF format in the Reference documents series. It is also possible to order a hard copy and will be soon available in e-pub.



Nadia Benabdallah wins the PHENIICS Doctoral School Award



Nadia Benabdallah has won, on Monday May 28th,  the PHENIICS Doctoral School Award for her thesis "Optimization of dosimetry in alphatherapy by a multi-scale approach: application to the treatment of bone metastases with Ra-223", which she defended on December 21, 2017. Nadia Benabdallah received €1,000 in recognition of her work, which has made it possible to grasp the various aspects of Ra-223 internal dosimetry and which offers tools to go ​further in customizing the dosimetry of new alpha-emitter radiopharmaceuticals, a field that is expanding rapidly.

In 2015, Nadia Benabdallah won the award for best poster from the SFRP ("French Society for Radioprotection") in the first year of her thesis. In 2017 she earned the Travel Award for Young Researchers at the Targeted Alpha ​Therapy (TAT) conference in Japan and the First Place Henri Jammet Prize at the National Congress of the SFRP for the quality and originality of her work.

She will represent the SFRP to compete for the Young Professional Award at the European IRPA Congress to take place in The Hague from June 4 to 8, 2018.​


Further information


The 16th issue of Aktis, IRSN’s scientific newsletter, is available
The sixteenth 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 pageflip PDF.
In this issue, focus on the ​predictcti​on of the fate of radionuclides in marine environment. Aktis n°16​ also treats of RODES, a tool developed specifically for dose calculation to support experimental radiotoxicology​​​​​​. As well, it deals with two complementary strategies for measuring protein carbonylation. It also deals with​ a realistic model for debris beds.​
The subscription for the English and French versions is complimentary. To read this issue or subscribe, go to​aktis-EN​.

​​Read the HTML page​​




Reportage on CABRI CIP-Q test day, on April 16th



First test on the new water loop of CABRI reactor, the CIP-Q test took place on April 16th 2018. This test is part of CABRI international program (CIP) whose objective is to study reactivity-injection accidents. Back to the test day in video:

Press release​​​​



CABRI international program (CIP)


CABRI Facility




Involved IRSN laboratory:




Extension of the RESOH chair



logo_RESOH_2.pngThe RESOH chair, a training and research chair that studies the influence of inter-organizational relations (sub-contractor relations and project mode) on collective efforts to develop "safe industrial performance", has just been extended for 5 years. In this new phase, the French National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (ANDRA) will join forces with the chair's long-standing partners: the Institut Mines-Télécom Atlantique (IMT Atlantique), Orano (formerly Areva), Naval Group (formerly DCNS) and the IRSN.

Launched in 2012, the RESOH chair studies inter-organizational relations in at-risk industries throughout the life-cycles of their facilities. Inter-organizational relations are a major issue in the nuclear sector, particularly in a post-Fukushima era, and more generally in other industrial sectors with risk management concerns. The RESOH chair has enabled collaborative research and discussions between multiple nuclear safety stakeholders on complex issues, by bringing together multiple disciplines (management science, sociology of organizations, ergonomics, etc.) to tackle a common problem. The IRSN participates in the chair's activities via its Human and Social Sciences Laboratory (LSHS), and is also a member of its steering committee.

The goal of the extension is to further develop and animate this community of thought and action, which owes its existence to its various partners and the empirical studies they've conducted. ​

More about:
​​Involved IRSN Laboratory:



Publication of Eric Blanchardon's HDR report​


A new Autorization to Direct Research (HDR) dissertation is added to IRSN’s HDR series, defended by Eric Blanchardon and named “Development and application of methods for the assessment of radiation dose from internal radioactive contamination”. The report is now available in English.


It summarizes years of research dedicated to evaluate the variability of the measurement data and the reliability of the biokinetic and dosimetric models, in order to restrain their associated uncertainty which inevitably propagate to the estimated dose. The objective is to propose reliable dose assessment methods for risk management purpose in case of radioactive contamination.


Defended in November 2012, Eric Blanchardon’s HDR report is available on the website in PDF in scientific books series. It is also possible to order a paper copy.

To order a book

To read the PDF file






2018 AGORAS Conference – Call for papers before June 1, 2018




The ANR AGORAS (French acronym for Improving the Governance of Organizations and Stakeholder Networks in Nuclear Safety) project is launching a call for papers for its second conference, which will be organized by the Center for Organizational Sociology at the Institute for Political Studies in Paris and will be held on December 13 and 14, 2018, in Montrouge, France. The conference theme is “Lesson learned? Studying learning devices and processes in relation to technological accidents”. Its main objective is to draw on insights from sociology, history, management science and political science to better understand how actors responsible for nuclear safety assimilate phenomena linked to the occurrence of accidents and how that enables them to produce new know-how and develop new practices. The second objective of the conference is to encourage the debate around the methods and approaches used by researchers to try to understand and analyze learning processes and the social and material conditions that make those processes possible.

