ASN – vigilant surveillance of radioactivity in the environment
With a view to advancing nuclear regulation in France, ASN brought in an approval procedure on 1 January 2009 for laboratories measuring radioactivity in the environment. To do this, it set up a multi-partner approvals commission (administrations, associations, representatives of the laboratories, IRSN, qualified experts and so on) tasked with issuing an opinion regarding the technical quality of the applications submitted by the measurement laboratories.
In the second half of 2008, ASN examined approval applications from EDF laboratories which revealed discrepancies in the environmental radioactivity measurement methods.
After an unfavourable opinion was issued by the approvals commission, ASN on 16 December 2008 rejected the new applications and suspended ongoing EDF approvals. As a result of these decisions, EDF's in-house laboratories are not or are no longer authorised to measure tritium and beta radioactivity in water and the air.
ASN asked EDF for immediate initiation of a programme of corrective measures. It should be operational as of 1 February 2009.
Until such time as approvals are obtained, EDF is required to subcontract these environmental radioactivity measurements to approved external laboratories.
ASN applies vigilant surveillance of radioactivity in the environment. It will conduct on-site inspections to ensure that all corrective measures have been implemented.
The rejection and suspension of EDF laboratory approvals for environmental radioactivity measurements does not interrupt the surveillance of radioactivity in the vicinity of the nuclear power plants. ASN would like to point out that IRSN carries out environmental surveillance of the entire French territory, including around nuclear sites.