IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Research units

Radon Studies and Expertise Section (BERAD)


Last update on February 2019


The Radon Studies and Expertise Section (BERAD) is located in Fontenay-aux-Roses just outside Paris. 






Context and research themes


Radon risk management is a major health issue in view of its carcinogenic nature, which has been recognized since 1987 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Radon is a radioactive gas coming from the decay of uranium in soil. The whole territory is therefore concerned, at more or less significant levels depending on their natural uranium content. This level can also be influenced by human activities related to past mining and specific industries. The recent change of the regulatory context has led to a strengthening of radon risk management methods in the field of workers and public health. BERAD is a major contributor in this management both nationally (through the national radon risk management action plan) and internationally through its contribution to European research programs. BERAD’s expertise in this field is based in particular on research activities concerning the behavior of radon and its descendants in soil, air and buildings and their measurement.


Research topics


BERAD’s main research activities concern:

  • assessment of radon exposure in buildings
  • measurement of radon and its progenies
  • phenomena of radon transport from the subsoil to the atmosphere and the interface with dwellings
  • development and maintenance of subsoil radon transfer simulation software
  • definition of potential radon sources and mapping at the scale of the metropolitan territory and overseas departments and regions



Research team


Géraldine Ielsch, Office Head
Claire Greau, Environmental Science Expert and Research Officer in radon mapping
Nahla Mansouri, Research Officer in radon transfer simulation
Nathalie Michielsen, Expert and Research Officer in radon measurement and its progenies
Laurent Destacamp, Risk Management Evaluation Officer- expert in assessment of radon exposure in buildings Database and transfer simulation software
Patrick Potard, Risk Management Evaluation Officer - expert in assessment of radon exposure in buildings
Caroline Vignaud, Risk Management Evaluation Officer

Facilities and techniques

  • A metrology laboratory dedicated to radon issues in air, water and soil;
  • A calibration and instrument test bench for measuring the activity of radon and thoron in the air (BACCARA)
  • A set of devices for continuous and integrated measurement of radon in different media (soil, air, water).
  • A calculation code (TOUGH2-Radon) allows the study of transient phenomena of radon transport in 3D in a porous or fractured medium.


Partnership and research networks

  • Scientific and Technical Center for Building (CSTB)
  • Henry Becquerel National Laboratory (CEA-LNE) 
  • Sofia University (SUBG)
  • ERA (European Radon Association)
  • JRC (Joint Research Center - European Commission)
  • European primary metrology laboratories: BEV-PTP (Austria), BFKH (Hungary), CMI (Czech Republic), IFIN-HH (Romania), PTB (Germany), STUK (Finland), VINS (Serbia), METAS (Switzerland)
  • BfS (Germany)
  • University of Cantabria

Send Print



Géraldine Ielsch, head of section



BP 17

92262 Fontenay-aux-Roses CEDEX


By phone: +33 (0)1 58 35 80 81


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