Launched in 2014, the AGORAS project brings together academic and non-academic partners, including IRSN, and aims to study changing nuclear risk governance methods following the Fukushima-Daiichi accident. AGORAS is one of the 14 projects selected by the ANR in the framework of the “Nuclear safety and radioprotection-related” call for projects launched following that accident. The AGORAS studies relate to relations between institutions and organizations dedicated to nuclear safety in order to improve accident prevention and crisis management preparation (emergency and post-accident situation).

Dates to remember:

  • Friday, June 1, 2018: deadline for submission of summaries
  • End of July 2018: selection of publications
  • End of October 2018: text to be sent
  • December 13-14, 2018: seminar being held


Submit an abstract


Further information 

Call for paper

AGORAS website



Olivier Chanton





The 12th International Conference on the Health Effects of Incorporated Radionuclides (HEIR) – October 8-11, 2018, Fontenay-aux-Roses – Call for Presentations





logo_HEIR_2.jpgIRSN and CEA are jointly organizing the 12th edition of the International Conference on the Health Effects of Incorporated Radionuclides, HEIR 2018. The call for presentations is now open and will close on May 1, 2018. The conference will be held at IRSN on October 8-11, 2018 in Fontenay-aux-Roses (near to Paris), Building 01 Auditorium.

The conference will provide participants with the opportunity to discuss the latest developments in fields related to the study of radionuclide incorporation. The conference will discuss themes including biokinetics, the chemistry of radionuclides, dosimetry of incorporated radionuclides, radiation toxicology and biology, as well as applications that use radionuclides in nuclear medicine, such as medical imaging and therapy. The organizing committee is made up of IRSN and CEA representatives, two leading research organizations in the fields of radiotoxicology and radiobiology. The committee is co-chaired by J.M. Bertho from IRSN and F. Menetrier from CEA.


This conference is the twelfth in a series that began in 1974 in Alta, USA, entitled "Biological Effects of 224Ra and Thorotrast". The first edition focused on research into radium and Thorotrast, a drug used as a contrast medium in radiology (thorium dioxide injections) during the first half of the 20th century. A series of conferences followed, held every three or four years in different countries around the world. The conference has expanded over the years to include other radionuclides, reflecting the development of techniques in the field of medicine, to explore issues related to the health effects of radionuclide intake in humans and animals.

Proposals are already being accepted for presentations at the conference on the HEIR 2018 website, and submissions will remain open until May 1, 2018. Registration is also now open at HEIR 2018.

Important dates:

  • Thursday, February 22, 2018: registration and abstract submissions opens
  • Tuesday, May 1, 2018: deadline for submitting abstracts
  • Sunday, July 1, 2018: the decision is sent to applicants
  • Wednesday, August 1, 2018: reduced rate registration closes
  • Thursday, October 4, 2018: online registration closes
  • October 8-11, 2018: the conference will take place

Submit an abstract

Register to the conference


Further information 

Conference website

11th HEIR conference






Presentation on the European approach for the medical and therapeutical management of mass radiation exposure, to be given at the EBMT's 2018 Annual Meeting



During the Annual Meeting of the EBMT (European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation), being held from March 18 to 21, 2018, the EMBT's "Nuclear Accident Committee" (NAC), IRSN and Ulm University (Germany) will present "the European approach or the medical management of mass radiation exposure", to coincide with the recent 2017 edition of the guide to this approach (1). This approach is the result of a European consensus reached in 2007 regarding the medical management of radiation-induced aplasia* (2). It came about thanks to a joint initiative led by the EBMT, IRSN and Ulm University, which brought together leading European specialists in Hematology to define a strategy for the medical treatment of radiation-exposed patients and for managing mass radiation exposure accidents. It involves a "triage strategy" applied to radiation-exposed patients based on an initial assessment of clinical symptoms, with a view to implementing appropriate treatment protocols.


The EBMT works with a Europe-wide network of 500 Hematology centers and departments, affording considerable capacity for testing and treating patients who need it.


Throughout the medical treatment of such patients, experts from the EBMT constantly update reports on how the clinical scenario is evolving, in order to optimize the care given, even across national borders. The EBMT also manages a European bone marrow transplantation database from which reports on clinical cases can be retrieved in the event of a mass radiation exposure accident.


IRSN, which is a member of the EBMT's NAC, is involved in all this work, mainly through its research on treating radiation-induced aplasia and in its advisory capacity in managing radiation-exposure accidents.




