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Parliamentary questions
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19 May 2009
by Marco Cappato (ALDE)
to the Commission

 Subject: Maps of contamination in France as a result of Chernobyl
 Answer in writing 

In 2003-04 the French Institut de radioprotection et de sureté nucléaire (Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety Institute), or IRSN, established that there was no accurate map of radioactive deposits in France to indicate the degree of contamination there following the Chernobyl accident. The map published in 1986 by the Service central de protection contre les rayonnements ionisants (Central Service for Protection against Ionising Radiation), or SCPRI, showed average regional caesium 137 deposits of between 1 000 and 5 400 Bq/m2 in eastern France, although in fact the levels may have reached as much as 40 000 Bq/m2. The measurements taken were not sufficient to evaluate food-chain contamination in those regions that received the heaviest deposition, because no account was taken of rainfall. This means that only a theoretical evaluation could be made — or can be made today — of the radiation doses people are likely to have received. In the case of children who consumed fresh produce from areas like the eastern plain of Corsica, and children with specific diets, thyroid doses may have exceeded 50 mSv and ranged up to 150 mSv(1). The IRSN findings corroborated measurements published in 2002 by the Commission de recherche et d'information indépendante sur la radioactivité (Independent Radioactivity Research and Information Committee), or CRIIRAD(2). The imprecise measurements made by the SCPRI/OPRI (Office de protection radiologique) were reproduced in the Atlas of Caesium Deposition on Europe, published by the EC(3), and they complicate epidemiological research into the increased incidence in France of forms of cancer attributable to Chernobyl.

Has the Commission been notified of the IRSN findings?

Does the Commission intend — on the basis of the IRSN calculations taking rainfall into account — to amend the map of France in the European atlas that the Joint Research Centre has published on the Internet?

Is the Commission minded to ask France to supply more than the 35 measurements it has provided already, given that Italy and Germany supplied 436 and 1 371 measurements respectively?

(1)Pages 5 and 12-13 in Radioprotection 2003, Vol. 38, No 4, pp. 529-542, ‘The Chernobyl fallout in France, critical review measurement-results obtained at that time and lessons learned for crisis management’, Ph. Renaud and D. Louvat.
(2)Contamination radioactives: Atlas France et Europe, CRIIRAD and André Paris, Editions Yves Michel, 2002, ISBN 2913492150.
(3)Atlas of Caesium Deposition on Europe after the Chernobyl Accident, Eur 16733, Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1998, ISBN 92-828-3140-X, http://rem.jrc.ec.europa.eu/Atlas/TEXT/ENGLISH.PDF.

Original language of question: FROJ C 189, 13/07/2010
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