IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Spotlight on France's expertise in treating victims with severe radiation burns

Held simultaneously with the 58th Annual Session of the IAEA General Conference in September 2014, in Vienna (Austria), an international seminar entitled “Medical Management of Radiation Accidents: French and South American Experience and Cooperation” has been jointly organized by France, Brazil, Chile and the IAEA.

IRSN and the French Armed Forces Health Service (SSA) have worked in cooperation with the IAEA for around ten years on the subject of treatment for victims of radiological accidents, notably under the umbrella of the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency. 

The IAEA presented the actions taken to strengthen cooperation in this field between France and South American countries. 

The French experts focused on the need to develop capabilities for the medical management of radiation accidents in the world’s major regions, to draw lessons from recent experience in this field, and to implement diplomatic and financial measures to facilitate patient transfers between countries

They also pointed to the need to raise government awareness on the importance of requesting IAEA assistance as quickly as possible, since a key factor in the successful treatment of victims is the rapidity with which they receive treatment. 

Concrete examples of international cooperation were presented, including the successful treatment of Peruvian patients in Chile in 2013 and in Brazil this year, with support from French experts from IRSN and the SSA. The potential for expanding the partnership between France and South America was also discussed.

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