IRSN moves forward with Chernobyl studies

3 June 2002

The French Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN ) was created in February 2002 to take over the responsibilities of the Institut de Protection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IPSN) and the Office de Protection contre Rayonnements Ionisants (OPRI). The IRSN chose the occasion of the April anniversary of the Chernobyl accident to enter on the scene with a paper presenting its research programme at Chernobyl, and summarising the state of knowledge about the accident.

The anniversary presentation covered some elements of the "Franco-German Chernobyl Initiative" undertaken with the German counterpart GRS: the epidemiology of thyroid disease in Ukraine, Belarus and the most contaminated regions of Russia; radioecology studies in the exclusion zone around the site of the accident, notably uptake of chloride and iodide in representative food plants and in representative soils; and the migration of Sr-90 in groundwater.

The report deals with the present state and future of the reactor site; consequences for public health in the region; the environment and ecology of the heavily contaminated areas (the exclusion zone) and their management; and the impact on France.

The IRSN works with international and regional bodies in its fields of competence. The organisation has a staff of 1500 engineers, research workers, physicians, agricultural engineers, veterinarians, and technicians. Its annual budget is about E250 million, 85% of which is provided by the French government.

A full report on the restructuring of the French nuclear regulatory body and the IRSN's role appeared in NEI May 2002, p12.
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