Four IRSN environmental research projects were labelled during summer 2006 by the French Territories Risk and Vulnerability Management Cluster. PRIME, PRISMES and MULTISTRESS, coordinated by IRSN, and CLARA II, coordinated by the école des Mines d’Alès - a leading French engineering institution- and to which IRSN participates.
Four IRSN environmental research projects were labelled during summer 2006 by the French Territories Risk and Vulnerability Management Cluster: PRIME, PRISMES and MULTISTRESS, coordinated by IRSN, and CLARA II, coordinated by the école des Mines d’Alèsa – a leading French engineering institution- and to which IRSN participates. Competitivity clusters were created in 2005 by the French government. They do not provide funding for projects. Instead, their role is to set up a network of research laboratories, SMEs (small and medium-size enterprises), large-scale organisations and training establishments, with a view to develop knowledge and growth centres and provide backing for projects that are likely to encourage job creation and international development by soliciting financial support from funding agencies or local authorities.
PRIME (a research project concerning the application of radioecological sensitivity indicators and multicriteria methods to industrial site environments) is coordinated by the LERCM and its aim is to develop, through dialogue with experts, decision makers and government representatives, a multicriteria analysis method to characterize the contaminated area. The method will be designed for risk managers following a potential industrial accident involving radioactive substances. It will be based on ranking the radioecological sensitivity factors linked to radioactive pollution for a specific region.
The MULTISTRESS project is one of the specific points developed in the PRISMES project (the integrated consideration of risks associated with stressor mixtures on aquatic ecosystems and health). Both projects are coordinated by the LRE. PRISMES promotes the development of an integrated and consistent approach for a compared assessment of ecological and health-related risks (either prospective or retrospective) – for any stressor typology – that takes all potential interactions into account. The tool thus developed will be intended for use in the field of chronic (i.e. a significant length of time in relation to the expected lifetime of the exposed organism) and weak dose (subtoxic (eco)toxicity) exposure and in a multipollution context. In this way, MULTISTRESS is committed to taking into account all potential interactions of different mixed substances in its analysis and to modelling the joint effects of multiple stresses. It will be divided into two sections: a theoretical section that incorporates different models adapted to the toxicity field (chronic to weak dose exposure) and an experimental section applied to a limited number of stressors and experimental biological models.
Finally, two IRSN laboratories, LIMSI and LERCM, are participating in the CLARA II project. The project will conclude with the creation of a simulation tool, which will serve as a predictive device and will help to formulate diagnoses of accidental pollution in a marine environment: in the event of a massive spill of pollutants in the Mediterranean, it will be used to predict where contamination is located and monitor changes in its concentration in the sea and atmosphere. IRSN is lending its skills in the following fields: estimating effect distances caused by a fire on a boat, evaluating the amount and composition of smoke produced by such a fire and characterising uncertainties resulting from data and models used by the simulation tool. It is also involved with identifying predictable consequences for coastal ecosystems and economic activities. These will be assessed using a regularly updated hierarchical map of a coastal area’s sensitivity to marine pollution, according to the characteristics particular to each given area. By combining these findings with risk prediction models for different accident scenarios, it will be possible to assess and classify the theoretical vulnerability of each zone.