(1) Synthetic guide on the European approach for the medical and therapeutical management of mass radiation exposure

(2) NC. Gorin at al., Consensus conference on European preparedness for haematological and other medical management of mass radiation accidents, Annals of Hematology (2006)

* Radiation-induced aplasia: Partial or total bone marrow dysfunction following exposure to ionizing radiation resulting from damage to bone marrow cells (stem cells, progenitor cells and differentiated cells).



EBMT's 2018 annual meeting

European Consensus Conference

Synthetic guide





IRSN's theses days 2018



IRSN’s theses days 2018 will start on Monday March 19th until Thursday March 22nd 2018 and will take place in Annecy (France). This seminar, which takes place every year, is a unique event for the IRSN PhD students to exchange and meet.

It allows 2nd and 3rd years PhD students to present their work in front of their colleagues from the institute and from different research organizations (universities, industries…). The 1st year PhD students will present their thesis work through poster sessions.


More about theses at IRSN





The 15th issue of Aktis, IRSN’s scientific newsletter, is available
Aktis-15_EN.jpgThe fifteenth 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 anda pageflip PDF. 
In this issue, focus on modeling tritium transfer in the environment to assess its impact. Aktis n°15 also treats of using MSC to treat the effects of radiotherapy, towards a more effective protocol​. As well, it deals with the link between chronic exposure to uranium and brain function.

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



Publication of the book "Current state of research on pressurized water reactor safety"


REP_couv_EN.jpgIRSN publishes a new book in its Science and Technology Series, entitled "Current state of research on pressurized water reactor safety".


For more than 40 years, IPSN then IRSN has conducted research and development on nuclear safety, specifically concerning pressurized water reactors, which are the reactor type used in France. This publication reports on the progress of this research and development in each area of study - loss-of-coolant accidents, core melt accidents, fires and external hazards, component aging, etc. -, the remaining uncertainties and, in some cases, new measures that should be developed to consolidate the safety of today's reactors and also those of tomorrow. A chapter of this report is also devoted to research into human and organizational factors, and the human and social sciences more generally. All of the work is reviewed in the light of the safety issues raised by feedback from major accidents such as Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi, as well as the issues raised by assements conducted, for example, as part of the ten-year reviews of safety at French nuclear reactors. Finally, through the subjects it discusses, this report illustrates the many partnherships and exchanges forged by IRSN with public, industrial and academic bodies both within Europe and internationally. This publication reflects IRSN' desire to keep an enduring record of its results and to share its knowledge.


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.



Geoffrey Pellerin wins the 2018 Jean Bricard Award


G-Pellerin-2018.jpgOn Tuesday, January 30, 2018, Geoffrey Pellerin won the Jean Bricard Award, presented by the ASFERA (French Association for Aerosol Research) during the 31st French Aerosol Conference (CFA 2018) held in Paris.


He received the award for his PhD thesis on "Quantifying dry weather deposition rates and documenting aerosol emission processes in natural cover", carried out at IRSN* and brilliantly defended on December 20, 2017 at the Université de Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC). On the strength of this award, Geoffrey Pellerin has been invited to give a paper at the 10th International Aerosol Conference (IAC 2018) taking place in St. Louis (Michigan, USA) from September 2 to 7, 2018.


Geoffrey Pellerin has spent three years at IRSN studying the dry deposition of particles in grassland ecosystems and the subsequent re-emission of bioaerosols (fungi, bacteria, yeasts, etc.), with a focus on bacteria that can assimilate and concentrate radionuclides emitted during chronic or accidental releases at nuclear facilities. Prior to this PhD research, there was a lack of experimental data on particles smaller than 1 μm in diameter and, therefore, a great deal of uncertainty regarding dry deposition and re-suspension modeling. Furthermore, there was no data on the measurement of in situ rates of deposition of particles smaller than 10 nm in diameter, even though such particles can carry radionuclides, as has been the case in the Fukushima accident.


Geoffrey Pellerin has successfully established, for the first time, curves for dry deposition rates depending on particle size, ranging from 1.5 nm to 1.2 µm. He has also documented the biological particle (bacteria) emission processes.


The Jean Bricard Award has been given every year since 1998 to a young French researcher whose work, achieved as part of their thesis research, is deemed by the aerosols scientific community to be original, and whose development is likely to influence future research in the field. The ASFERA award aims to promote research in aerosol science, and is named in honor of Professor Jean Bricard (1907-1988), considered to be the father of French aerosol science. Geoffrey Pellerin is the third candidate presented for the Jean Bricard Award by the Cherbourg-Octeville Radioecology Laboratory (LRC). Previous winners were Pierre Damay and Pierre Roupsard who won the award in 2010 and 2013.


