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SFF-Sentre for fremragende forskn

Centre for Environmental Radioactivity, a Centre of Excellence (CERAD)

Alternative title: Senter for radioaktivitet, mennesker og miljø

Awarded: NOK 155.0 mill.

CERAD CoE performs long-term basic research to improve the ability to accurately assess the radiological impact and risks from environmental radioactivity, also combined with other stressors. By focusing on key factors contributing to the uncertainties, CERAD represents a state-of-the-art research foundation for the advancement of tools and methods to better manage those risks. CERAD research focuses on different nuclear source term and release scenarios, ecosystem transfer of radionuclides, biological uptake and effects in organisms exposed to ionizing radiation combined with other stressors, to assess overall impact and risks. CERAD´s scientific program is much more ambitious than anything hitherto attempted within radioecology in Norway, and no single partner could have achieved results without strong support from other partners and from international collaboration. In 2022, CERADs work has been heavily influenced by the war in Ukraine. CERAD partners are key players in Norwegian nuclear preparedness, both as the leader of the Crisis Committee for Nuclear Preparedness (Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, DSA) and as Committee advisors (Meteorological Institute, MET; National Institute for Public Health, FHI; The Norwegian University of Life Sciences, NMBU). The Isotope Laboratory at the Environmental Chemistry section, NMBU also acts as an emergency laboratory for measurement of radioactive samples. Scientists at CERAD have many years' experience studying radioactivity on humans and the environment, including the impact of Chernobyl in Norway, and research is of key importance to understanding and mitigating radiological risks. Our work on dispersion and transport modelling is particularly relevant for the preparedness phase of a nuclear emergency, namely when there is an increased risk of a release but no actual release of radioactivity. MET has been constantly updating meteorological forecasts and running dispersion models of potential releases at facilities. CERAD has also supported our long-term Ukrainian collaborators, through research projects in Ukraine and by hosting scientists at NMBU. CERAD research includes advanced source characterisation, transport and transfer modelling, assessment of the environmental, health and societal impacts of radioactivity, and measures to mitigate radiological risks. These are divided into four research areas: RA1 Particle sources and effects: Research in 2022 includes application of characterisation methods (e.g., synchrotron XAS, nanotomography) in a series of lab experiments (daphnia, nematodes) demonstrating difference in uptake and effects of uranium and cerium nanoparticles and ions. RA2 Dynamic ecosystem transfer: Field experiments in Chernobyl have been put on hold due to the war, but our Ukrainian collaborators have been studying the impacts of fires. Studies have been carried out at Vefsnafjord, Norway, to document radionuclide and trace element transport in the freshwater catchment area. Laboratory experiments have provided important insights into the role of insects in the ecosystem transfer of radiocaesium and radiostrontium. RA3 Biological responses: Key research areas include radiosensitivity, combined toxicity and transgenerational and epigenetic effects. CERAD´s unique gamma irradiation facility and Biological Effect Toolbox, have been used a series of biotest experiments on different organisms (salmon, zebrafish, daphnia, nematodes, mice, plants). Gamma exposure and production of free radicals have been linked to biological responses such as transcriptomic changes, reproduction effects, and transgenerational and epigenetic effects of DNA methylation. RA4 Risk assessments: Research is linked to impact assessments of nuclear accidents, including the situation in Ukraine, as well as new challenges from the decommissioning of the research reactors at Kjeller and Halden. Results from RA3 are being used to develop a series of adverse outcome pathway (AOP) models linked to CERAD studies, in collaboration with the OECD. An essential ingredient in CERAD is education and training (MSc, PhD), in order to create internationally competitive candidates. CERAD has recruited a total of 30 PhDs and 10 PostDocs since 2013. CERAD also plays an active role on the international arena (e.g., ICRP, UNSCEAR, OECD/NEA, IAEA, IUR). CERAD partners are involved in the EU project RadoNorm, and a new EU project Pianoforte started in 2022. CERAD is represented on the boards of the ALLIANCE (radioecology), NERIS (emergency preparedness) and SHARE (social science and humanities), and a member of MELODI (radiobiology). Since 2013 nearly 370 articles have been published in international peer review journals. CERAD research has made significant contributions to the development of radioecology internationally, and we expect that CERAD research will play a major role it the future.


