ASN Report 2022

∙ laboratory processing and measurement of samples taken from the various compartments of the environment, whether or not close to facilities liable to discharge radionuclides. Every year, IRSN takes more than 25,000 samples in all compartments of the environment (excluding the remote-measurement networks). The radioactivity levels measured in France are stable and situated at very low levels, generally at the detection sensitivity threshold of the measuring instruments. The artificial radioactivity detected in the environment results essentially from fallout from the atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons carried out in the 1960s, and from the Chernobyl (Ukraine) accident. Traces of artificial radioactivity associated with discharges can sometimes be detected near installations. To this can be added very local contaminations resulting from incidents or past industrial activities, and which do not represent a health risk. On the basis of the nationwide radioactivity monitoring results published in the RNM and in accordance with the provisions of ASN resolution 2008‑DC‑0099 of 29 April 2008, as amended, IRSN regularly publishes a detailed Summary of the radioactive state of the French environment. The fourth edition of this summary, for the period 2018-2020, was published in December 2021. Finally, between November 2020 and April 2021, IRSN carried out a campaign to measure tritium in the Loire river. This campaign, the results of which were published at the beginning of 2022, was unable to determine the origin of the atypical value of 310 becquerels per litre (Bq/L) observed in Saumur in January 2019 but did reveal significant differences in the concentrations measured at different points downstream of the discharges. Depending on the hydraulic conditions, the discharges from the site can take time to disperse uniformly across the width of the river. ASN thus questions the licensee EDF once again, through letters sent at both national and local levels, questioning the method used to monitor discharges downstream of the riverside NPPs, in particular the positioning of the stations located downstream of the environmental monitoring installations. Solutions to improve the representativeness of the samples and measurements taken downstream of the Chinon NPP are notably being studied. 4.3 Laboratories approved by ASN to guarantee measurement quality Articles R.1333-25 and R.1333-26 of the Public Health Code require the creation of an RNM and a procedure to have the radioactivity measurement laboratories approved by ASN. The RNM working methods are defined by the above-mentioned amended ASN resolution of 29 April 2008. This network is being deployed for two main objectives: ∙ to pursue the implementation of a quality assurance policy for environmental radioactivity measurements by setting up a system of laboratory approvals granted by ASN resolution; ∙ to ensure transparency by making the results of this environmental monitoring and information about the radiological impact of nuclear activities in France available to the public on the RNM website (see point 4.2.1). The approvals cover all environmental matrices for which regulatory oversight is imposed on the licensees: water, soil or sediment, biological matrices (fauna, flora, milk), aerosols and atmospheric gases. The measurements concern the main artificial or natural gamma, beta or alpha emitting radionuclides, as well as the ambient gamma dosimetry. The list of the types of measurements covered by an approval is set by the above-mentioned amended ASN resolution of 29 April 2008. In total, an approval covers about fifty measurements, for which there are as many Inter-laboratory Comparison Tests (ILT). These tests are organised by IRSN in a 5‑year cycle, which corresponds to the maximum approval validity period. 4.3.1 Laboratory approval procedure The above-mentioned amended ASN resolution 2008‑DC‑0099 of 29 April 2008 specifies the organisation of the national network and sets the approval arrangements for the environmental radioactivity monitoring laboratories. The approval procedure notably includes: ∙ presentation of an application file by the laboratory concerned, after participation in an ILT; ∙ review of it by ASN; ∙ examination of the application files – which are made anonymous – by a pluralistic approval commission which delivers an opinion on them. The laboratories are approved by ASN resolution published in its Official Bulletin. The list of approved laboratories is updated every six months. 4.3.2 The approval commission The approval commission is tasked with ensuring that the measurement laboratories have the organisational and technical competence to provide the RNM with high-quality measurement results. The commission is authorised to propose approval, rejection, revocation or suspension of approval to ASN. It issues a decision on the basis of an application file submitted by the candidate laboratory and its results in the ILT organised by IRSN. It meets every six months. The commission, chaired by ASN, comprises qualified persons and representatives of the State services, laboratories, standardising authorities and IRSN. 4.3.3 Approval conditions Laboratories seeking approval must set up an organisation meeting the requirements of standard NF EN ISO/IEC 17025 concerning the general requirements for the competence of calibration and test laboratories. In order to demonstrate their technical competence, they must take part in ILT organised by IRSN. The ILT programme, which now operates on a five‑yearly basis, is updated annually. It is reviewed by the approval commission and published on the RNM’s website. Up to 70 laboratories sign up for a type of test, including a number of laboratories from other countries. The approval commission defines the evaluation criteria used for analysis of the ILT. When the result obtained in an ILT by a laboratory is not conclusive enough, ASN may, on the advice of the approval commission, issue an approval for a trial period of one to two years for example, or make issue of the approval dependent on the provision of additional data, or even the participation in a further corroborating test. In 2022, IRSN organised seven ILT and two cross-check tests. Since 2003, 102 ILT have been carried out, covering 59 types of approval. The most numerous approved laboratories (54) are in the field of monitoring of radioactivity in water. Between 30 and 45 laboratories are approved for measurement of biological matrices (fauna, flora, milk), atmospheric dust, air, or ambient gamma dosimetry. There are 29 laboratories for soils and sediments. Although most laboratories are competent to measure gamma 162 ASN Report on the state of nuclear safety and radiation protection in France in 2022 • 03 • Regulation of nuclear activities and exposure to ionising radiation 03