IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Enhancing Nuclear Safety


Research units

Cherbourg-Octeville Radioecology Laboratory (LRC)


The Cherbourg-Octeville Radioecology Laboratory (LRC) is located on the Cherbourg-Octeville campus of the University of Caen in the northern part of the Cotentin peninsula. Directed by Denis Maro, it includes 15 permanent staff members: eight engineers, six technicians and a secretary, in addition to PhD students and postdocs. 





Context and research themes


LRC is assigned to the Director for the environment in the Health and Environment Pole (PSE). Its main research area concerns radionuclide transport and transfer in the environment. 



Research axes


Research objectives of LRC include:

  • identification, quantification and understanding, using controlled environment and field experiments, of phenomena involving transport, transfer and accumulation of pollutants from nuclear applications (radionuclides and associated chemical substances) in and between marine, estuarine, atmospheric and coastal compartments, and their effects;
  • quantification and understanding of the evolution of radioactivity levels in marine, estuarine and terrestrial ecosystems through field campaigns and experiments;
  • development of models describing the main mechanisms that affect pollutants resulting from nuclear applications (radionuclides and associated chemical substances) in marine environments, including the English Channel, North Sea and Bay of Biscay;
  • participation in the metrology network of the Environmental Sample Processing and Metrology Department (STEME) and its comparison exercises;
  • collection of environmental monitoring samples and contribution to the use of monitoring systems located in the north field workshop and LRC, for the Environmental Radioactivity Analysis and Monitoring Department (SESURE);
  • participation in radioecological research performed in nuclear sites in northwestern France in coordination with SESURE;
  • making its technical skills available as part of IRSN’s emergency response;
  • participation, in the framework set by the research unit, in national and international assessments and discussions (including as part of provided services) relating to environmental risk assessment concerning the presence of pollutants from nuclear applications, particularly for marine environments.



Research team


Researchers and engineers

Denis Maro (head of laboratory)
Pascal Bailly Du Bois (research engineer)
Olivier Connan (research engineer)
Bruno Fiévet (research engineer)
Claire Godinot (research engineer)
Philippe Laguionie (research engineer)
Luc Solier (research engineer) 


Olivier Cazimajou (technician)

Théo Guillet (technician)
Didier Hébert (technician)
Serge Le Cavelier (technician)
Medhi Morillon (technician)
Marianne Rozet (technician)
Claire Voiseux (technician)

PhD student

Pierre-Emmanuel Oms (2015-2018)



Facilities and techniques


  • Experiment area with radioactive tracers and a supervised area
  • Field workshop area located at the north of the La Hague reprocessing plant for in situ experiments on transfer in prairie environments
  • Mobile laboratory van
  • Workshops for preparing and conditioning environmental samples
  • Field sampling and measurement equipment
  • Low level nuclear and non-nuclear metrology: spectrofluorimeter, impactors, sonic anemometers, quantitative PCR, etc.


Partnerships and research networks


Universities: Caen, Rouen, Strasbourg, Marseille, Bordeaux
ECN Nantes, IFSTTAR Nantes, IRSTV Nantes, CSTB Nantes, INRA Bordeaux, LPGP, SUPELEC, IRPHE Marseille, CORIA Rouen, Ifremer Brest, CEDRE, Agence Eau Seine Normandie, GIP Seine Aval, CNRS Roscoff, INS, RPII Dublin (Ireland), CEFAS Lowestoft (UK), CCSN Ottawa (Canada), ISAC Lecce (Italy), JAEA (Japan), etc.

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Presse à sédiment permettant d'extraire les eaux interstitielles en vue de leur analyse  Crédits : Olivier Seignette/Mikaël Lafontan/IRSN



DISVER Program

 RHAPSODIS project: history of the upstream Seine estuary

 BIOCCU project: determination of radionuclides transfers to marine species parameters

 CHRONEXPO project: studies of chronic exposure effects on marine organisms to contaminents from industries in the Channel

 VEGDUD ANR project: atmospheric dispersion in urban environment

 AEROSTA project: gaz dispersion in dispersion gazeuse in standfast

 INOGEV ANR project: dry and wet deposits on urban materials

 VATO project: validation of TOCATTA modelisation for 14C and tritium transfer in meadow environment 


Denis Maro, head of laboratory

Cherbourg-Octeville Radioecology Laboratory (LRC)

BP n°10
Rue Max Pol Fouchet

By phone: +33 (0)2 33 01 41 00


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