IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Description of research topics : "Continental radioecology in terrestrial and freshwater environments"


-----------> Study the behavior of natural and artificial radionuclides in both terrestrial and aquatic continental environments, from source to human being by:

*** determining natural and artificial radioactivity levels throughout France in general, and around nuclear power sites in particular,

*** understanding the processes through which radionuclides are distributed among the different compartments of the environment (atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, biosphere),

*** predicting spatio-temporal changes in this environmental radioactivity.

-----------> Transmit the results obtained in the scientific world, passing them on to the authorities, the media, and the public.

The program includes taking radioactive samples and measurements in the atmospheric, terrestrial, and freshwater environments, and interpreting measurement results.

Main topics

----------> "radioactive status of the terrestrial and aquatic continental environments" concerning three main areas:
*** The work of OPERA (environmental radioactivity monitoring network),
*** Conducting radioecological studies of nuclear power sites,
*** Organizing all the radioecological data obtained in the SYLVESTRE database ready for future use.

----------> "conceptualization", based on three programs:
*** The METIS program (nuclear site impact study method) aimed at drawing on both measurement and calculation results to develop a method for quantifying the impact of routine releases from a nuclear facility under normal operating conditions, in terms of radioactive concentration in the environment and added doses for humans. METIS is built around two sub-projects of a more experimental nature.
*** The CAROL program (CAmargue, RhÔne, Languedoc) aimed at describing and understanding the current distribution of radioactivity in the Rhone drainage basin downstream of Marcoule, then predicting its evolution.
*** The COMANCHE program (COtentin, MANCHE) aimed at studying radionuclides found on the Cotentin peninsula. The program is currently divided into three parts: the study of atmospheric dispersion in the very near field, soil deposits, and transfer by sea spray of radionuclides released from the COGEMA La Hague plant.

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