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Enhancing Nuclear Safety



Assessing ecological effects of radionuclides: data gaps and extrapolation issues

Jacqueline Garnier-Laplace (a) , Michael Gilek (b) , Synnove Sundell-Bergman and Carl-Magnus Larsson (c)
J. Radiol. Prot. 24 (2004) A139–A155

Document type > *Article de revue

Keywords > ecosystem, radionuclides

Research Unit > IRSN/DEI/SECRE/LRE

Authors > GARNIER-LAPLACE Jacqueline

Publication Date > 26/12/2004


By inspection of the FASSET database on radiation effects on non-human biota,
one of themajor difficulties in the implementation of ecological risk assessments
for radioactive pollutants is found to be the lack of data for chronic low-level
exposure. A critical review is provided of a number of extrapolation issues
that arise in undertaking an ecological risk assessment: acute versus chronic
exposure regime; radiation quality including relative biological effectiveness
and radiation weighting factors; biological effects from an individual to a
population level, including radiosensitivity and lifestyle variations throughout
the life cycle; single radionuclide versus multi-contaminants. The specificities
of the environmental situations of interest (mainly chronic low-level exposure
regimes) emphasise the importance of reproductive parameters governing the
demography of the populationwithin a given ecosystem and, as a consequence,
the structure and functioning of that ecosystem. As an operational conclusion
to keep in mind for any site-specific risk assessment, the present state-of-the-art
on extrapolation issues allows us to grade the magnitude of the uncertainties
as follows: one species to another > acute to chronic = external to internal
= mixture of stressors > individual to population > ecosystem structure to

a - Institute of Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety, Laboratory of Radioecology and
Ecotoxicology, Cadarache, Bldg 186, BP 3, 13115 St Paul lez Durance cedex, France
b - Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, S-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
c - Swedish Radiation Protection Authority, S-171 16 Stockholm, Sweden


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