IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Enhancing Nuclear Safety



Mixing transfer modelling with environmental monitoring : experience from the La Hague study

Rommens C. Drombry-Ringeard C. Laurier D. Chartier M. 3rd SETAC, Brighton, 21-25/05/2000


A general methodology to assess the impact of liquid and gaseous discharges in the environment on the populations living nearby an industrial plant is proposed and applied to the case of the nuclear reprocessing plant of COGEMA-La Hague (Nord-Cotentin, France). The methodology requires three steps. First, the environmental contamination is estimated at the best by the combination of the results of measurements and the predictions of transfer modelling. Over 100 000 results of radioactivity measurements in air, water, soil and foodstuffs around the reprocessing plant were collected and analysed. Their comparison with calculated concentrations shows a reasonably good agreement. Second, the criteria to split the local populations into groups relevant for dose assessment were defined. Age and social category have been found as the most relevant parameters. Third, exposure levels are estimated for each group of population, with a particular emphasis on the sensitivity to lifestyle. In the La Hague case, the dose-sensitivity to the lifestyle parameters is limited. Even for those individuals whose consumption is 10 times higher than the average, exposure levels increase only by a factor of 2 to 3. This methodology which associates measurements, modelling and epidemiology can be applied to other industrial plants. In any case, combining these three approaches improves our knowledge of the environmental risk factors.


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