The scientific programme consists of 9 sessions :

 

 

Session 1 - Radiation risk at nuclear legacy sites: assessment, remediation and regulation

G. Hirth (ARPANSA, Australia), T. Yankovich (IAEA)

 

This session should cover topics related to facilities and activities that have left a nuclear legacy, and where following an assessment of the radiation risk a decision to remediate and/or regulate has been made. This may include sites that have:

  • been impacted by major accidents and incidents;

  • former nuclear testing sites; and

  • facilities, operations or laboratories that were built and operated prior to the implementation of an appropriate framework for regulation.

The scope of these sites that were previously unregulated, or not regulated in accordance with current standards, may include storage and disposal sites and facilities for radioactive waste, old nuclear technology and development centres, nuclear reactor sites, uranium mining and milling facilities and tailings sites, and other sites that have may been utilised for disposal of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM).

Contributions to this session may discuss the approaches taken to assess the exposures and associated radiation risk at a site following its identification, the processes that have been established and implemented following the recognition that a legacy site exists to address the situation, including remediation and management strategies that have been implemented to deal with the legacy.

 

 

Session 2 – NORM and TENORM with respect to long-term human and environmental protection

B. Michalik (GIG, Poland), H. Vandenhove (SCK•CEN, Belgium)

 

Activities of industries treating material containing naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM) usually gives rise to enhanced occupational exposure, however, in managing the residues, waste and discharges from NORM industries, radiation protection of the public and environment needs to be addressed. This includes discharge control, decommissioning and remediation of relevant sites, reuse of residues and adequate waste disposal. Given that NORM residues can occur in large amounts and disposal sites are often close to human settlements and connected to environs, long-term safety of NORM affected sites is a particular challenge. This challenge has been recently highlighted to a certain degree by the latest European BSS (Council Directive 2013/59/Euratom) and the IAEA BSS (GSR Part 3). A graded approach in the regulatory control of NORM activities involves comprehension of the associated risks, which requires scientifically based impact assessment and includes the engagement of stakeholders.

The objective of this session will be to present the key safety issues linked with NORM activities and legacies, to highlight key (scientific) challenges and ways to manage them and present remediation approaches or develop criteria for long-term human and environmental protection.

Contributions are welcome which deal with 1) fate and transfer of NORM in the marine, fresh water and terrestrial environment, 2) natural radionuclides propagation through trophic chain, accumulation in biota and wildlife impact assessment, 3) human impact assessment of NORM (and associated contaminants), 4) Remediation of NORM (legacy) sites – requirements, feasibility and effectiveness of remediation options.

Radon-related contributions, as specific NORM, will be considered only if radon is a crucial in some environmental processes (e.g. radionuclides fractionation, migration) or as significant contributor to biota exposure under specific environmental conditions.

 

 

Session 3 – Fukushima- and Chernobyl-driven evolution of post-accident environmental recovery preparedness and management

W. Raskob (KIT, Germany / NERIS platform), M. Tamaoki (NIES, Japan)

 

This session aims to bring together practitioners and researchers from the field of emergency preparedness and management. Restoration of the environment following a nuclear and radiological disaster is one of the key elements in the process of returning to normal living conditions. The preparedness aspect becomes more and more important when reviewing the aftermath of Chernobyl and Fukushima. Important thing is the exchange between decision makers, practitioners, stakeholders and the scientific community. Participation from all these communities is encouraged.

Topics to be addressed should include all aspects of preparedness for and management of the environment following an accident. Topics include but are not limited to the following areas:

  • Lessons learned from Fukushima- and Chernobyl in adding the environment into the recovery process – practical implications

  • Are we prepared to manage society and the environment following a large scale nuclear disaster?

  • Research needs for a better understanding of the effects of remediation actions on the environment including wild life

  • Methods for risk assessments early in an emergency to better balance remediation actions including human health care options

  • Balancing risk for humans and the environment when planning/performing remediation action

  • Modelling the dynamic behaviour of radionuclides in the environment and their consequences to biota in terrestrial and aquatic environments

 

 

Session 4 - Evolving issues in the emerging nuclear landscape: fusion, Gen 4 reactors, SMRs, dismantling, radioactive waste management and consideration of environmental impacts

T. Lazo (OECD-NEA), S. Sheppard (JER Editor)

 

This session is intended to look to the future for challenges that will need to be addressed from a radio-ecological viewpoint, including both impacts on the environment per say, but also impacts on the environment as a pathway to human exposures. Current challenges include areas such as decommissioning, legacy management, NORM, and nuclear waste management. However, there will be issues we have not foreseen, as the nuclear landscape evolves, and as experience reveals more complex aspects of existing challenges. There is potential for a broad range of topics in this session, some of which may seem unconventional. However, the session will address these topics from the perspective of human and ecological safety.

 

 

Session 5: Application of novel methods used for monitoring and radioecological studies

T. Ikaheimonen (STUK, Finland), W. Rühm (Helmholtz Centrum, Germany / EURADOS platform)

 

This session deals with innovations and relevant methods widely depending on purpose. Both rapid methods and more sophisticated analytical and measurement techniques as well as in-situ measurements are included. Advances e.g. in sampling, data processing, computational applications, laboratory set-ups and field monitoring techniques are highly welcome.

Different kind of quality assurance issues are important in metrology and they are also in scope of the session.

