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Radium Diagnosis Campaign

[+] Author Affiliations
Florence Gabillaud-Poillion

French Nuclear Safety Authority, Paris, France

Paper No. ICEM2011-59327, pp. 1135-1138; 4 pages
  • ASME 2011 14th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management
  • ASME 2011 14th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management, Parts A and B
  • Reims, France, September 25–29, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division and Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5498-3
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


In line with the approaches already adopted in France during the 90s on various sites where research and/or radium-extraction activities were mostly conducted in the past, the French public authorities wish from now on to pursue their prevention and site-rehabilitation approach inherited from the French craftsman and medical sectors that used that radioelement. As a matter of fact, radium has been in use in several medical activities, notably in the initial methods of cancer therapy. Similarly, it was also used in some craftsman activities, such as the clock industry, for its radioluminescent properties, the fabrication of lightning conductors or cosmetics until the 60s. Those activities have generated various traces of pollution that have remained today. On the basis of the different inventories of industrial sites where radium may have been held or used, and notably the inventory updated by the French Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire – IRSN) in 2007 at the request of the French Nuclear Safety Authority (Autorité de sûreté nucléaire – ASN), French State services have potentially identified 134 sites that hosted radium-related activities in France. The radiological status of those sites is either unknown or very partially known by State services. Sites include both dwellings or commercial premises and derelict lands. The “Radium Diagnosis Campaign” (Operation Diagnostic Radium), consists of a radiological survey carried out by the IRSN. In cases where traces of radium are detected, plans call for the implementation of precautionary measures and of a medical follow-up of the relevant populations. Lastly, radium-contaminated sites are rehabilitated by the French National Radioactive Waste Management Agency (Agence nationale pour la gestion des déchets radioactifs – Andra). That voluntary and positive approach on the part of public authorities is fully financed by public funds, and consequently, at no cost for the tenants of the premises involved, whether it involves the diagnosis, the individual health follow-up or the rehabilitation. The first diagnosis phase, which focused on the Île-de-France Region (Paris and suburbs), was launched in September 2010. At the end of the year, six sites grouping a total of 40 premises or dwellings had already been fully surveyed. Traces of pollution were detected on 10 of those premises where rehabilitation activities are already under way. So far, that approach has been received favourably by the populations concerned.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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