* at the Cherbourg-Octeville Radioecology Laboratory (LRC), IRSN Health and Environment Unit


Photo: Geoffrey Pellerin has received the award. © IRSN



To find out more about Geoffrey Pellerin's thesis

To find out more about the Cherbourg-Octeville Radioecology Laboratory (LRC)

ASFERA website

CFA 2018 website



IRSN is joint organizer of the second workshop of the French seismologic and geodetic network (RESIF) focusing on seismic hazard


logoresif_quadri.jpgThe second workshop of the French seismologic and geodetic network (RESIF) focusing on seismic hazard will be held in Montpellier from 29 to 31 January. IRSN, one of the historic leaders in the field, has been heavily involved in organizing the workshop in liaison with the University of Montpellier and EOST, the School and Observatory of Earth Sciences. The workshop will be immediately followed by a meeting on drawing up national shakemaps[1]. The two events are being organized as part of the RESIF network's cross-cutting "Seismicity in France" program.


This second workshop on seismic hazard will compare data and studies to characterize deformation and seismic activity in Metropolitan France (and other intraplate earthquake zones) with earthquake predictions produced using numerical and analog models integrating different deformation processes. It will also discuss the input data required and available for future seismicity models (crustal structures, fault velocity, geodesics, etc.) with a view to future seismotectonic zoning. Academics, people who produce (geological, geodesic, and seismological) data and models and those involved in the practical applications of seismic hazard in France (IRSN, BRGM, EDF, the CEA, etc.) will attend the workshop to discuss these subjects.


One aim of the workshop is to examine the extent to which seismic activity observed in France can be compared to that in other intraplate fault zones around the world, particularly in intraplate zones considered to be stable. Another aim is to draw up an outline of a common research strategy in the hope of developing this aspect within the RESIF's cross-cutting "Seismicity in France" program.


Back in 2016, the first RESIF workshop, held in Strasbourg, was attended by around fifty engineers and researchers to discuss updating existing databases and using them for calculating seismic hazard in France.


[1] Shakemaps are maps of ground motion and shaking intensity following significant earthquakes.


Workshop venue:
     Centre Genopolys - Campus Arnaud de Villeneuve

     141 rue de la Cardonille

     34090 Montpellier

To find out more about BERSSIN

To find out more about RESIF




Recruitment for PhD proposals at the IRSN laboratories for the 2018 academic year has started ! 


​Thesis proposals are organized by discipline (SociologyBiology, Medicine, HealthMathematics, Physics-Earth, Universe, SpacePhysics-Chemistry, MaterialsChemistry-EnvironmentPhysics-Chemistry, RadiationMechanics-Materials, Fluid Mechanics-Sciences for the Engineer​).

To benefit from a thesis financing, you must hold a Master's degree or an equivalent diploma allowing enrollment in a doctoral school, before the month of October of the current year. In the case of diploma equivalence, the authorization of registration with the doctoral school associated with the subject will have to be verified before the assembly of the application file. Unless waived, you must be under 26 years old when you apply and have graduated with honors.

The first step to apply is to contact the tutor of the thesis (mail address: by sending CV and application letter. If your profile interests him, he will tell you the rest of the process. Additional information on the thesis may also be available by clicking on the subject (coming January 2018).

The final selection of topics and candidates will take place in May-June 2018.


​ Proposals list



PhD student at IRSN wins award at the "Microbiota & Health" conference


Prix_Lapiere.jpgAlexia Lapière, a PhD student at IRSN's Radiobiology of Medical Exposure Laboratory (LRMed), won an award for the paper that she presented at the "Microbiota & Health" conference held at the Kremlin-Bicêtre hospital (France) on November 20, 2017.

Her paper, entitled "Faecalibacterium prausnitzii as radioprotective agent in a model of radiation-induced severe colonic ulceration" was one of four award-winning papers selected for presentation at the conference. In this paper, she discussed her thesis research on the effects of a probiotic, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, on colonic lesions that may develop ten years or more after undergoing pelvic radiation therapy. Her research, carried out in collaboration with INRA, aims to evaluate how effective this probiotic is in reducing damage to healthy tissue when administered as a preventive measure prior to starting radiation therapy.

The "Microbiota and Health" conference was held at the Paris-Sud Faculty of Medicine and was attended by around a hundred French participants interested in the subject of microbiota research.


Photo: the award-winners recognized at the conference. Alexia Lapière is second from the right. © IRSN


To find out more about Alexia Lapière's thesis

To find out more about the Radiobiology of MedicalExposure Laboratory (LRMed)


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