English version /2012: The CERAD CoE will perform fundamental long term research to improve the ability to accurately assess the radiological risks from environmental radioactivity, also combined with other stressors. By focusing on key factors contributing to the uncertainties, CERAD represents a state-of-the-art research foundation for the advancement of tools and methods needed for better management of those risks. The scope includes man-made and naturally occurring radionuclides that were released in the past, those presently released as well as those that potentially can be released in the future from the nuclear fuel cycle and non-nuclear industries. Using an ecosystem based scientific approach, CERAD focuses on: 1)Source term: to characterize radionuclid es released from different sources and different release scenarios with respect to physico-chemical forms, and to use such information to identify the implications for further environmental transfer. 2)Ecosystem transfer: to specify how speciation, other contaminants and temperature and climate conditions influence radionuclide transfer through ecosystems in a Nordic context, and to replace equilibrium transfer constants with time and temperature dependent functions. 3)Biological effects: to identify re sponses induced in biota exposed to medium to low radiation doses, in combination with other stressors such as UV radiation and heavy metals under varying temperature and climate conditions. 4)Impact and risk assessment: to integrate knowledge gained on source terms and release scenarios, ecosystem transfer and biological responses to reduce the overall uncertainties in assessment models, and to provide focussed improvements in radiological impact assessments by implementing socioeconomic and ethical asp ects. CERAD will be established by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in partnership with the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority, with support of 4 Norwegian research institutions and the international CERAD network. Summary CERAD 2015 CERAD is established to perform long-term basic research to improve the assessment of radiological risks from environmental radioactivity combined with other stressors. By focusing on key factors contributing to uncertainties, CERAD represents a state-of-the-art research foundation for the advancement of tools and methods needed for better management of those risks. Using an ecosystem based scientific approach the strategic agenda focuses on source term and release scenarios associated with man-made and naturally occurring radionuclides, transfer of radionuclides in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, uptake and responses in exposed organisms to assess overall environmental impact and risks. Based on field work/visits in many countries and model experiments, different models - from sources to impact - are coupled to identify factors contributing to uncertainties. Many experiments have been performed at the unique NMBU low dose gamma facility to link exposure to biological responses using advanced technology. To compare responses in exposed organisms (i.e., salmon, zebrafish, daphnia, nematodes, earthworm, mice, plants) a biomarker toolbox is developed. Low dose gamma exposure affects sensitive endpoints (e.g., deformation, reproduction, transgenerational effects) of ecological relevance. To CERAD are linked 18 PhDs/Postdocs and ca 50 part-time scientists. Ca 78 articles are published in peer review journals since 2013, including contributions to the UNSCEAR “Fukushima-Daiichi environmental impact assessment”, a White paper to the UN General Assembly, and the IAEA's Rapport «The Fukushima Daiichi Accident”. The ESRF News July 2015 selected the CERAD nanobeam synchrotron image of nanoparticles retained within a nematode as the “Beauty of Science”; at high nanoparticle concentrations reproduction failure occurred. CERAD is partner in 12 EC projects and has a wide international network. The CERAD director received the 4th IUR Vernadsky award 2014. Norwegian version/2012: CERAD Centre for Environmental Radioactivity CERAD Senter for radioaktivitet, mennesker og miljø CERAD SFF skal utføre grunnleggende langsiktig forskning og utvikle «state-of-the-art» verktøy og metoder for å beskytte mennesker og miljø fra stråling, også kom binert med andre stressfaktorer. CERAD skal styrke vår evne til å vurdere konsekvenser og risiki knyttet til stråling, ved å fokusere på faktorer som bidrar vesentlig til usikkerhet. Forskningen inkluderer både menneskeskapte og naturlige radionuklider som i dag finnes i miljøet, og vil samtidig fokusere på kilder knyttet til nukleære og ikke-nukleære virksomheter som potensielt kan bidra til utslipp av radionuklider i fremtiden. Ved å benytte en økosystembasert vitenskapelig tilnærming, vil CERAD særlig fokuserer på: 1) Kilder og utslipp: Karakterisere radionuklider som slippes ut fra ulike kilder under ulike utslippsforhold med hensyn på fysisk-kjemiske tilstandsformer, og benytt

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SFF-Sentre for fremragende forskn