 

 

Session 6: Advances in radioecological modelling approaches to support regulation and underpinning databases

N. Beresford (NERC-CEH, UK), V. Kashparov (NUBiP, Ukraine)

 

The ability to predict the exposure of humans and other organisms to ionising radiation relies upon models of varying degrees of sophistication. Models are essential tools for regulation, though most regulatory models tend to be relatively ‘simple’ and provide conservative predictions. This session aims to consider recent developments in radioecological models to support regulation and highlight future needs. Papers assessing the fitness for purpose of available models will be welcomed. Where papers describe new models, preference will be given to those considering models which are openly available to the wider user community.

Underpinning such models for radiological assessment, and also enabling their validation, are appropriate data from field and experimental studies. Increasingly scientific journals and funders are requiring that the complete datasets from studies are made available/published. This will aid the most effective use of new data by all and help resolve scientific debates. The session will also consider papers describing freely available databases and analyses of the data they contain. These papers need not be confined to purely radioecological data but can consider other data required for radiological assessment.

 

 

Session 7: Dynamics and distribution of radionuclides in the environment and underlying processes

M. Steiner (BfS, Germany), A. Real (CIEMAT, Spain)

 

This session comprises experimental and theoretical investigations on the dynamics and the distribution of natural and man-made radionuclides in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, including the transfer of radionuclides to biota.

The contributions may range from innovative experimental approaches and new empirical data to the in-depth mechanistic understanding of key processes that determine the fate of radionuclides in the environment. Investigations aiming at linking traditional empirical parameters with key processes are highly appreciated. The session also includes case studies in which the concepts and knowledge of related scientific disciplines, e.g. ecology and ecotoxicology, have been used for further developing experimental or theoretical approaches to better understand the processes underlying the dynamics and distribution of radionuclides in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

Experimental contributions may cover the whole spectrum, from hypothesis-driven laboratory and field investigations, to sampling campaigns that provide the basis for human and environmental risk assessments in a contaminated area.

The types of models may range from conservative assessment models to detailed research models. With regard to the practical application of radioecological models, the transition from detailed research models to fit-for-purpose assessment models is an important step. Robust radioecological models that allow for more realistic, less conservative predictions of contamination levels in the environment are welcome, including validation exercises and model-model intercomparisons.

Contributions that demonstrate the benefits of a strong link and a mutual exchange between modellers and experimentalists are highly appreciated (e.g. model development and validation, design of sampling campaigns).

 

 

Session 8: Mechanistic understanding of the effects induced by ionising radiation in non-human species alone or in combination with other stressors

S. Geras’kin (RIARAE, Russia), S. Salomaa (STUK, Finland / MELODI platform), P. Yu (City University of Kong-Kong, Hong-Kong), M. Tamaoki (NIES, Japan)

 

The new approaches to understand and assess the effects of radiation on wildlife will be discussed in frame of the session 8. Discussion will focus on mechanistic understanding of the processes inducing radiation effects at different levels of biological organization, including the consequences on ecosystem integrity. The results of investigations on the mechanisms underlying multigenerational responses to long-term ecologically relevant exposures like hereditary effects, adaptive responses, genomic instability, and epigenetic changes will be discussed. To properly determine the effects from any contaminant we must address the realistic environmental conditions in which organisms are actually exposed. Therefore, special attention will be paid to processes that link radiation induced effects in wildlife from molecular to population and community levels of biological complexity including discussion on the field vs. laboratory studies. We must link exposure to effects under realistic conditions that incorporate natural abiotic as well as biotic factors. Consequently, another important issue that cover this session is an understanding the interactions between ionizing radiation effects and other co-stressors.

 

 

Session 9: Dissemination of scientific information to the public and risk communication

S. K. Jha (BARC, India), P. Yu (City University of Hong-Kong, Hong-Kong), K. Higley (Oregon State University, USA)

 

Nuclear industries have demonstrated their care and concern for environment and public by adopting the unique activity, of assessing the impact of the operations beyond the plant boundary. This has resulted in systematically acquiring and integrating useful information like epidemiology, demography, biodiversity, baseline and operational radiological status of the environment etc., necessary to ensure protection of human health and environment. The lack of effective ways in dissemination, of generated scientific information has resulted in little social trust.  Further, nuclear weapon tests and uncommon accidents like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima have created an impression in the mind of public that nuclear plants are unpredictable and worsened the perception of the public. The communication of nuclear issues is crucial because public understanding, of benefits and risk of nuclear industries changes quickly based on the prevailing scenario. Public perception of risk and individual acceptability is based on various social factors which undermine the declaration of low risk from nuclear facilities.

Open Interaction between those involved in the nuclear industry and stakeholders or public leads to increased learning and mutual respect between scientists, the wider society and policy makers. There is increasing evidence that such interactions can help in bridging the differences between citizens, scientists and policy makers, generate new forms of social intelligence and leads to mutual benefits by stimulating new directions for innovation.

The widely popular social networking sites like Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook and Blogs as new tools for dissipating information about Nuclear Science & Technology and feedback of the public perception, needs to be incorporated. Public assurance of likely risk essentially requires effective communication skills engaging stakeholder’s interest, transparency as well as balanced and timely dissipation of information during normal operation and accidental scenario.

Keeping the present plight of information dissipation and communication, the need of hour is to focus and review the strategy for betterment.

This conference provide an opportunity to nuclear scientists, regulatory and nuclear facility authorities/spokespersons, environmentalist, media, non-governmental organisations, to contribute academic endeavour in searching the ways and means of establishing harmony with public and policy makers on dissipating information for reinforcing confidence of public in nuclear power plants.

The Conference session will be a step in the direction of guiding the development of new modes and ways for interaction of various agencies for information needed by governments, industry, science and the public to deal with nuclear related issues.  The proposed session will also focus on scientific information, sieved from the complexities of the problem and useful to the nuclear industry, policymaker and public.

 

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