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Prevention service and radiation


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Responsible : Responsible quality :

The SPR advises the management of the Institute on the implementation and enforcement of current legislation. This involves the application of regulations designed to protect professionals, members of the general public and the environment from receiving radiation doses through unintentional exposure.

The risk of exposure, for both the environment and workers is minimized through use of the ALARA principle – As Low As Reasonably Achievable.

In the past, radiation protection was traditionally separated from other safety hazard issues. However, in physics experiments the basic equipment and environment is of a “multi-risk” nature involving, for example, accelerated particle beams and lasers, X-rays, high voltages, and radiochemicals.

In order to maintain a coherent approach in the management of occupational hazards the Radiation Protection Group and Safety Quality Environment groups were merged into a single division in 2011. The new group, placed directly under the responsibility of the Institute’s Director, deals with five main topics :

  • Radiological protection related to IPN activities,
  • All other safety and health issues,
  • Environmental protection,
  • Radiological control of external activities (government approved),
  • Quality management.

Internal activities

Based on the ALARA principle, the radiation protection group (RPG) ensures the enforcement of radiological protection of workers, the public and the environment from ionizing radiation risks. In order to achieve this, the group undertakes various tasks :

  • Environmental Radiation control (continuous monitoring of the background levels in laboratories),
  • Non-contamination controls (monitoring the absence of undesired radioactive substances),
  • Job analysis of workers at risk, providing feedback to the Medical Prevention group,
  • Solid and liquid sample analyses using gamma spectrometry,
  • Information and training on the radiological protection of workers,
  • Simulations of shielding and other simulations, as needed, by the Dosimetry Group.
  • In addition, and according to the laboratory statutes, the RPG is particularly involved with the general
  • problem of handling unexposed material issued from exposed areas, as well as the handling of final
  • radioactive waste.
  • The RPG ensures the traceability of production, movement, transfer and loan of radiation sources.

Health and Safety

The main objective of the group is to evaluate and prevent professional hazards due to scientific, technical and administrative activities. This means identifying potential risks due to many causes, such as, handling of radioactive elements, working with class 4 lasers, using pressurized gasses and potentially toxic chemicals, experimenting near accelerator beams, but also using low and high voltage electrical currents, work on mechanical machines or in high pressure and low temperature devices and, more commonly, watch a CTR, walk throughout the Institute, climb stairs, operate photocopiers or travel to worldwide meetings. This classification leads to suggestions as to how to prevent accidents or professional diseases and provide appropriate training, tools and methods to limit their occurrence and effects.

A specific database, the “Safety Hazard Centralized Database”, was established in early 2004 to initiate a general safety improvement program at all levels of the Institute, it was updated in 2012. It also keeps each research groups informed of new developments related to safety regulations and standards and organizes exercises and training sessions around these topics.

Environmental Protection

Beyond internal safety, the group has naturally undertaken actions leading to environmental protection. This is particularly true in terms of toxic chemicals use, while handling sealed or unsealed sources, material activation or radiation exposure, chemical contamination, energy and water consumption as well as waste management.
Due to its activities, the Institute has been listed as a “classified installation for environmental protection” by the French authorities. The group is responsible for the evaluation of environmental hazards and promotes all actions, compatible with research activities, that keep these hazards “As Low As Reasonably Achievable” for surrounding populations.

Quality Management

Methods currently used internally by the group for quality management in the fields of safety and environmental and radiation protection are being promoted and developed. They are provided, on a consultancy basis, to research groups willing to comply with quality standards for their own activities. This is already the case whenever the IPN is involved in large multinational projects or when its expertise is requested as a standard for reference measurements (of very low temperatures, dosimetry, radiation measurements, etc…). Quality training is provided by the group, within the CNRS, for large projects and several other research laboratories and organizations.



Institut de Physique Nucléaire Orsay - 15 rue Georges CLEMENCEAU - 91406 ORSAY (FRANCE)
UMR 8608 - CNRS/IN2P3

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