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Enhancing Nuclear Safety



The Nord-Cotentin working group : a French initiative to bring toxicology and radioecology experts together.

Catherine ROMMENS, Laure DELERY, David SHUKER, Eric THYBAUD, Annie SUGIER. Congrès IUR-SETAC, Anvers (Belgique), 4-8/02/02.


In 1997, the French Ministries of the Environment and Health commissioned a detailed radioecological analysis in the Nord-Cotentin region in response to public concern about radiological risks associated with local nuclear facilities. This work was entrusted to the Groupe Radioécologie Nord-Cotentin (GRNC), a working group of experts from various backgrounds (facility operators, public institutions, monitoring agencies, public interest and citizens groups, as well as from abroad). After the publication of its report in 1999, the GRNC was commissioned again to perform a corresponding assessment on the chemical releases of the local nuclear facilities. This second stage is currently underway and has already revealed the important parallels as well as some important differences between radiological and chemical risk assessments when applied to the specific case of the Nord-Cotentin nuclear facilities. These parallels/differences may be due to some extent to the depth and extent of the database of parameters required for the different parts of the assessment process (hazard evaluation, dose-response evaluation, exposure assessment, risk characterization). This point has influenced and sometimes limited the methodological approaches available to the different experts involved in both stages of the work of GRNC. The parallels/difference are also due to the specific context of the Nord-Cotentin study about which there is great public interest in the risk assessments and their outcome. This paper describes the development of the whole risk assessment methodology followed by the GRNC in both cases (quantification of releases, analysis of environmental measurements, model construction and dose and risk estimations) and identifies and explains, at each step, the parallels and the differences.


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