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Chapter 10

    1. Sealed radioactive sources
      1. Industrial irradiation
      2. Non-destructive testing
      3. Verification of physical parameters
      4. Neutron activation
      5. Other common applications
    2. Unsealed radioactive sources
    3. Electrical devices emitting ionising radiation
      1. Industrial applications
      2. Veterinary radiodiagnostics
    4. Particle accelerators
    5. Electrical devices emitting ionising radiation
    1. Integration of the fundamental principles of radiation protection in the regulation of non-medical activities
    2. Authorities regulating the sources of ionising radiation
    3. Licensing and notification of ionising radiation sources used for
      non-medical purposes
      1. Applicable licensing and notification legal systems
      2. Statistics for 2011
    4. Revocation of unjustified or prohibited activities
      1. Application of the ban on the intentional addition of radionuclides in consumer
        goods and construction products
      2. Application of the principle of justification for existing activities
    5. Reinforcement of the regulation of electrical devices generating ionising radiation
    6. Detection of radioactivity in France
    7. Implementation of monitoring of radioactive source protection against malicious acts
    1. Checks conducted by ASN
    2. The main incidents in 2011

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In the field of regulating applications of ionising radiation in the non-medical sector, ASN works to ensure that the operators take full account of the risks involved in the use of ionising radiation. This problem is accentuated by the diversity and the number of the parties involved.

Industrial radiography

The recent gamma radiography incidents that occurred in 2010 and 2011 in France (Feursmetal, Hachette & Driout, Rambervillers) brought home the importance of radiation protection in industrial radiography activities. Over and beyond the health risks for the operators, the economic consequences of accidents can be very considerable.

The work conditions on the site (poor accessibility, night work, etc.), equipment maintenance (projector, guide tubes, etc.) are major factors affecting personnel safety. The incidents often result from sources getting jammed outside the safe shielded position. ASN notes that the exposure rates and condition of the equipment are not unrelated to the probability of an incident. It moreover underlines that if any equipment operating anomalies are observed, such as abnormal source projection or retraction forces, operations should be immediately stopped and the equipment inspected. Furthermore, if a source gets jammed, no attempts should be made to release it, and the on-site emergency plans required by the regulations - though rarely drawn up - must be implemented.

Beyond the incidents noted, ASN considers from its inspections that the way risks are taken into account varies between companies. Although on the whole the regulations relating to worker training and the periodic external inspection of sources and devices are satisfied, further progress must be made in work preparation, particularly for on-site operations (predicted dose evaluations, marking out of zones, etc.) and in the coordination between the ordering companies and contractors to enhance work preparation and allow the application of effective preventive measures.

After considering the questions of justification and optimisation, the non-destructive testing professionals have drafted guides, including a guide for companies seeking an alternative to iridium 192 for the gamma radiography inspection of pipe fabrication welds (ALTER'X, coordinated by the French Welding Institute), and a guide coordinated by COFREND, promoting the use of alternative methods and including functional tools such as a flow chart for identifying the gamma radiography substitution conditions, and matrices describing the inspection and its objectives.

ASN considers that the involvement of the ordering customers is vital to make progress in radiation protection in industrial radiography.

The regulation and monitoring of industrial radiography is a priority for ASN, with 114 inspections carried out in 2011, some in collaboration with the labour inspectorate. This priority is maintained in 2012.

Enhancing the awareness of all the players is also a priority. Regional initiatives to establish charters of good practices in industrial radiography have been underway for several years at the instigation of ASN and the labour inspectorate, particularly in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Haute-Normandie, Rhône- Alpes, Nord - Pas-de-Calais and Bretagne/Pays de la Loire regions. These initiatives allow regular exchanges between the various stakeholders and are therefore going to be continued. The ASN divisions and other regional administrations concerned also organise regional awareness-raising and discussion symposia which are attracting growing interest from the stakeholders of this branch.


ASN's monitoring of establishments and laboratories using radioactive sources for research purposes, which began in 2002, shows a distinct improvement in radiation protection in this sector. The actions taken over the last few years have produced appreciable results, particularly in the involvement of Persons Competent in Radiation protection (PCRs), the training of exposed workers and radiation protection technical inspections.

ASN notes a gain in overall awareness of the importance of radiation protection issues. This being said, the lack of involvement of certain stakeholders and the considerable legacy of installations to be brought into conformity with radiation protection requirements, combined with removal of very old and "forgotten"” radioactive sources, can represent serious obstacles.

In 2011, ASN established contacts with the nine health and safety at work inspectors of the Ministry of Research in order to discuss inspection practices and look into reciprocal methods of exchanging information to improve the effectiveness and complementarity of the inspections. An agreement should be drawn up in 2012 between ASN and the general inspectorate of the Ministry responsible for research and higher education.


The administrative situation of the veterinary structures is improving (1,527 structures notified and 349 licensed at the end of 2011), but is not yet satisfactory. The inspections carried out in 2011 showed that the work of the national professional institutions in the field of radiation protection, leading to the drafting of guides and good practices sheets, is not uniformly applied in the field. The radiation protection technical inspections, the workstation studies and risk analyses must be improved. In the last few years ASN has nevertheless seen progress in the employment of persons competent in radiation protection, in dosimetric monitoring and in the wearing of personal protective equipment.

ASN will continue its inspection actions in 2012, with a view to putting the administrative situation of all the players in order and improving their radiation protection practices, particularly in the equine sector. These inspections will enable the effectiveness of the recommendations and good practices issued by the national professional institutions to be judged on the ground.

Removal of lightning arresters

The removal of old lightning arresters containing radioactive sources is an activity requiring strict radiation protection measures (see point 2|2|2). ASN has planned to reinforce the inspections in this area in 2012 to ensure that the professionals exercise their activities in compliance with radiation protection regulations and good practices.

Suppliers of ionising radiation sources

As stated in point 2|3, ASN considers that the regulatory oversight of suppliers of electrical ionising radiation generators is still insufficient, given that the technical characteristics of the devices put on the market are of prime importance for the optimisation of the exposure protection of their users. The work conducted by ASN in this area should enable a decision setting the technical requirements for the devices distributed in France to be established in 2012.

ASN is also stepping up its inspections in radiopharmaceutical research and production using cyclotrons. The 27 cyclotrons existing in France, which are subject to licensing by ASN, have strong radiation protection implications and display high technical complexity. Eleven inspections are planned in this area in 2012.


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