IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Research programmes

Alpha Risk programme

European project on the quantification of risks associated with multiple radiation exposures

General presentation


Alpha-Risk is a research project coordinated by IRSN’s Epidemiology Laboratory (the LEPID) that comes under the 6th R&D Framework Programme. It is a 3-year project, launched in July 2005, which involves 18 partners (specialising in a range of disciplines :epidemiology, dosimetry, statistics and modelling) from 9 different countries.

The aim of the programme is to improve quantification of the risk of cancer and non-cancer diseases related to chronic external or internal exposure (U, Pu, radon and its decay products), factoring in the nature of radionuclides and the dose received by the organ. This will help in specifying the effects of low chronic exposure spread over time on health. In particular, the combined analysis of European, Chinese and North American research data will be used to improve methods of estimating the risk of lung cancer that may be attributed to radon decay products in the human habitat, in both smokers and non-smokers.

Alpha-Risk will thus provide the public with general information on the risks of low doses and contribute to European policy on public health and radiological protection.

For IRSN, the results of the program will be included in the LEPID’s expert assessment provided to the ICRP working group (International Commission for Radiological Protection) which is studying the risk of “carcinogenic and alpha radiation exposure” and to the WHO (World Health Organisation) working group on radon risk assessment and management.


Strength of the programme:


Use of previous experience aquired during international projects lead for several years, multi-disciplinary (epidemiology, statistics, modelling, dosimetry), complementarity (different populations, multiple exposures, different approaches)

Expected results


Better knowledge of health risks associated to chronic exposure to alpha particles and other components, better quantification of the dose/risk relationships, derivation of synthetic risk estimates for an easier interpretation.



7 Work packages


7 Work packages (WP) have been defined for the Alpha Risk programme: 4 are dedicated to epidemilogical studies, the 5th focuses on calculation of organ doses, the 6th aims to the integration of results and the 7th is in charge of the general management.

Send Print

More about at IRSN

Dedicated website

visit the website dedicated to Alpha Risk

Programmes partners


Two pages about Alpha-Risk in the European Parliament magazine n°260 of the 28th January 2008.


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