University Hospitals of Strasbourg (HUS)

Published on 24/09/2021 at 12:30

Information notice

The discovery by the University Hospitals of Strasbourg (HUS) of legacy radioactive sources and residual radioactive contamination in a building on the site of the Civil Hospital of Strasbourg was reported on the ASN website on 12 October 2020. Since that date, substantial investigations and characterisation work have been carried out by the HUS teams.

This radioactive contamination and the sources discovered originate from the use first of radium-226 and then caesium-137 in the treatment of breast cancer by brachytherapy in the University Hospitals of Strasbourg (HUS) services and the Paul Strauss Centre (CPS) from the 1930's to the 1970's.

Over and beyond rendering the building safe, the work carried out served in particular to map and characterise the identified points of contamination, to isolate and package the legacy sources, to cross-reference these elements with the available archives, and lastly to initiate the dosimetric evaluation of the people having worked in the premises concerned. ASN sent staff to the site to check that the premises and the sources had been made safe, and is keeping regular track of the ongoing work with the teams of the HUS and the CPS.

In view of the characterisations performed, the HUS evaluation of the cumulative activity of the radioactive sources and the observed contamination led ASN to provisionally reclassify this event as level 2 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Events Scale (INES), rated from 0 to 7 in increasing order of severity.

A rehabilitation project is to be submitted for the buildings, possibly proposing several scenarios depending on the potential future uses of the premises and the clean-out methods that can be envisaged. The chosen scenario shall then be implemented by HUS and CPS under the oversight of the Prefecture and ASN.

Date of last update : 10/11/2021